The tragic attacks in Paris which killed 130 people have shocked and deeply saddened people around the world, millions of people on different social media platforms showed their support for the victims of the attack through changing their profile pictures or posting a picture of a peace sign combined with the Eiffel Tower. However, many were quick to point out that the global outcry and empathy was nowhere near to the bombings that happened in Beirut, Baghdad or Ankara in just the past month. Additionally, the bombings prompted many right-wing conservative governments and pundits to use the Paris attacks as a justification to tighten border control and refuse refugees looking for asylum in Europe. For instance, Poland’s new foreign minister stated that Syrian refugees in Europe should return to their homeland and fight to liberate it whilst the Hungarian prime minister equated all migrants to terrorists, saying the refugees look like an army.
It was not unexpected that many politicians promoting tight borders and the reduction of refugee intake would exploit the Paris attacks and utilise it for their ideological beliefs. Yet even if some countries such as Canada and the UK stand with their original decision to take in more refugees, the protest of Eastern and Central European countries refusing to take their share of refugees arriving in Europe will be very problematic as refugees are already having a painfully difficult time waiting to receive asylum from European countries.
Using the Paris attacks as propaganda to send refugees back to their country of origin misses the point that the Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Europe are escaping the exact type of harrowing terrorism that happened in Paris. However, for them, this tragic incident isn’t a one day occurrence, it happens every day in the countries they are from. The death toll for the Syrian crisis has exceeded a quarter of a million deaths, basic maths puts the Syrian crisis in context: if 200,000 Syrians have died in the last three years that is more than 150 Syrians dying every day. Imagine the Paris attacks occurring every day for the past three years, that is what the refugees are escaping yet more and more politicians are seizing the Paris attacks for arguing that refugees pose a security risk. Sending these refugees back to Syria or Iraq is nothing short of sending them back to their death sentences; it is immoral and entirely unethical.
The Paris attacks should not be a reason to refuse refugees but a reason to accept more. Such an appalling terrorist attack to the heart of Europe should spur a wave of empathy amongst Europeans to the Syrian and Iraqi refugees not frighten them into closed borders. JAN Trust has been supporting and providing assistance to female refugees and asylum seekers for almost 3 decades, most of these women are escaping from violent circumstances such as the Syrian and Iraqi refugees. These refugees and the women JAN Trust provides support for are some of the most vulnerable people in society; if you want to support JAN Trust please visit our website.
The refugees in Europe are escaping unspeakable amount of violence, Europe should be welcoming them, not listening to fear-mongering politicians.