20 Sep 2016

Academics unite to ask the UN to protect the rights of refugees and migrants

Dr Antonis Vradis, Vice-Chancellor's Research Fellow in the Department of Geography at Loughborough University, signed a joint statement alongside colleagues from University of Warwick, Middlesex University, King’s College London, University of York, and Durham University, calling on delegates of yesterday’s United Nations Summit to ensure humanitarian protection for the world’s most vulnerable people.

In a statement they say that action is needed in three main areas:

  1. Safe and legal passage for refugees
  2. An affirmation of their rights without discrimination
  3. Upholding the right of refugees to seek asylum.

But the academics also praised the policies of a number of German regions in providing intensive language courses for new arrivals, and recognised the efforts of thousands of independent volunteers who have offered a helping hand to refugees as they try to rebuild their lives.

Dr Vradis is part of the Transcapes collective research project – one of only eight UK projects funded under the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Urgency Grants Mechanism. The ESRC is supporting Transcapes in response to the ongoing migration crisis. Research is currently being conducted with migrant and refugee populations who have entered Europe via the Mediterranean Sea.

Dr Vradis said: “The migration crisis shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon and as unprecedented numbers of refugees and migrants make their way through Europe, questions need to be asked as to why there is an absence of safe and legal routes for those seeking asylum.

“Thousands of lives have been lost as a result of refugees’ and migrants’ attempts to reach safety in Europe. The Transcapes research team has been set up to understand the crisis of Europe’s own decision-making and executing mechanisms in Lesbos, Greece, and the EU.”