Rethinking emergency and crisis


When we examine refugees in the world today, we might ask, which crisis? One can point towards the Venezuelan exodus, Rohingya refugees, and of course Syrian refugees. Yet labelling a situation an emergency or crisis both reveals and obscures information – it does not tell us who did what or who holds responsibility, and it is fraught with issues of power and interests. Some of the questions addressed here include: Is there really a European refugee crisis? Is crisis built into the international refugee regime? What are the consequences of declaring a refugee emergency (and for whom)? What different narratives exist for the same crisis, and what can we learn about the power of crafting crisis narratives through examining them?

 

Lifejackets, North Lesvos. Credit: UNHCR/Gordon Welters.