Migration-related Xenophobia


The civil war in Syria has brought out one of the worst humanitarian crisis the world

may have ever seen. All families inside Syria are struggling to survive and need urgent

aid by stable countries – it has been estimated that it will take approximately $8.4

billion to meet the urgent needs of the Syrians. As the families in Syria have been

forced to fleet out of their country, they are facing a whole set of new challenges in

the countries they have chosen to migrate it. These include, a need for shelter,

financial difficulties, disrupted education, distance from relatives and xenophobic


This global problem of xenophobic violence will only escalate if not urgently dealt

with. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has stressed, “Refugees

who flee intolerance at home are increasingly finding more intolerance in the

countries where they seek protection.” The community in the developed countries

find it easy to blame “foreigners” for political, economic and social problems hence,

making them easy targets. The amount of xenophobic violence may vary from

country to country depending the country’s own religious beliefs, and economic

status. This xenophobic violence has forced immigrants into social exclusion from

fear of being attacked.



Xenophobia = Dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries.

Prejudice = Dislike, hostility, or unjust behavior deriving from preconceived or

unfounded opinions.

Discrimination = The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people,

especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.

Racism = Prejudice or discrimination against someone of a different race based on

the belief that one’s own race is superior

Violence = Behavior involving physical forced intended to hurt, damage, or kill


Mass migration = Migration of large groups of people from one geographical area to

another. In this case the situation in Syria.

All taken from Oxford dictionary




UNHCR (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees)

The aim of this agency is to provide aid and protect refugees worldwide. It also

provides governments with way to deal with the refugees in their countries. This

organization has set out various projects to address xenophobic violence in areas

where it is in need. It has engaged its efforts to combat xenophobia in order to

internationally protect all refugees, this has mainly been achieved by assisting

governments are trying to find long term and short term solutions for them


International Organisation for Migration

This organization was established in 1951. It’s the leading organization for migration.

It declares that “the organization is dedicated to the principle of humane and orderly

migrations” it works closely with governments and other non‐governmental

organizations in order to ensure its aims, it also provides humanitarian assistance to

all those in need. It is key for all governments to work closely with this organization in

order to help deal with and prevent xenophobic violence.



Greece’s location in the Mediterranean has made itself central for the migrants to

move to Europe. Although Greece has classified itself as highly hospitable and has seen over 250 000 people arrive on its shores, particularly the island of Lesbos, this

year. However, even back in 2009, there has been a notable rise of xenophobic

attacks through the past years, it has also been said “People coming from war zones

are scared to go out at night in Athens for fear of being attacked” by Judith

Sunderland, a researcher at the Human Rights Watch, between August 2009 and May

2007 alone there were 51 serious attacks against migrants. Despite this being a

major issue there has been little done to stop it. As a result of this since 1012 Greek

authorities adopted a new anti racism law and the creation of special counter‐racism

police units. In the more recent events, Syrians are given permission to stay in Greece

for six months in order to give them enough time to apply to Germany’s refugee

status, it is also said that Greek officials have prioritized Syrians over the people from

Iraq and Afghanistan this has created some ethnic tension between the groups and

has consequently resulted in the migrants pretending to be Syrians for the better

treatment – enhancing security flaws within Greece. Greek islands can be said to be

the most hospitable to the refugees, local organizations, individuals and shop owners

have all done different measures to ensure all refugees are provided with food, a

sufficient water supply, shelter and blankets. It has also been spotted that shop

owners are writing signs in Arabic saying that all refugees are welcome in their shop.

Contrasting with Greece’s past there has been very little xenophobic violence in

Greece. However, Greece’s debt crisis has brought about debates about the issue of

accepting such large amounts of refugees. It has been said from the government that

“it cannot handle the pressure from thousands of refugees” the fear of this may

eventually lead to xenophobic. Overall, Greece should be looked as an example

about good hospitality and its limited xenophobia.



Hungary is an EU country and has been noted to done the least in helping the

refugees. In June of 2015 the Hungarian government constructed a four metre tall

fence in order to seal its southern border with Serbia. This was because the

government felt as though they couldn’t handle the influx of the refugees; the EU

and NGOs warned Hungary to find other ways. The migrants would then go around

Hungary through Serbia however, on September the Hungarian police decided to

block the route from Serbia with heavily armed soldiers and helicopters, leaving the

refugees helpless. They were in such a desperate state to cross the borders the

refugees ending up breaking down the fence twice in one day, the governments

respond to this was with tear gas and water cannons – a brutal way to treat unarmed

refugees who just escaped a warzone area. By September 2016, Hungary had

detained 519 people and even pressed criminal charges against 46 for trespassing.

Soon afterwards, Hungary started building another fence with its border on Croatia

making the refugees to take a harder and longer route through Slovenia instead.



Germany has voluntarily accepted between 800,000 – 1 million refugees. This is

highest numbers of refugees accepted in the European Union. Germany had

promised to “provide them [the refugees] with housing, schooling for their children,

and an abundance of jobs.” For the refugees who are accepted, they are given a 3

year permit to stay in Germany, after those years if the situation in their country has

improved they will be able to apply for a permanent residential permit. The German

teachers are now providing German courses in order to allow the refugees to not be

so isolated in their society. They are also planning to add more teachers to the

schools who are specialized in teaching children that have had “trauma experiences”

The use of making their public education system more suitable for the refugees has

also been researched it will prevent racism at a young age. This all has made

Germany a favorable destination ever since Lebanon closed its borders. Although a

vast number of Germans are in favour of the refugees there has been a rise in an

“anti‐immigration party”, the refugees are now starting to face discrimination in the

job market as there is the notion of “taking their jobs”, and violent attacks on the

streets as a resentment for them is now particularly starting to grow. There has been

a report that an estimated 222 houses belonging to refugees have now being burnt

down, injuring 104 refugees. Through June to September there was an estimated

average of 3 xenophobic attacks a day towards the refugee facilities.



Egypt to the refugees may seem like an ideal place to migrate to. However, recent

reports have stated otherwise. As soon as refugees arrive in Cairo and other parts of

Egypt they experience tremendous living conditions which practically force them into

migration in Europe. It has been noted in various cases that Syrian children are not

able to go to school due to frequent bullying of their foreign accents and families are

scared to leave their poor quality houses in fear of being attacked. The Egyptian

Foundation of Refugee Rights is a non‐governmental organization that is trying to

ensure that the Syrian feel as welcomed as possible. They believe main reason for

the Syrians fear in Egypt is that local citizens do not understand the need for them to

migrate to other countries resulting in xenophobic attacks. However, the Egyptian

government is desperately trying to change those negative attitudes.



1945 - The Second World War led to 60 million

Europeans being forced to migrate out of

their countries. This was the first ever

refugee crisis to take place. The UN

adopted UNHCR.

1976 - Race RelaƟon Act in the UK provided an

aim to work towards abolishing

discrimination, promote equal

opportunity and proper relaƟons

between minority groups.

1997 - The European Monitoring Centre on

Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) was

established by the EU. It stated to record

the growing amount of racial

discrimination and violence towards

immigrants and to research on the most

effective ways to eliminate xenophobia

2009 - UNHCR make Guidance notes ‐

“Combating Racism, Racial

Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related

Intolerance through a Strategic

Approach.” This outlines for UNHCR

offices around the world as well as for

governmental authorities to tackle

racism, xenophobia, and hate.

2011 - UNHCR points out that there is “a

noticeable rise in xenophobia and other

forms of discrimination against asylum

seekers and refugees”

2015 - The migration crisis began when the

sudden rising number of refugees started

making their way to Europe.

2015 - The constant uprising of xenophobic

attacks in many stable countries bought

about a higher and urgent need to tackle

the issue.



Although this issue may be hard to tackle in the short term there certainly are many

actions each nation should cohere to in order to unite and solve this issue:

Firstly, a legislation should be adopted making it illegal to attack, act racist or

discriminate any migrants. Then to adopt of strength already existing rules of

law that recognize and protect the rights of migrants.

Another way is to get experts in the subject to provide advice in ways to deal

with racism, discrimination and xenophobia. All nations should also focus on

the conduction of regular training of staff to document and respond to any

xenophobic violence.

Developing a mechanism that would monitor and record public incidents of

xenophobic violence may also be helpful as it will encourage improved

reporting by states and can give more accuracy in tackling the issue where

seriously in need.

The attitude towards migrants can also be solved especially through

educational programs as racism can rise from a young age, schools should

train all teachers to avoid any form of discrimination and be more diverse in

their teaching and hence increase awareness of different ethnic cultures;

schools should teach young children to be more open minded against all

other races.

Public campaigns and the media may also be helpful in promoting this issue

and limiting all stereotypes.

There should also be a strong collaboration between governmental and non‐

governmental organizations as well as international cooperation should be


Finally, it is also important that all refugee victims of such violence all feel

protected by providing medical services to them and encouraging them to

report all hate crimes as it may prevent states from adopting efficient policies,

this may be achieved by the creation of a national point of contact.


Already adopted UN resolutions:

1) World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and

Related Intolerance

Adoption: 31 August until 8 September 2011

2) Global efforts for the total elimination of racism, racial discrimination,