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World Refugee Day. There are up to 120 million refugees around the world

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On June 10, we celebrate World Refugee Day. The number of refugees is constantly increasing: a year ago it was estimated at 110 million people, this year it is estimated at even 120 million. The main reasons are the crisis in the Gaza Strip and subsequent escapes due to the moving front in Ukraine. According to World Bank forecasts, by 2050 the number of refugees may increase to 216 million people.

Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, but also Syria, India and the Philippines – these are just some of the countries from which refugees and immigrants come to Poland. Today, one million foreigners work in Poland, and if we include children, the elderly and the unemployed, the group of immigrants becomes quite large.

When the largest opposition party publishes recordings that directly threaten people from outside Europe, non-governmental organizations raise the alarm – such an increase in emotions may end badly.

– Immigrants will stay with us. If we polarize Polish society, if we allow the worst attitudes to emerge, these attitudes will also stay with us, says Professor Paweł Kaczmarczyk from the Center for Migration Research at the University of Warsaw.

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– When it comes to the situation of refugees in Poland, first of all, we lack a reduction in the level of tension and emotions in the narrative that we can observe among politicians – adds Katarzyna Potoniec, president of the Egala Association.

SEE ALSO: They post photos of people of different skin colors and criticize the government. “This is pure racism”

PiS does not stop scaring people about migrants. “It competes on racism with the Confederacy”Katarzyna Kolenda-Zaleska/Fakty TVN

The head of the Migration Research Center deals with myths that persist both in Poland and in Europe. Myth one – waves of migration result in an increase in violence.

– There are no studies that would show a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the increase in the scale of migration and crime, and, paradoxically, there are many analyzes that show just the opposite effect – points out Paweł Kaczmarczyk.

Because – as we hear – people with an irregular status do not commit crimes en masse because they have to take into account the risk of deportation. In Western Europe – according to research – violence is more often a problem among subsequent generations of migrants.

– Poland's situation is specific because we still do not have a second generation of migrants in Poland, and we know from the experience of Western European countries that this second generation can be a huge challenge, especially if we do not provide access to education, public services and risk social exclusion. these people – says Paweł Kaczmarczyk.

A huge challenge that Poland will have to face

Nowadays, non-governmental organizations rather than the state are working to ensure that such exclusion does not occur.

– If we do not want to create ghettos, we must first of all make sure not to isolate people who come to Poland, but to include them in Polish society as much as possible – says Katarzyna Potoniec.

Today, it is in non-governmental organizations that refugees and migrants can get help for their children at school, in completing documents or in finding a job.

– We support them in finding their way in Poland. We provide them with psychological assistance, legal assistance, and support from cultural mentors who help them with such everyday difficulties – says Karolina Szymańska, from the Ocalenie Foundation.

Even immigrants will not fill the demographic gap

The second myth is that immigrants will fill the gap in the labor market that is growing due to the demographic decline. As we hear, they will help, but they will not fill the entire gap. – Migration may be an element of a wide set of solutions, which undoubtedly include family policy and the policy of including groups on the labor market that are currently less active – says Paweł Kaczmarczyk.

When talking to non-governmental organizations and asking about the problems of refugees and immigrants, we constantly hear about the border with Belarus and the terrible humanitarian situation of people trying to cross it.

READ ALSO: A large decline in Poland's population. New forecast

– As organizations operating on the border, we breathed a sigh of relief after the change of government, really hoping that the pushbacks would be stopped and that some solution would be found, but it turns out that it is even worse – admits Katarzyna Potoniec.

The recent words of the government may confirm the lack of changes in attitudes towards migrants at the border. – Hordes to attack Polish soldiers and border guards – said Minister of National Defense and Deputy Prime Minister Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz about migrants. – These are not refugees, they are increasingly rare migrants, poor families looking for help – said Prime Minister Donald Tusk on May 14.

We don't really know who the people on the border are

We hear from a migration expert that we don't know who the people at the border are because there is no way to check.

– The researcher would like to be able to say who it is, but considering the procedures or lack thereof, it is currently extremely difficult – says Paweł Kaczmarczyk. Because people who want to cross the border do not go to asylum centers where they could be checked, but are pushed back abroad.

– We know from the experience of other countries that we will not close the border and end the issue of migration – says Karolina Szymańska. Today, in addition to a strategy on how to act at the border – as we hear – we also need a long-term strategy on how to deal with the growing number of refugees and migrants. – We do not have a migration strategy in Poland, we do not have a doctrine, we do not have a vision, and this is probably the most striking thing – emphasizes Paweł Kaczamarczyk. But – what is important – such a strategy has to be created. Consultations are currently ongoing. Scientific institutes, organizations and even the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights take part in them. – Surveys have been sent to stakeholders, various institutions and units that will be able to contribute their perspective to the emerging migration policy – says Maciej Grześkowiak from the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights.

– The idea is not to really have problems with the second or third generation. Knowledge of the language is indeed key, but also the integration of foreign children in the school system and later in the labor market – sums up Professor Maciej Duszczyk, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration.

The initial strategy is to be ready in mid-October.

Main photo source: TVN24



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