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    Caught Up in Brexit: Impact of UK Referendum on Refugees Fleeing War

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    For migrants and refugees fleeing war-torn countries the issue of Brexit may seem like the last thing they need to think about right now.

    However for campaigners, the connection between refugees and Brexit is far more real than first thought. They believe that politicians have mixed up the issues of refugees, migrants and Britain's potential departure from the European Union.

    Zoe Gardner, a spokeswoman for Asylum Aid, believes asylum seekers — who are likely to continue to push towards Britain in large numbers — must be processed according to international law which has nothing to do with Britain's membership of the EU.

    Under the UN Refugee Convention, Britain is obliged to process people for asylum once they reach its shores.

    "If your issue is you want no refugees in the UK, then your issue is not with the EU — it is with global law," Gardner said.

    Over one million migrants and refugees arrived in Europe last year. Many of them reached Greece by sea from Turkey. This led to the biggest humanitarian crisis and mass movement of people since the Second World War — and even more asylum seekers are expected to arrive in the coming months. 

    'Brexit' or the issue of Britain's withdrawal from the European Union should not impact Britain's obligations to help refugees and migrants, yet the issue of immigration has still fed into the debate ahead of the vote on June 23rd.

    British Prime Minister David Cameron, who supports remaining in the EU, has suggested that refugees and migrants living in a camp in the French town of Calais could flock to England if British voters decided to leave.

    French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said it would end border controls and let thousands of migrants move on to its neighbor, if British voters backed a Brexit. 

    There are about 6,000 migrants in camps in Calais and Dunkirk hoping to come to Britain, according to research done recently by Asylum Aid.

    On the other side of the coin, Nigel Farage, who leads the right-wing UK Independence Party (UKIP) which wants Britain to leave Europe, has said that staying in the EU will make it easier for refugees to cross borders to Britain.

    However campaigners disagree, saying that this is unlikely.

    "Refugees recognized in, for example, Germany, do not and will not get the right to travel to the UK to live and work. They have to stay in Germany and apply like any other non-EU migrant to come to the UK if they want to and they may be rejected," Gardner said.


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