Over two million people fled Ukraine in just twelve days as Vladimir Putin waged a brutal war against the country. The support for Ukranians has been compassionate and heartwarming – but it has also raised questions about why those fleeing North Africa and the Middle East are not afforded the same degree of sympathy. For example, most Ukrainian refugees are crossing into Poland, a country still busy constructing a wall along the Belarus stretch of its border to prevent the entry of Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis. Europe’s open arms approach to refugees in the current instance has undermined the narrative pushed by politicians in recent years that Europe is unfairly burdened with too many asylum seekers it cannot afford to support.
On March 31 award-winning investigative journalist Sally Hayden will come to Intelligence Squared to discuss her investigation into the reality of the global migrant crisis, revealing not only the shocking experiences of refugees seeking sanctuary but also the bigger picture: the negligence of NGOs, alleged corruption within the United Nations, the economics of the twenty-first-century slave trade, the EU’s bankrolling of Libyan militias and the trials of people smugglers. Drawing from her new book My Fourth Time, We Drowned she will shed light on how government policy and media narratives have shaped our understanding of refugees and offer a pathway to a more constructive and compassionate system of asylum.