The Impact of Political Conflict on Social Work
The new wave of migrants from the Middle East and Africa taking place in 2015 requires special attention from social workers. Many of these migrants are recognised as refugees from armed political conflict, especially from Syria and Libya, but also from a variety of other countries such as Afghanistan and Somalia. Each of them is paying professional smugglers huge sums for passage in traitorous conditions, with many casualties, to the nearest European port of call in either Greece or Italy.
There they are processed for passage to Germany or Sweden, countries that have opened their gate to them. Up to now more than one million people have come, travelling through a number of other European countries en route – Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia.
The issue is dividing EU member states, as well as citizens in each of these countries. Many have come to welcome and support the refugees, including voluntary associations. Some have called for their expulsion, and the attempt by the EU to agree quotas that each country will have to accept have not been equally welcomed. The UK, for example, has refused to accept any new such migrants, arguing that support should be given only in the refugees camps in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, but following public pressure has stated it will offer refuge in the UK to 20,000 people taken directly from the camps.
This situation poses considerable dilemmas for social workers in each of the countries involved, as well as the challenge of responding to a humanitarian crisis of a huge magnitude.
You will find in this section articles and photographs from relevant countries concerning this issue.
Also included is an article and a TED lecture by an internationally renowned wars journalist, Janine di Givoanni about her experience of covering wars and her motivation to do so.