refugee crisis in Syria is one that has shown how much the EU can handle crisis
that affects the EU member states. The problem of Syria is not new and is not
the only case for the European Union and its international laws and policies.
The period of the crisis led to a high level of legal and
policy framework on the part of the EU. The period of the crisis led to the
reforms on the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) that was first introduced
in 1999. This was prompted by various factors and considerations.There was a
massive influx of migrants and refugees at the borders and there was need to
arrest the situation with policies and laws that would guide the crisis. Syria
had fallen into a conflict and it was necessary that the violence would result
in a humanitarian crisis over Europe. This prompted the EU to act swiftly to
ensure that the humanitarian situation is arrested well in advance to avert
spread of the effects of the Syrian conflict. Men, women and children were
bound to find better places and countries to accommodate them as the home
country was deep in conflict.
The General Principle
CEAS is from the Geneva Convention relating to the status of Refugees of 1951.
Amended by the New York Protocol of January 1967 relating to the status of
refugees. The CEAS follows the principle of nonrefoulement anchored on article
33 of the Geneva convention. Under these laws, states are not allowed to return
refugees or asylum seekers back to the countries where they fear being
persecuted or face a real risk of torture, inhuman treatment or degradation.
18 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU asserts a right to asylum
based on the Geneva Convention. Article 19 is specific on the ban of returning
asylum seekers on the run. These rights are accorded to the asylum seekers and
ensures that the refugees are accorded the best treatment before getting
documentation for residency in the host country.1
regulation comes with substantive rights that are accorded to the refugee or
asylum seeker. The right to schooling, right to legal information, right to
employment and training, right not to be detained for applicants seeking asylum
and right to freedom of movement among others.
and asylum seekers are often protected by the European Convention on Human
Rights which protects the refugees and asylum seekers from detention or unfair
treatment. Refugee protection is top of the EU list as member states must
ensure that they are protected.
The Syrian Crisis in
Syrian crisis has been the largest humanitarian crisis for the EU. By the end
of the year 2014, the number of people who were displaced from their homeland
was at 59 million in total. People were escaping conflict and this created a
problem for the EU member states as all these people would seek asylum in their
countries. The Syrian problem is the case that raised eyebrows. The Syrian
citizens were top on the list for the need for asylum. The amount of people
moving into Europe for a safe haven has continued to increase as the conflict continues
to rise above the normal levels. Europe received more than 681,713 Syrian
Asylum applications. Germany and Serbia were on the top of the list for getting
above 53 percent of the asylum applications.
law demands that the persons who are interested in protection need to make an
application and it is against the law to send back such a person to a place
where it might cause a conflict. This is what made it quite difficult to handle
the Syrian crisis. The massive influx of refugees in 2015 prompted a quick response.
The EU took sanctions on the people responsible for the crisis. The sanctions
were aimed at ensuring that there is a solution to the conflict to stop the
humanitarian crisis. The sanction begun with Council Regulation No. 442/2011 of
9th May 2011. This was done in accordance with the restrictive
measures in light of the situation that was present in Syria.2
EU invoked the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) to suspend the bilateral
relations with the Government of Syria. The policy is to help enforce an
environment where a government that has refused to ensure peace and stability
is restricted from other benefits within the EU. Any participation of the
Syrian government was halted as the conflict continued to cause massive numbers
of deaths and humanitarian crisis.
EU member states have made it possible for the Syrian government. Since 2011,
the European union continued to offer massive support for the Syrian people who
needed help. The ENP made it possible for the EU to get financial muscle to
help aid the people of Syria amid massive effects of conflict. These policies
are responsible to ensuring that there is support to humanitarian crisis within
the European Neighborhood.
EU has collectively made it possible to get 4.2 billion Euros towards the
Syrian conflict. It is through these efforts that the international law has
continued to make it possible for countries to get much needed help during
conflict. The collection was geared towards the immediate lifesaving operations
in Syria as the conflict continued to claim more lives. In 2013, the European
Union made a strategy to ensure that there was need for a political solution to
the conflict. The EU commission made sure that there was massive effort to
offer life saving aid to as many people as possible.
international law on weapons of mass destruction
challenges that the EU faced was that some areas were either besieged hence
people would not be able to access the aid or use of chemical weapons. The
conflict had both sides accused of using chemical weapons in separate attacks.
The rebels used rockets filled with Sarin gas hence committing war crimes as
the use of chemical weapons is outlawed by the Geneva convention.3
against humanity are punishable at The Hague and the UN security council
demanded that the government must disarm all nuclear warheads in an operation
to ensure that the international laws governing the use of weapons of mass
destruction is not violated. In a different attack, the government was also
accused of using chlorine gas against the rebel strongholds.
IS has been faulted for using human suffering as a tool in the conflict. By
taking advantage of this, the rebels have been able to use humans as shields in
the conflict. This caused a massive concern for the people of the United
Nations security council. International concern was raised against the gross
violation of the rules of engagement in modern warfare. This resulted in the
massive exodus from the war zones. The European Union had already made
sanctions and threatened to curtail some of the elites in the Syrian government
from free movement within the EU zones. Trade relations were halted and the
country was in strife. The conflict claimed numerous lives even the lives of
children during the conflict.
ignorance of international law in the Syrian conflict led to the great exodus
that left the country torn and in crisis. The neighbors had to react and
respond so that the refugees would be accepted in certain ratios among the
The Swedish government in 2013 became the first EU member nation to grant
permanent residency to all asylum seekers. The status of refugees in Sweden at
the time was far much better than in other member states. The government
granted about 8000 refugees permanent residency but the move was criticized
because it was described as a first step towards creating an opportunity for
human smuggling within the EU. By October 2015 Sweden had received a total of
38,636 applications for asylum and the number is still growing.
initially expressed opposition to the EU quota system and refused to accept
refugees crossing over from Turkey. In 2015, Slovakia voluntarily accepted 500
refugees on temporary residency. This enabled few Syrians to find safety in
The UK has been known to accept refugees. The number of refugees accepted in
the UK stands at 5,102 refugees which means that some of them have already been
resettled in the country. There is a plan for Britain to accept over 20000
refugees in a period of five years. The move faced much criticism from high
ranking British nationals who were fearful of the move to allow foreigners into
accepted Syrian refugees after a request from the UN office of the High
Commissioner for Human rights. By march 2015, the Swiss Federal Council had set
a goal of accepting 3000 refugees in a period of 3 years.
chief in 2016 praised Greece for its high show of compassion as it accommodates
more than 3000 refugee arrivals in a day. Some of the refugees are on transit
to Germany but some of them continue to stay.
There were 11, 851 asylum requests from Syrian refugees to be accepted in
Germany. Germany had accepted a massive 105, 000 Syrians by June 2015. However,
the problem of extremist groups attacking refugee homes was on the rise. The
problem arose as some extremist felt like it was wrong for the government to
give massive room for the Syrian refugees.6
also showed a great resilience and comfort for the refugees by accepting 30,000
refugees in a span of just two years after the conflict.
United Nations human rights top officials have accused the Czech Republic of
treating the refugees in an inhumane way. They are presented with jail like
conditions and it is a problem that needs to be addressed.7
Way Forward for the EU
and Refugee Crisis
summary, the way forward for the European Union is to ensure that member states
are able to protect the rights of the people. The EU should focus on giving
protection to human rights instead of just having regulation to control the
movement of refugees and asylum seekers. The EU should allow free movement of
refugees into member states. The EU must ensure that member states adhere
strictly to the rights spelled out in the EU Asylum system. Syria must ensure
that the conflict ceases so that some of the citizens can return willingly and
rebuild their country. This would help avert further refugee crisis in