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Political and media approaches to the current refugee and migrant crisis

When he realised that he would “either get killed by President Assad’s forces or by ISIS”, Yousef Kak, a young Syrian doctor, decided to leave his country and seek safety in Europe. He joined friends who could help him in Germany but was sent back to France, where he had first landed, under the Dublin Regulation. Sleepless nights walking the streets of Strasbourg with no place to stay and nothing to eat were “still better than returning to Syria”.

Today he feels safe and, with the status of refugee which France has granted him, he is rebuilding his life with determination. He is learning French so that he can practice medicine, like he did back home. On 29 September 2015, Yousef shared his story with the members of the No Hate Alliance.

Are refugees welcome or not? Tim Finch, former director of communication of London based organisations Refugee Council and IPPR - Institute for Public Policy Research, told the Alliance that the attitudes of European authorities, media and people have been inconsistent. Mixed messages have been sent, leaving many confused. A large share of people are neither pro, nor relentlessly against migrants, but they are anxious about the current crisis. The authorities, deemed Mr Finch, should strike the right balance between welcoming and controlling, not just of refugees but other migrants too, combining principle and pragmatism.

At the same meeting, the No Hate Parliamentary Alliance approved a roadmap and decided to continue its activities at least until the end of 2017.