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23 IN FOCUS for a better life have been drivers of development since time immemorial. The arrival of refugees is always an op- portunity to create something new – provided that this process is given free rein. The United States, for example, became the great nation that it is today partly because of the refugees and migrants, many of them from Europe, who shaped the country. Today, their legacy benefits each and every one of us. Lack of legal channels strengthens the people smugglers Refugees should therefore be able to obtain work permits and later acquire citizenship more easily. Bangladesh, for example, does not grant citizenship to Rohingyas on principle. It’s a similar situation for the Palestinians in Le- banon and Syria. And some of the European countries are struggling with the notion of citizenship for refugees and migrants. Europe still lacks a coherent policy response to refugees and migrants, and there are still no safe legal channels for refugees to come to Europe. In light of the Syrian crisis, however, there is a strong case for fair burden-sharing according to countries’ economic capac­ ities – not only in Europe, but worldwide. At present, a properly organised system does not exist. What’s more, not every country capable of hosting refugees is willing to do so. But unless safe legal channels are available, refugees and migrants will turn to people smugglers for help. An Eritrean with the right to asylum in Germany, for ex- ample, could buy a plane ticket and fly to Europe for a fraction of the price demanded by people smugglers. However, no such opportunity currently exists. And Aus- tralia isolates itself as well. It intercepts refugee boats at sea and forces them to turn around before they reach Australian territory. Giovanni Loprete, who heads the International Or- ganization for Migration in Niger, believes that there is only a limited amount that can be done to prevent refugees from leaving their country, especially if they face the threat of war and persecution. Information cam- paigns about the dangers have limited impact. ‘They know the risks,’ he says. ‘And they leave anyway.’ It’s a similar situation with the people smugglers. ‘If a » Professor Paul Collier from the University of Oxford is calling for a rethinking of policies on migration and refugees. At present, the migration debate is informed by emotion and ignorance, he says. His book ‘Exodus: Immigration and Multiculturalism in the 21st Century’ (2013) is published by Oxford University Press. A new home Refugees Welcome is a Berlin-based initiative which finds vacant rooms, e.g. in shared apartments, for refugees. More than 1,500 people keen to offer accommoda- tion throughout Germany have now registered with the website. Sources: UNHCR, IOM, Eurostat, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, New York Times, Refugees Welcome Better shelter Furniture chain IKEA has developed an emergency hous- ing solution for the United Nations which is designed to provide better shelter for refugees from wind and weather. In some parts of the world it is set to replace tents, which generally have a lifespan of just six months and are less durable. IKEA’s shelter is better insulated and has an expected lifespan of three years. A model of hospitality Welcome Dinner is a Swedish initiative which encourages families to host a dinner for refugees. It’s an opportunity for everyone to get to know one another, share a meal and spend a – hopefully – pleasant evening together. The initiative has now been taken up and replicated in many other countries and cities, including Berlin, Hamburg and Athens.