By K. C. McAlpin, September 23, 2015
The 1951 Refugee Convention, as amended in 1967, defines a refugee as:
A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.
But the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) which has found safe havens for millions of refugees since the 1951 Convention, draws a clear distinction between “refugees” and “economic migrants.”
Global migration patterns have become increasingly complex in modern times, involving not just refugees, but also millions of economic migrants. But refugees and migrants, even if they often travel in the same way, are fundamentally different, and for that reason are treated very differently under modern international law.
Migrants, especially economic migrants, choose to move in order to improve the future prospects of themselves and their families. Refugees have to move if they are to save their lives or preserve their freedom.
Whenever a “refugee” voluntarily leaves a country of first asylum where they are safe in order to seek a better life in a third country, they are no longer refugees, but economic migrants, and their chosen country of destination has absolutely no obligation to admit them under international law. If this were not so, people from anywhere in the world could force themselves on any other country.
This is precisely what is taking place now with the massive migration of Middle Eastern and African economic migrants across the Mediterranean and through Southeastern Europe. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her EU colleagues are simply lying when they insist on labelling and treating these economic migrants as “refugees.”
She will get away with it for a while by forcing other EU countries, and imploring other Western countries like the U.S., to share the burden. But in the end, Merkel simply is insuring that the mass migration of economic migrants into Europe will continue and grow until the continent is engulfed by a climate of violence, anarchy, and chaos.