June 25, 2022

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Why did Belgium take in more Ukrainian refugees in 3 months than the entire “immigration crisis” of 2015?

Since the beginning of the Russian-led war, more than 46,000 Ukrainians have obtained temporary security clearances in Belgium. For more than three months, more than the whole of 2015, the so-called “immigration crisis”, Ukrainian refugees were accepted on our soil. In 2015, 45,630 asylum applications were registered a year, mainly from people in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, three months ago, more than 46,000 Ukrainians have come to our border. This is higher than the total number of migrants arriving during the “immigration crisis” in 2015. At the time, sentiments were unleashed around the effects of this visit “flow”, but today, there seems to be no controversy. And so on Why the arrival of 2015 caused so much talk and controversy, while the arrival of more Ukrainians did not provoke any emotion In public opinion?

The first difference is the political treatment of these files. The reception of Ukrainian refugees was facilitated by the provision of automated and temporary asylum, while the processing of Syrian files was done on a case-by-case basis, resulting in large shelters and temporary shelters, especially in parks.

The arrival of these immigrants led to the political allotment of many parties, often based on the rejection of foreigners: the debate over the payment of family allowances, the payment of expenses for asylum files by candidates …

More women and children than in 2015

The media treatment was also very different: during the asylum crisis, images of endless queues of immigrants across the borders of Europe caused a great stir. Images that caused fear among the public. Pictures we have not seen, this time, with the war in Ukraine.

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Finally, the geography of Ukraine is very close to our countries. It is true that 73% of the immigrants received in 2015 were men and they were mostly women and children. In 2015, the Muslim obedience of some refugees led to racism that did not happen this time.

This is particularly illustrated by the fact that Ukrainian men were asked to fight by the authorities of their country. All healthy men aged 18-60, except for a few fathers of large families. So this time the majority of refugee candidates from Ukraine are women and children.

The nature of the conflict is different

The nature of the conflict also has this difference in profile. In Syria, since 2015, there has been a civil war with several camps. Those who fled the war there were not deserters, but often civilians who feared the military of dictatorial President Bashar al-Assad, or refused to join other camps, such as Islamist militants. This is not a classic war between states, with regular forces, listed as men’s veterans, as is happening in Ukraine today.