This map with the caption “If you travel through several safe countries, you are no longer seeking Asylum, you are going after money” was posted on my personal Facebook page by a friend seeking my thoughts.
“I’ve heard people express this sentiment many times. “Why should we give them refuge when they could have stayed in X, Y or Z country?”
Even if it’s true that they have passed through several safe countries, this is still not a valid argument.
For the sake of the discussion, let’s pretend for a moment that there is a wonderful country that is war-free, totally inclusive, welcoming to refugees and economically secure. Let’s say, just for shits and giggles, that this country is Greece. It’s all hypothetical, remember. And let’s say that it’s the closest safe country for Syrian refugees who are arriving there in the thousands. So, great. Happy days for everyone. They have made it to a safe country. Now, if the argument is valid, it’s Greece’s responsibility to accept them all and no other country has to worry about it.
How is it fair to ask one country to shoulder the full burden of a global crisis? A global problem requires a global solution. Simply being remote from the situation does not exempt us from our responsibilities as members of the human race.“