[JURIST] German Chancellor Angela Merkel [official website, in German] on Monday urged other EU countries to assist in accommodating the influx of refugees from Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan; saying that the burden cannot fall on a just a few countries. German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel joined the message, warning [Reuters report] that if other EU countries refuse to accept refugees it could put the open border regime at risk and have severe economic consequences. France has announced that it will accept [AP report] 24,000 migrants and the UK will take in 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next 5 years. Arguing against a distribution quota among EU countries, Hungary’s prime minister said a quota would not make sense considering the free movement of people in the continent. Poland and Slovakia are among other countries refusing to accept migrants.
The rights of migrant populations has emerged as the most significant humanitarian issue around the world, as millions seek asylum from conflict nations. Last week, the Hungarian National Assembly [official website] passed a number of emergency measures [JURIST report] to address the recent mass migration into Europe. Earlier this month UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged [JURIST report] the global community to develop comprehensive solutions to allow for safe and legal migration after more than 70 bodies, believed to be Syrian asylum seekers, were discovered in a truck near the Austria-Hungary border. On the same day, Ban issued a statement [official document] on the recent increase in refugee and migrant tragedies in the Mediterranean and Europe. Also in August the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants urged the EU to create [JURIST report] a new human-rights-minded migration policy to empower migrants and solve the issue of human smuggling in the Euro-zone. In early August the International Organization for Migration (IOM) [official website] reported that more than 2,000 migrants have died [JURIST report] this year in an attempt to enter Europe through the Mediterranean Sea. The British and French governments warned in a joint article [JURIST report] that the world is facing a “global migration crisis.” The two government officials stressed that countries must make dealing with the increasing number of migrants a top priority.