Fears over refugee scapegoating after Paris attacks

UN among groups concerned at links between Syrian refugees and terrorism

Fears over refugee scapegoating after Paris attacks

World Bulletin / News Desk

Europe should be wary of tarnishing refugees seeking sheltered in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, rights groups said.

The links between the killers of 129 people in the French capital and Syria, where some of the attackers visited, has raised fears that terrorism could affect the willingness of EU nations to accept refugees.

A Syrian passport was found near the remains of one suicide bomber with evidence that the carrier had passed through Greece last month. However, the document is still to be verified.

It was later reported that Serbian police had arrested a man carrying a passport with the same details as the one found near the body, raising the likelihood of it being a forgery.

Joel Millman, a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration, voiced concern at attitudes among European politicians following the attacks.

“The latest statements made by some European countries regarding the closing the borders to the refugees are really worrisome,” he said. “Thousands of refugees, including women and children could face xenophobia besides the freezing cold.”

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees also warned against scapegoating refugees.

“We are deeply disturbed by language that demonizes refugees as a group,” spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said on Tuesday. “This is dangerous as it will contribute to xenophobia and fear.”

She added: “Refugees should not be turned into scapegoats and must not become the secondary victims of these most tragic events.”

Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Estonia and Latvia are among EU countries that have expressed reservations at accepting large numbers of asylum seekers.

Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, those who had suffered most at the hands of ISIL were Syrian and Iraqi Muslims.

“If this attack is allowed to feed discrimination and prejudice it will be playing straight into the hands of ISIL,” he said. “Are we going to play their game for them?”

More than 4 million Syrians have fled the country since civil war erupted in 2011.

So far this year, more than 819,000 refugees have arrived in Europe by crossing the Mediterranean, according to UN figures.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Kasım 2015, 09:19