The geopolitical aspects of the global migration crisis currently appear to be overshadowing those of climate-related issues and human-caused technological disasters.
The world is possibly experiencing its worst refugee crisis ever: around 60 million people around the globe have fled their homes, displaced by conflict, violence or persecution. Predictably, the main – though by no means exclusive – cause of this exodus is conflict, whose attendant effects extend far beyond the communities directly involved.
Eighty-six per cent of the world’s refugees are being sheltered by developing countries, says the UNHCR. Mass migration of this scale is an immensely difficult situation to manage with dignity and humanity in any circumstances. The situation in Europe in particular appears to be in danger of spawning far wider consequences, exposing fault lines in European unity and politics, possibly threatening the cohesion of its societies.
This is particularly true with regard to the controversial subject of integration, where public sympathy for refugees has suffered some erosion after incidents of sexual attacks and harassment (page 38).
Our article on page 40 looks at how the European Commission is co-ordinating requests for assistance from those countries at the frontline of the crisis, while possible solutions in terms of border control technology are outlined on page 42.
In case we needed any reminder of why so many people are making the dangerous journey to what they hope will be a safe haven, the article on page 44 reports on the staggering levels of UXO dropped onto civilian communities by airstrikes in Syria, while page 46 looks at the detrimental effect of conflict on urban services. And lest we forget the psychological impacts of war, its effects on mental health are examined in the article on page 32, while sexual violence in conflict is discussed on page 34.
So this is how the narrative of this edition of CRJ has been shaped – we can only present the briefest snapshot into how the trauma of conflict not only causes near-inconceivable suffering to those who are directly caught up in it, but also how its effects inevitably seep across borders into neighbouring countries and far beyond.