European Refugee Crisis: Notes for UPSC

The European migrant crisis, also known as the refugee crisis, was a period marked by a large number of people arriving in mainland Europe. The refugees were primarily from the Middle-East and North Africa, fleeing the conflicts that were engulfing these regions.

Aspirants would find this topic very helpful in the IAS Exam.

Overview of the European Refugee Crisis

The migrant crisis was part of a pattern of increased forced migration to European Union from other continents which is thought to have begun in 2014. At its height in 2015,  nationalities that made up the majority of the migrants were Syrian, Afghan and Iraqi. This was confirmed in a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) report.

Many refugees that arrived in Italy and Greece came from countries where armed conflict was ongoing most notable the Syrian Civil War and the Iraqi Conflict

Of the migrants arriving in Europe by sea in 2015, 58% were males over 18 years of age  while 17% were females over 18 and the remaining 25% were under 18.

By 2019 the European Union declared the Refugee Crisis over but large scale efforts to resettle them are still underway.

Factors that led to the Refugee Crisis

The main causes behind European Refugee crisis are listed below.

  1. Wars – Syrian War, Afghanistan war, Iraq war, Libyan war
  2. Human Rights Violations
  3. Economic hardships.

Currently the main driver behind European refugee crisis is the Syrian war. They are augmented by millions of refugees from Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen. Large number of people arrive in the European Union by crossing Mediterranean Sea or overland through South East Europe.

Which Country in Europe has Most Refugees?

As per the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) the European Union countries with the biggest number of refugees at the end of 2014 are listed below.

  1. France
  2. Germany
  3. Sweden
  4. United Kingdom

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Which are the Top 5 Refugee Hosting Countries?

As per UNHCR, for 5 consecutive years Turkey had hosted the largest number of refugees. The list of top 5 refugee hosting countries are listed below.

  1. Turkey 
  2. Pakistan
  3. Uganda
  4. Sudan
  5. Germany

Which are the Top 5 Major Source Countries of Refugees?

As per UNHCR 67% of the world’s refugee population is contributed by the following countries.

  1. Syria
  2. Afghanistan
  3. South Sudan
  4. Myanmar
  5. Somalia

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