Refugee crisis doubles


THE number of refugees seeking asylum in Europe has doubled to 1,255,600 during 2015, figures released yesterday show.

Imperialist wars in Iraq Afghanistan and Libya as well as the war in Syria have driven over a million refugees and their families from their homes, with even more fleeing this year.

Thousands more refugees are arriving in Greece from Turkey each and every day.

More than 12,000 are now stranded in northern Greece on the border with Macedonia, as EU countries have erected razor wire fences to keep them out.

Heavy rain has now flooded parts of the makeshift camp on the Greek side of the border. The bad weather has made an extremely bad situation worse, with children and the elderly worst affected.

Syrian refugee Intisar Ali, who is nine-months pregnant, said: ‘This camp is full of water, so the people come in here, there are now seven people in this tent, we are soaking wet and it is so cold.

‘And you see our clothes, all of this, full of water and we do not have anywhere to go.’

Another refugee, Taha, also from Syria, said: ‘You can swim and sleep at the same time!’

Meanwhile in the UK, Tory Home Secretary Theresa May has won an appeal to send Afghan refugees back to Afghanistan, the very country they are running for their lives from. The appeal saw a blanket ban on deportation overturned. The ruling means that Afghanistan is now deemed to be ‘safe enough for asylum seekers to be returned’.

The blanket ban, was imposed last year as the number of Afghan civilians killed and wounded passed 11,000 in 2015, the highest number recorded since the United States-led invasion more than 14 years ago.

This year violence and murders in the country have reached new heights. Even the US director of national intelligence James Clapper warned that ‘Afghanistan is at serious risk of a political breakdown during 2016, occasioned by mounting political, economic and security challenges’.

According to a leaked document accessed by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), even the Afghan government has pleaded with the UK authorities not to resume deportation.

The overturning of the blanket ban is a poisonous attack on Afghan refugees who face the real prospect of being killed on their return. The ban stemmed from a 2015 case brought by an Afghan asylum seeker known as ‘HN’, who arrived in Britain as a minor in 2007.

In the UK refugees who are under 18-years-old are given a ‘temporary leave to remain’. The day that they turn 18 the Home Office moves to deport them. HN’s lawyer Toufique Hossain said: ‘The Home Office’s intention now will be to remove people to Afghanistan, there’s no doubt about that.’