Germany’s Role in UNHCR: The Refugee Crisis


My name is Júlia Almeida de Oliveira and I’m 20 years old. I am a Brazilian undergraduate International Relations student. I currently study at Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais (PUC Minas), in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.


Brazil | June 27, 2020 | Student Essay

In 2015, more than 476,000 refugees arrived in Germany (BBC NEWS, 2016). The refugees are originate from countries like Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries from Africa. The foremost factor which implicates in migration vary from country to country and it goes from civil war to poverty. In Europe, Germany has taken the major role in taking action to deal with the migrant issue. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with the public opinion’s support, has provided asylum to thousands of refugees in the past recent years.

         Two significant factors can explain the attitude taken by the Chancellor Angela Merkel. Thereby, “on the one hand, the German economy is functioning well. Germany also knows it’s going to have an extremely big problem with birth rates declining; immigration is therefore intended to help in principle.” (VOX, 2015). In this sense, one can explain the foundation of Germany’s conduct by associating it with the advance of the german economy and the reduction of  birth rates in the country.

         Once the refugees get in Germany, the country has provided plenty of mechanisms to help assist them. At first glance, “the initial priorities for the German government were registering and housing the huge influx of arrivals. But once settled, many migrants started to take integration and language courses with an eye towards entering the labour force.” (ALJAZEERA, 2019). From this perspective, it is important to stress the role of Germany in helping the refugees to settle down. It is essential to provide assistance to the refugees settled in the country, so they can find a way of improving their quality of life and the country’s conditions, such as the labour market.

         Germany is known as the second largest governmental donor of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) – $169.4 million total contributions in 2020 – and the biggest refugee-hosting country of the European Union (UNHCR, 2020). In this way, the country can help the UNHCR to protect and to give assistance to the asylum seekers from many countries of the world. The german conduct of contributing profoundly to UNHCR can also inspire other countries to start helping refugees. In that sense, “Germany’s commitment to refugees goes far beyond financial contributions alone. As the largest refugee-hosting country in the European Union […], Germany sets a powerful example to the world on the need for increased responsibility-sharing.” (UNHCR, 2020).

         Furthermore, “[…] the inflow of refugees entails a significant challenge, involving the integration of hundreds of thousands of people from a distant culture and with very different outlook concerning participation in society and the labour market.” (ENGLER, 2016). Thus, the role of the german government in assisting refugees, once they are settled, is very important, so they can adapt properly and, consequently, engage in the country’s business sector. To this extent, “Germany has highly advanced institutions of its own, as well as a history of integrating immigrant and refugee populations into its labor force.” (KADKOY, 2017).

         In the light of the refugee crisis, it is possible to notice an improvement of the refugees rights in Germany. “Over the past years, the refugee policy in Germany has been gradually liberalised, i.e. the rights of refugees have been reinforced.” (ENGLER, 2016). This is an essential step in the process of adjustment and establishment of the refugee people, in the country under consideration.

         Therefore, it may be said that Germany’s role in the refugee crisis was – and it still is – extremely important to those that are in need for asylum and to the international community itself, including UNHCR. Germany has been an example and also an inspiration for a large amount of other countries around the world, in regard to cooperating to the relief of the refugee crisis issue.


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