UNHCR compares present refugee crisis to 1956

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unhcr.org

Urging EU leaders to “unite behind emergency proposals to manage the refugee and migration crisis that is becoming increasingly chaotic and unpredictable,” United Nations High Commission for Refugees compared the current refugee crisis to 1956, when masses of Hungarians were forced to flee the country.

(Photo: unhcr.org)

At a press briefing yesterday, UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming said that the EU leaders’ extraordinary summit meeting yesterday and today “may be the last opportunity for a coherent European response to manage a crisis that is increasing suffering and exploitation of refugees and migrants and tension between countries.”

"This is a crisis of political will combined with a lack of European unity that is resulting in management mayhem," said António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees. "When in 1956, 200,000 Hungarians fled to Austria and Yugoslavia, not only were people properly received, but a relocation program was quickly put into place and 140,000 people were relocated to other countries. What was possible then should be possible now.” According to the commissioner, today’s meeting is “absolutely crucial to overcome Europeʼs divisions and create needed political commitment and momentum.”

At the press briefing, which was held prior to the EU approving the distribution of refugees late yesterday, Fleming said that the distribution of refugees was essential, and could only be implemented effectively if “adequate reception facilities in countries where refugees and migrants enter Europe” were established.

A longer extract of the briefing notes can be read here.

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