This Week in Restoring Family Links News 08/17/15 - 08/21/15

Do you follow @intlfamilylinks (Restoring Family Links’ account) on Twitter? See an interesting article but just don’t have the time to read it? “This Week in RFL News” is a weekly blog segment that highlights and summarizes some of the news items posted by RFL’s twitter.

Macedonia: The migrant and refugee crisis in Europe is still growing in numbers and even expanding to more countries. Yesterday, Macedonia declared an official state of emergency due to overwhelming numbers of migrants storming northern and southern border zones. In efforts to control the situation, the government called on police to monitor major influx zones, but with such high numbers, the Macedonian army is projected to become more involved in the next few days. Over the past several months, Macedonia has acted as a key passing zone for migrants heading north to seek asylum in wealthier EU countries such as Austria, Germany, Britain or Sweden. However, due to Hungary’s “anti-migrant wall” blocking a major passageway to Germany, more migrants are settling into Macedonia as they figure out their next steps.

Reuters / S. Nenov

Reuters / S. Nenov

When migrants arrive into Macedonia, their main destination is one of Macedonia’s major railway stations that travel to Serbia and Hungary. The southern Macedonian town of Gevgelija, on the border with Greece, saw hundreds of people at its train station scrambling to climb aboard trains heading north last Saturday. Migrants see this as the safest method, to the people smugglers attacking those who travel on foot.

 

Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski said in a statement that just two months ago, there were about 500 to 600 migrant arrivals each day. Now, the number has climbed to 2,500 a day and is likely to continue to increase to 3,000 to 4,000 a day. Macedonia, as well as several other EU countries, are on high alert. 

Joe Sinclair / AFP via Getty Images 

Joe Sinclair / AFP via Getty Images 

Slovakia: We’ve reported weekly about migrants and refugees in the European Union, and the crisis has marked a record number of countries over the past several months. Alike Macedonia, Slovakia is also in the news, as the Slovakian government recently announced that it would help share the responsibility of the influx of tens of thousands of migrants into the EU by taking in 200 Syrian refugees. Under the EU’s plan to resetlle 40,000 new arrivals, The country is due to receive individuals from camps in Turkey, Italy and Greece. Though 200 many not seem outstanding, more glaring is the fact that Slovakia stated it will only accept Christian refugees. An Interior Ministry spokesperson Ivan Netik said, "We want to really help Europe with this migration wave but... we are only a transit country and the people don't want to stay in Slovakia." He also stated that because Slovakia does not have mosques, Muslim refugees would not like it, and would not want to stay. His statements conjure a familiar rhetoric of anti-Muslim movements that have been happening across the European Union for a long time.

Migrant and refugees statistics in the EU are only growing. On Tuesday, the European Union's border agency reported that 107,500 migrants had crossed into the E.U. in July, a record figure that was triple the number of crossings reported in July 2014.

World Humanitarian Day: Every year on August 19, the international community celebrates World Humanitarian Day. This day is dedicated to recognize those who have lost their lives when working for humanitarian causes. The day was first designated by the United Nations General Assembly to commemorate on the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq, Sérgio Vieira de Mello and 21 of his colleagues were killed in the bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad. The UN celebrated this day through several events and commemorations around the world. This video by the UN puts World Humanitarian Day into perspective, by highlighting the hard work of individuals around the world to end suffering.

The Red Cross knows that everyone has a story to tell about the people that inspired them through a selfless act of kindness or a special contribution. In anticipation for World Humanitarian Day, the Red Cross asked everyone to share their inspiration by tagging three people who have inspired them on a Facebook or Twitter post with the hashtags #sharehumanity and #redcross or #redcrescent and asking 'your inspiration' to tag other volunteers that have inspired them. In this way, the Red Cross aimed to create a chain of inspiration that spanned the globe. Below, we reported on stories individuals who found their way to join the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies. 

For more stories from Red Cross volunteers and staff around the globe, visit icrc.org and ifrc.org.