Hans Rosling reveals reality behind Syrian refugee crisis


  • Author: Statistics Views
  • Date: 28 August 2015
  • Copyright: Nicolas Economou/Shutterstock

In response to media focus on increasing migration into the EU, Professor Hans Rosling has analysed the statistics of population displacement in war-torn Syria.

thumbnail image: Hans Rosling reveals reality behind Syrian refugee crisis

Before the conflict, Syria was home to 20 million people; of these more than 12 million have so far been forced to leave their homes. 8 million of these refugees currently remain ‘internally displaced’ in Syria, while a further 4 million are living in the neighbouring countries of Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. To date, 250,000 Syrian migrants have applied for asylum within the EU, a figure which represents less than 2% of the total number of refugees displaced from their homes.

Syrian refugees are not permitted to apply for asylum in the Embassies of EU countries; only when inside the EU can they apply for asylum, but they must first enter illegally in order to exercise this right, often using dangerous and costly routes of access exploited by people traffickers.

The EU is discussing a quota plan which will enable refugees to apply for asylum before entering EU countries, thus helping to ensure safe travel. However, this plan currently includes 20,000 refugees, and Rosling points out that even if applied solely to Syria this will cover just 0.2% or one in 500 of those displaced from their homes by the escalating conflict. Effectively, he argues, the EU is doing everything that it can to stop more than 99% of Syrian refugees from applying for the asylum they are legally entitled to.

Hans Rosling is a co-founder of Gapminder, a non-profit venture promoting sustainable global development and achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

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