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Europe refugee crisis: Businesses take steps to offer support while others are accused of contributing to anti-refugee sentiment

credit Caurso Penguin/Flickr

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre is collecting company statements that recognise the important contribution that migrants and refugees have made to the diversity and economies of Europe over many decades, and call on all European countries to take a compassionate approach to the current refugee crisis.

 

See here for company statements in support of refugees. To share your company's statement, please contact Eniko Horvath ([email protected]).

 

Companies are also invited to share their statements via UN Global Compact's & UNHCR's Business Action Pledge in response to the refugee crisis.

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Article
15 September 2015

Tighter EU border controls would benefit defence contractors while exposing refugees to higher risks, according to experts

Author: Keith Proctor, Fortune

"Europe’s migrant crisis: Defense contractors are poised to win big", 10 Sep 2015

Europe’s defense industry...stands to reap a windfall from the migrant crisis...Military technology – like satellites, sensors, and drones – is being repurposed to meet rising demands for border security...Which companies stand to benefit from this growth? According to SIPRI [Stockholm International Peace Research Institut]’s most recent global ranking, the largest European defense players are Finmeccanica, the UK’s BAE Systems, France’s Thales, and European multinational Airbus, formerly EADS...Security working groups, which steer EU policy, are packed with industry representatives, according to the Migrants Files, a consortium of 15 European journalists. At the same time, these working groups lack adequate representation from the International Organization for Migration or UNHCR, the United Nations’ refugee agency...Policies create industries, say the critics, which may in turn influence policy...Strict border controls simply raises the prices refugees have to pay smugglers, as well as the risks of getting in..."the suffering and border deaths among migrants and refugees increase” [says Hein de Haas, a professor of migration studies at the University of Amsterdam]

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Article
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Author: Lucy P. Marcus, Marcus Venture Consulting (UK)

“欧洲难民的商业意义”,10 September 2015

…当各国政府、慈善机构和捐助机构积极讨论如何分担难民之旅的责任时…欧洲商界却出奇地安静…私营部门必须与政府和非政府组织合作,以协助解决大规模难民流入带来的短期和长期挑战。

…抵达欧洲海岸的难民通常年轻、受过良好教育、掌握一定技术并渴望迅速融入社会。他们是应对人口老龄化和低生育率的一剂良药…有一天他们可能重回祖国…虽然回报可能看似遥远,但投资于今天的难民可能带来明天牢固、稳定的贸易伙伴…

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Author: Lucy P. Marcus, Marcus Venture Consulting (UK)

“歐洲難民的商業意義”,10 September 2015

…當各國政府、慈善機構和捐助機構積極討論如何分擔難民之旅的責任時…歐洲商界卻出奇地安靜…私營部門必須與政府和非政府組織合作,以協助解決大規模難民流入帶來的短期和長期挑戰。

…抵達歐洲海岸的難民通常年輕、受過良好教育、掌握一定技術並渴望迅速融入社會。他們是應對人口老齡化和低生育率的一劑良藥…有一天他們可能重回祖國…雖然回報可能看似遙遠,但投資於今天的難民可能帶來明天牢固、穩定的貿易夥伴…

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Article
11 September 2015

Europe: Refugee crisis underscores risk of growing global displacement

Author: Alexandra Channer, Verisk Maplecroft

Refugees fleeing into Europe actually constitute only a small proportion of the global refugee population; however, the numbers have risen exponentially in the last three years: from 59,421 (2013), to 216,054 (2014) and 366,402 (so far in 2015). This increase is largely driven by the war in Syria, with over half the refugees crossing the Mediterranean between 1 January and 2 September 2015 from that country...Different capacities to absorb refugees and contrasting political and ideological approaches have produced a disunited EU response...Consequently, the global displacement crisis will pose a growing humanitarian, economic and political challenge to receiving, transit and source countries. Businesses with complex, global supply chains can expect to increasingly encounter displaced peoples on the move, either in the workplace or in the communities their operations affect, as the displaced seek improved security and economic survival.

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Article
8 September 2015

German business leaders say providing jobs to asylum seekers will help economy

Author: AFP

Business leaders in Germany, Europe's largest economy, are calling for the thousands of asylum seekers arriving in the country every day to be offered jobs..."If we can integrate them quickly into the jobs market, we'll be helping the refugees, but also helping ourselves as well," the head of the powerful BDI industry federation, Ulrich Grillo, said this week...Already, at a local level, more and more businesses are opening their doors to the new arrivals, encouraged by new initiatives.In the Augsburg region of Bavaria in south Germany, for example, the HWK local Chamber of Crafts has appointed an "intercultural advisor" to deal specifically with the issue.The advisor has succeeded in placing 63 young refugees in a training scheme since the start of the year...Companies want a guarantee that a trainee they take on will not be deported from one day to the next...In late July, the government relaxed conditions for refugees accessing company internships."People who arrive here as refugees should quickly become our neighbours and our colleagues," labour and social affairs minister Andrea Nahles said...

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Article
8 September 2015

Germany: Smartphone app launched to help asylum seekers in Dresden

Author: Louise Osborne, Guardian (UK)

A smartphone app has been launched to help asylum seekers find their feet in Dresden, which became the epicentre of anti-immigrant hostility in Germany earlier this year.  The Welcome to Dresden app, developed by two IT companies based in the eastern German city, gives refugees information on how to register with the authorities, get health insurance and find their way around. Peggy Reuter-Heinrich, the CEO of Heinrich & Reuter Solutions, which worked on the app with Saxonia Systems, said there were many initiatives to help refugees integrate, but that more needed to be done to help people when first arriving in Germany. She said the app would help them deal with bureaucracy better than paper documents...

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Article
4 September 2015

Germany: Bayern Munich to donate $1.11 million to refugee crisis & set up training camp for arriving children

Author: Al Jazeera

The Bayern Munich football club will donate $1.11m to help refugees and set up a training camp for those arriving in Munich, as the number of people arriving in the city continues to rise..."FC Bayern see it as its social responsibility to help those fleeing and suffering children, women and men, to support them and accompany them in Germany," Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said in a statement. Bayern's youth academy will set up the training camp for kids, in conjunction with the city of Munich. Apart from regular training, it will also offer meals and German language classes. The senior team will be accompanied by refugee children when they enter the pitch for their next home game against Augsburg on September 12 with the club also planning a friendly with $1.11m of revenue going towards helping refugees...Banners with "Refugees welcome" or "Welcome to Germany" were visible in almost every Bundesliga match last week while many teams have also invited migrants to watch their games from the stands....The German football association (DFB) on Wednesday issued a video message condemning any attacks on refugees or on their accommodation in Germany as well as any form of xenophobia.

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Article
4 September 2015

UK: Sun & Daily Mail accused of contributing to create anti-refugee sentiment in UK

Author: Max Fisher, Vox

"Nothing captures Western hypocrisy on refugees like these British tabloid front pages"

British tabloids, which have been scaremongering about refugees for years, telling Britons to fear and resist any immigration and helping to drive the UK's shameful anti-refugee policies, discovered their compassion for refugees on Wednesday when a small child's body washed up on a Turkish shore...A photo of the young boy went viral, and the same British tabloids that are overtly hostile to living refugees decided that this one was worth caring about, and have plastered their covers with his image. Some British outlets are even running the image alongside sanctimonious headlines, decrying the loss of the life that is a direct and foreseeable result of the very anti-refugee policies they spent years clamoring for. The Sun [part of News UK], which is famous for anti-refugee headlines such as "Halt the Asylum Tide Now" and "Draw a Red Line on Immigration or Else" is running the dead child's photo on its Thursday cover with the headline "Mr. Cameron, Summer Is Over ... Now Deal With the Biggest Crisis Facing Europe Since WW2." The Daily Mail, just in July, ran an anti-refugee front page with the headline "The Swarm in Our Streets." Today, suddenly, it cares about refugees, and will join the Sun (and, seemingly, much of the British press) in splashing the image of the dead child across its front page with the headline "Tiny victim of a human catastrophe."...These anti-refugee headlines have consequences. As a result of the UK's anti-refugee sentiment, the country has taken in only 216 Syrian refugees, and Prime Minister David Cameron has reassured voters he won't take more than 1,000. (Germany has pledged to take 800,000 asylum applicants this year alone.) 

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Article
29 August 2015

Economist argues for more flexible labour market to allow refugees to work

Author: Economist (UK)

"Let them in and let them earn", 29 Aug 2015

Europe’s labour force is ageing and will soon begin to shrink. Its governments have racked up vast debts which they plan to dump on future generations. This will be harder if those future generations are smaller. Immigrants, including asylum-seekers, are typically young and eager to work. So they can help ease this problem: caring for the elderly and shouldering a share of debts they had no role in running up...The fear that they will poach jobs or drag down local wages is also misplaced. Because they bring complementary skills, ideas and connections, they tend to raise the wages of the native-born overall, though they may slightly reduce those of unskilled local men. And the migrants themselves benefit enormously. By moving to Europe, with its predictable laws and efficient companies, they can become several times more productive, and their wages rise accordingly...[T]he answer to the broader question—how can Europe assimilate migrants better?—can be summarised in three words: let them work... A more open Europe with more flexible labour markets could turn the refugee crisis into an opportunity, just as America did with successive waves of refugees in the 20th century, including plenty from Europe. Let them in, and let them earn.

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Article
29 August 2015

German newspapers support campaigns welcoming refugees

Author: Eloi Rouyer, AFP

 "German media and celebs rally for refugees after ugly protests", 29 Aug 2015

Germany may have witnessed violent anti-refugee protests this week -- but the message from the country's media and celebrities is a loud and determined welcome for people fleeing the horrors of war. As part of its "We're helping" campaign, Germany's Bild am Sonntag tabloid devoted seven pages to celebrities from football stars like Lukas Podolski to business leaders like Daimler's boss Dieter Zetsche to musicians like Scorpions lead singer Klaus Meine, all mobilising "against refugee hate". The tabloid, which has launched a high-profile charity campaign to assist refugees, also ran an editorial by Nobel-winning writer Herta Mueller titled: "I was also a refugee."...Many media outlets have added their voices to Bild's. [Also refers to Der Spiegel, Sueddeutsche Zeitung]

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