SCROLL DOWN FOR INSTRUCTIONS
`Start by reading this article and discuss in your journal how current official definitions of "migrants", "refugees" and "asylum seekers" are challenged by the on-going migration crisis at the South-East borders of Europe.
You can also see Unit 2.1 for more information about irregular migration in Mediterranean region, Unit 2.2 about EU norms on asylum seeking, and Unit 2.3 on the case of Syrian refugees.
Don't forget to have a look to what others have done in their journals!
What's the difference?
Refugees, asylum seekers, displaced peoples, economic/ irregular migrants... what's the difference?
Macedonia recently closed the border to Afghan nationalities... every day we hear (from civil society organisations such as News that Moves and Are You Syrious?) different arbitrary definitions of who is a refugee. If you say that you're looking for better education and employment opportunities, then you're not. If you're fleeing military inscription, then you're not considered to have a legitimate claim to asylum.
On the 7th March Syrian and Iraqi asylum seekers from cities that 'aren't at war', such as Damascus and Baghdad aren't allowed through the border at Idomeni. There have been accounts that if the translator present doesn't recognize your accent, then you won't be allowed through.
Stopping. Blocking. Preventing.
Each nation in Europe and in the Balkan States have different, arbitrary understandings of who they consider an asylum seeker to be. Ultimately, it's about shirking responsibility and passing the "burden" like a hot potato instead of recognizing the benefits it brings. Not to mention the historical and economic obligation European countries have in the face of protracted middle eastern conflict.
Words such as "asylum seeker", "refugee" and "migrant" are purposely convoluted and encryptic, they are utilised like borders in a maze, to trap people in confusion and keep "them" - the blank, other - out. Why?