By: The Globe and Mail
GERMANY has made a mark on their history as well as the history of the world with their decision to take in a massive influx of Syrian refugees. This was only possible thanks to the efforts of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. With this act, they are sending a message to the world that they are doing everything in their power to aid in this crisis. Brazil has made their mark with the implementation of a specialized visa program to expedite the asylum process, making the means of escape for Syrian refugees easier and safer. In the Human Rights Council currently taking place, Germany and Brazil are the sensitive refugee issue as a team.
The Globe and Mail sat down with the delegate of Germany and the delegate of Brazil for an exclusive interview to discuss what they are pushing for in committee; how this will greatly aid and revolutionize the way that counties take in refugees fleeing their homeland, and what other countries can do to start making a difference in the lives of millions.
The Globe and Mail: Brazil, you have sent a signal to the world that you are more than willing to take on refugees. I’d like to ask you about the security measures put in place for the refugees currently seeking asylum. Right now, 81% of the citizens of Germany feel as if they are unsafe because of the influx to their country. How do we make this safe for citizens of all countries?
Brazil: Brazil entirely understands the security concerns that Germany and other European countries have regarding the incoming refugees but Brazil thinks that it’s important to recognize that this is an immediate problem that needs to be dealt with right now. By delaying things, this will only further exacerbate the problem and increase the overload on the European issues of accepting refugees. Brazil is willing to help lessen this overload by accepting refugees on our own but at the same time it is a little more logistically difficult to get to Brazil being that it’s on a different continent. At the same time, Brazil is willing and able to accept refugees but Brazil believes that the European Union does have a responsibility to take them in themselves.
The Globe and Mail: What do Brazil and Germany believe that Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries can do in terms of pulling their weight in the current refugee crisis?
Germany: What they can do is that, these counties that are wealthy enough for example, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, they’re not taking in any refugees and Germany strongly believes they should. Germany is paying out of their own pocket for the refugees and that’s going to be an increase on taxation for the population of Germany. Saudi Arabia doesn’t have to do that so their citizens will be fine but Germany is willing to do whatever it takes. So. Germany definitely believes that Saudi Arabia and the UAE should take in more refugees because they are more financially stable.
The Globe and Mail: Brazil, can you go over your points made in committee to the delegate of the United States of America about how it is less expensive to travel to Brazil in terms of getting refugees over in a safe and cost effective manner?
Brazil: Alright, so maybe I was perhaps a little unclear when I was talking about the financial side of what Brazil is doing. So, it’s less expensive for refugees to pay out of their own pocket to travel to Brazil to seek asylum rather than to pay to travel to Europe to seek asylum because either way there are costs on the side of the refugees in order to try and flee the country and gain asylum and safety. What I was saying, that was ironic with the United States was that, their willingness to accept only ten thousand refugees didn’t really make sense proportionally when Brazil has already printed special visas to enter Brazil to to over eight thousand Syrians and while Brazil is also a very large economy the United States is the largest economy in the world and they should be doing a greater part to help solve this refugee crisis.
The Globe and Mail: In terms of security how are you processing the refugees? Now as stated before, 81% of Germans say that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, is being too lenient in taking refugees. They’re worried about their safety. What’s Germany doing right now in terms of screening process?
Germany: Right now, Germany isn’t doing anything. All Germany is doing is taking in all refugees and there are some refugees as well who are being registered. Germany is working to deport those who are not properly registered, but only after we have all resolved this conflict.
The Globe and Mail: What is Brazil doing in terms of security checks?
Brazil: Well, as mentioned, Brazil believes that it is incredibly important that these refugees reach safety in a timely manner as, them being lodged up in large refugee camps in terrible conditions is not something we want to continue for a long time. We also don’t want them to remain in danger within Syria for a long time. So, what Brazil is doing is, they are printing special visas to applicants who are Syrian refugees to travel to Brazil and then go through the more extensive security and screening processes. So this way, there is an initial screening process before the visa is granted to protect the security of Brazil but further processing will be put in place after they have already reached safety and are in the process of being granted asylum.
The Globe and Mail: So what can Germany and Brazil do together to get other countries in the fight to get refugees safely within their borders?
Brazil: Brazil thinks that it’s important for non-European Union countries to help take in refugees in order to lower this stress on this system on the counties within the European Union. Especially Germany because they’ve been so gracious in accepting so many refugees. But, at the same time the other European countries who are closing their borders need to reconsider what they’re doing and in taking in more refugees because, closing their borders will only build up the stress on this system rather than alleviate it.
Germany: Germany can see the reason why it is starting to close off the border. Because, we have already accepted about thirty six hundred thousand Syrian refugees. Germany thinks that they should keep on supporting the Syrian refugees, even though it is going to increase taxation. There is always a way to find a solution.
With Brazil’s strategic and thoughtfully constructed visa system and Germany’s generosity, it is clear that refugees still fleeing their homeland will be able to seek asylum in a safe manner. These actions come as great aids in terms of safety to the Syrian refugees. The delegates of Brazil and Germany will continue to push their positions at the Human Rights Council in order to get the majority of countries on board with these security and visa systems.