November 16, 2018

"The United States' border policy directly contravenes the 1951 Refugee Convention, which states that all asylum seekers have the right “to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution" (Article 14). Despite the fact detention and processing at the border clearly flouts this law, it is common practice - just look at Europe's third country deal with Turkey!"

September 30, 2018

In this strange anarchic environment, the children are left to roam the deserted streets and abandoned buildings of Allepo, playing amongst the rubble, climbing up broken stairways, exploring bombed out houses, scavenging for toys and other trinkets.

September 24, 2018

An inspiring film from the Berlin Human Rights Film Festival about a strong Syrian mother determined to find a better life for her children, '8 Borders 8 Days' documents the journey of Sham and her two children, Eylan ("Lulu") and Yaman, from Damascus all the way to Berlin.

 (From left) Lulu, Sham and Yaman - image via 8 Borders 8 Days official website

Sham's flight story begins in Beirut, Lebanon, where Sham waits for 16 months in the hopes of being granted a Visa to go to the U.S. After receiving no response, and experiencing problems with her sponsor (a requirement for every refugee Lebanon post 2015), she escapes with her children to Istanbul.

Sham decides she must find a man to protect her and her children during the dangerous journey, so she meets Marwan, who shares the rest of the journey with them. Next comes the terrifying sea journey to the island of Lesbos, Greece. Neither Sham nor her children no how to swim.  The children describe the terrifying sea voya...

July 15, 2018

We explore the differences between U.S. and German migration policy, comparing their diametric responses to the recent 'migration crisis', and considering the current and future effects of these policy decisions.

In 2015, the Migration Crisis in the European Union (EU) reached its peak, with over one million people fleeing their homelands. Unfortunately, thousands of these asylum seekers died in the process of attaining their freedom, either through drowning, starvation, and other perils associated with flight. While many Europeans believe that asylum is important, they also believe “the process needs to improve,” (European Parliament, 2017). It’s not a surprise that refugees and asylum seekers from the Middle East or Africa are attempting to make a new home in the United States and Germany. Both these countries are two of the leading economic forces in the world, and asylum acceptance rates in Germany are the highest in Europe.

The 'refugee crisis' more-or-less began in late 2014 with...

April 10, 2018

A beautiful, unsettling, and deeply poignant film, told through the eyes of a Jewish family returning to Israel. The filmmaker and narrator, Danae Elon, delves into the thoughts and reactions of her family as they learn to adapt to their new environment, and come to terms with the deep cultural and political divides separating the Israeli and Palestinian communities. Danae explores her own memories of Jerusalem, and tries to reconcile her childhood nostalgia with the reality of living in Israel, today.

In the beginning, a serene mise-en-scène of children playing in a swimming pool, the audio dimmed as Danae's words float over the top- words which continue to switch between Hebrew and English. Her father, Amos Elon (1925-2009), prominent Jewish academic and outspoken critic of the Israeli state, is present in these opening clips. Even after his death, his memory and parting words echo in the air.  An avid videographer, Danae's clips go far back, to a time when she herself...

March 4, 2018

Israel’s new migration policy has been met with strong condemnation from the international community, and from Israeli citizens themselves. I recently attended the event, ‘Refugee Crisis in Israel: Live Witness Accounts’ to find out more about this issue.

(torture method used in Eritrea- drawn by an Eritrean, and provided to the UN Commission of Inquiry)

The Eritrean refugee community, along with other African minority groups have been living peacefully in Israel for many years under "temporary protection"- they can speak Hebrew, they work, and some have started families of their own. They have applied for asylum, but their applications have either been ignored, or declined. Despite asylum acceptance rates for Eritreans in the EU resting at 91.4%, only 10 Eritreans and 1 Sudanese have been accepted as refugees in Israel- this is despite Israel being one of the first countries to sign the 1961 UN Refugee Declaration.

After explaining the history of migrants in Israel, Itay Mashia...

February 10, 2018

We finally bring you the second installment of ‘Who Is A Refugee?’, our two-part review of a recent UCL debate, featuring esteemed refugee academics Professor Elsbeth Guild, Ahmad Al Rashid and Dr Phillip Cole. 

In Part 1 the talk centered around defining refugeehood under the current UN convention, establishing its parameters, and discussing whether these parameters remain compatible with our contemporary geopolitical and environmental landscape. All speakers recognised the fact that the current EU migrant system is severely dysfunctional, and in its current form, is letting down thousands of people who have fled their native countries for legitimate reasons.

In the next phase the speakers consider solutions to protracted refugee situations, and balance the advantages and disadvantages of changing the basic UN Refugee Convention, or keeping it the same and creating adjacent conventions. The ethical problem of distinguishing different groups by their level of ‘need’ as defined by the out...

January 29, 2018

“The cherries, for me, are a memory about Iran. The last cherry I eat. It’s a good memory for me. I can’t forget.”

Nages, an art student originally from Iran, is showing me her contribution to the Migration Mural project: a basket of bright red cherries. Nages left Iran and came to Berlin 15 years ago, and explains to me that these cherries represent one of the only memories she has of her old home.

Nages is one of sixteen art students involved in the Migration Mural Project at Migration Hub. As well as her cherry picture, Nages also came up with the layout and design for the main mural. The Migration Mural Project is a collaborative art project, led by Jie-Liang Lin and her art students from the tenth and eleventh grades of the Privates Europa Gymnasium. As the name suggests, the Migration Mural Project offers the chance for students to share their personal experiences of migration, placed within the context of a collaborative mural; in this way, the migration mural emerges as a collec...

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The outsourcing of asylum and immigration policies - an European hypocrisy.

November 28, 2018

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