09:39 GMT +318 October 2019
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    Refugee crisis

    Critics Slam EU Migration Plan as Too Little Too Late

    © AFP 2019 / Bulent Kilic
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    Critics have hit out at EU home affairs ministers who are meeting to discuss plans to relocate just 60,000 migrants across Europe, despite the fact that more than four million people have fled the civil war in Syria alone.

    EU ministers are meeting in Brussels Monday to try to resolve the issue of where to put 60,000 migrants who have crossed the Mediterranean into Europe fleeing conflicts in Africa and the Middle East. However, the number of migrants is small, compared to the total number of displaced people in and around Europe.

    They have so far failed to reach consensus on where the 60,000 migrants and asylum seekers — who are mainly in Italy and Greece — should be distributed throughout member states. Some counties — including the UK and Denmark — have said they will assert their right not to accept any, while Hungary has said it will erect a wall to prevent further migrants entering its country.

    Under the deal, 20,000 people would be re-settled in their own countries, while 40,000 would be redistributed throughout the EU.

    After the previous meeting to try and reach consensus, the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said the deal offered only "small help" and the Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel described the refugee plan as "saddening and disappointing."

    Fifteen Million Displaced Through War

    More than four million Syrians have now fled war and persecution and become refugees in neighbouring countries, making the Syrian conflict the UN refugee agency's worst crisis for almost a quarter of a century.

    Added together with displacements from neighbouring Iraq and surrounding areas, the figure is estimated to be as high as 15 million.

    The United Nations refugee chief told a World Economic Forum event in Jordan: "I think that there is no perfect conscience in the world of the drama we are facing.

    "We have now almost 4 million Syrian refugees but if you take Syria and Iraq altogether the number of displaced people is almost 15 million people and many of those displaced live in absolute misery."

    Daisy Schmitt, who works for the migrants' rights unit of the International Federation for Human Rights in Paris, said the current EU plan was "not enough."

    "The numbers are too small, given the situation. For example, Lebanon has one million refugees from Syria, so it's very little."


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