What the UN haven’t predicted about immigration issue

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A short article by Albert Kamiński from the O2 portal “And yet! The UN has calculated how many refugees there are among immigrants ” contains two untrue information already in the title. The introduction contains another, main lie.

This is another information from the web, suitable for the “Fake news” section that we have just created on the Polish version of the website.

It is stated by the author that “the UN has admitted that 7 out of 10 immigrants who reach Europe from Libya through the Mediterranean are not refugees but economic migrants.” It would be very good if the UN could compute those numbers and admit it, but nothing like that happened.

Albert Kaminski based his information on the “Report of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees”, but he has never seen this report. He read about it in an article from the Daily Mail, to which the link is given, but not as a source of information about the report, but the source of information about the number of immigrants reaching Italy. “Daily Mail” actually wrote various nonsenses in his text, and Kaminski repeats it. What and who really wrote this “UN report”?

Prepared by Altai Consulting report (in cooperation with the other company, IMPACT Initiatives), it concerns immigrants who reach Libya from various African countries. Some of them are trying to get to Europe. This year – and this is the only true information in Kaminski’s text – over 80,000 immigrants have arrived in Italy from Libya.

The report for UNHCR was to describe their situation: where do they come from in Libya, how are they treated there and why do they come to Libya. To collect this information Altai carried out – with the help of a local partner – 140 interviews with immigrants who were in Libya in various immigrants centres.

So first of all, this is not an official UN report, but a report prepared for one of the UN agencies, UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). UNHCR ordered this report from a private company and the report is clearly written by this company and not by UNHCR – although the UNHCR logo is on the report, which mean that the agency recognized it as its own, but it can not be said that “the UN has counted” or “the UN has admitted.” But this is the smallest problem (of the article), although the author should be precise.

Secondly, contrary to what is written by the author in the lead, not “the immigrants arriving in Europe” but those staying in Libya were examined. Moreover more than half of those interviewed did not intend to get to Europe, but wanted to make money on the spot.

Thirdly, information gathered from interviews from 140 people can not be generalized to the whole immigrant community, as these 140 people are not a so-called “representative sample”. The authors of the report repeatedly stressed that their attempt was not to base research on a “representative sample”. Therefore, even if 55% of respondents answered that they dream of going to Poland, in reality the whole population of such immigrants in Libya may be 99% or 0.01%. We simply do not know that if the sample is not random and not large enough (at least several hundred people).

Fourthly, the respondents did not mention why they wanted to go to Europe as they were not asked about it. However they were asked “with which main problems they encountered in their country.” 66% of people claimed as main issue the “economic situation” or “lack of employment prospects”. They can be considered as “economic migrants” but at the same time 51% mentioned some political factor – therefore, they can be considered political refugees (subjects could exchange numerous factors, so one person could talk about economic, political and any other factors).

Keeping with the article’s author’s convention, an (un) true lead would sound “The UN has admitted that the majority of immigrants reaching Europe are political refugees”.

To sum up: there is no “official UN calculation” of immigrants arriving in Europe, but only of those staying in Libya, and the results despite the fact of being a curiosity, they do not answer the question “how many economic migrants there are among the so-called refugees from Africa. ”

I am convinced (and now European politicians as well) that most of those coming to Italy are economic immigrants, not political refugees. I think this is based on data about granted (or rather unreserved) asylum in Italy and on the basis of the behaviour of a huge group of “refugees” who are trying to reach from Italy countries with greater potential for making money.

It would be good to know exactly whether the economic motivation of these immigrants is 60% or 95% . However, the UNHCR report does not give this certainty in the slightest way, contrary to what is said in the article discussed here.


Grzegorz Lindenberg


The Polish original: Czego ONZ nie wyliczyła w kwestii imigracji?

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