A Crisis of Humanitarianism: Refugees at the Gates of Europe

Document Type : Editorial


Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK


Having initially welcomed more than a million refugees and forced migrants into Europe between 2015 and 2016, the European Union’s (EU’s) policy has shifted toward externalising migration control to Turkey and Northern Africa. This goes against the spirit of international conventions aiming to protect vulnerable populations, yet there is widespread indifference toward those who remain stranded in Italy, Greece and bordering Mediterranean countries. Yet there are tens of thousands living in overcrowded reception facilities that have, in effect, turned into long-term detention centres with poor health and safety for those awaiting resettlement or asylum decisions. Disregard for humanitarian principles is predicated on radical inequality between lives that are worth living and protecting, and unworthy deaths that are unseen and unmarked by grieving. However, migration is on the rise due to natural and man-made disasters, and is becoming a global issue that concerns us all. We must therefore deal with it through collective political action that recognises refugees’ and forced migrants’ right to protection and ensures access to the health services they require.



Commentaries Published on this Paper


  • Multiculturalism and Compassion: Responding to Mental Health Needs Among Refugees and Asylum Seekers; Comment on “A Crisis of Humanitarianism: Refugees at the Gates of Europe”

          Abstract | PDF


  • Calls for Stricter Legislation and Fear in the European Immigrant Community: Reflections of the Public Charge Debate Ongoing in the United States; Comment on “A Crisis of Humanitarianism: Refugees at the Gates of Europe”

          Abstract | PDF


  • Introducing Care Ethics into Humanitarianism; Comment on “A Crisis of Humanitarianism: Refugees at the Gates of Europe”

          Abstract | PDF



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