The State Of The Displaced

Syrian Refugees Arrive In Germany

Chris Bertram uses the anniversary of the Chilean coup to evaluate changing attitudes toward refugees:

One thing that has changed greatly since 1973 is the sense of obligation of states in the “West” to the victims of persecution. However many Brothers are slaughtered in Egypt, they will find it very difficult to make their way to the United Kingdom in order to claim asylum. Certainly, no British government will be making it easy for them, just as they have taken steps to prevent the arrival of Syrians. Should any “Chileans” of today arrive in a boat in Australia they will not be able to make a new life, but will be sent to rot in a camp in Papua New Guinea.

Matt Lister complicates this argument:

I’m not sure how useful it is to talk about “western” attitudes towards refugees here in this period. There’s too much variation, going in different ways. The U.S. and Canada, for example, mostly got better on refugees after the late 70′s, though there are still lots of problems. Australia got worse, and Germany got worse, though for rather different reasons and in different ways, and at somewhat different times. I expect that we’d see other trends in different countries. But, talking about “western” attitudes here is just too broad to be useful.

(Photo: A young Syrian refugee peers out of the window of an airplane after arriving at Hanover Airport in Hanover, Germany on September 11, 2013. One hundred and seven Syrian refugees arrived in Hanover from refugee camps in Lebanon as part of a resettlement program that will allow them to stay in Germany for two years. They are the first group of refugees who have been offered asylum in Germany after being deemed vulnerable by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, having escaped the ongoing conflict in Syria. By Alexander Koerner/Getty Images)