People have been moving between areas, countries and continents during the whole course of human history, long before the terms ‘refugee’ and ‘migrant’ were introduced as a way devised by the states to control human movement.

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Immigrants on line leaving Ellis Island waiting for ferry to N.Y

Ever since our first ancestors left Africa to populate the rest of the world1, in modern history people have been continuously moving in search of better food, better climate, land, work and freedom. The composition of humanity is ever changing and all of us have in our genealogical tree a migrant and/ or a refugee ancestor.

In the beginning of the 20th century, 50 million people left Europe2  – 1 in 8 Europeans -emigrated to America, Canada, Argentina, and South Africa; in 1950, 50% of migrants in America were originating from Western Europe3. Today, every time states or people disagree on who should have, or not, the right to move, they should be better looking back at their personal, or national history. As Kaye used to say, “… the legal arguments are merely covering a very convenient historical amnesia and hide much more important and fundamental issues4.  This is becoming even more important in our days, when we are witnessing the greatest movement of people since the end of World War II5 with 1 in every 122 people being persecuted or seeking asylum,(in terms of population they would constitute the 24th biggest country in the world6.

When discussing who is a refugee, and therefore entitled to our help and protection, and who is not (often forgetting the fact that these are people we are talking about, and not numbers and statistics in spreadsheets), we tend to forget that, for example, 2.6 million of Afghan people are still outside their country for more than 30 years6, unable to return to a country ravaged by successive wars, still not able to stand on its feet. Likewise, Palestinians account as one of the largest groups of refugees in the world (5.1 millions) according to the UN5, with a doubtful future. 38% of those arriving nowadays are estimated to be children7, out of which 85.482 are unaccompanied8 and at least 10.000 are missing inside the European Union9.
If we add to the above numbers the 250 million people that will have to leave their homes by 205010 due to climate change, it would become clearer that the only approach possible is one that would consider the human life as an entity and not as a number.

It is, of course, impossible to fully cover such an issue through a webspot, or through the few pages of these texts. Our aim here is to share an overview of readings and facts, as a starting point for further research, plus to offer a list of independent locations, structures, organizations/ NGOs where anyone can contribute in any way they want.


Individually as persons, and collectively, as a community of people who stand by each other.
Equals among equals.

  1. African roots of the human family tree, CNN, 2013 (link)
  2. Migration, migrant workers and capitalism, 2009 (link)
  3. What fundamentals drive world migration?, National Bureau Of Economic Research
    (University Of Essex & Harvard University)
  4. Moving Millions, Jeffrey Kaye [John Wiley & Sons; 2010] 
  5. Global Migration Trends: an overview, IOM, 2014 (link)
  6. UNHCR’s annual Global Trends Report 2014: World at War, 2015 (link)
  7. Mediterranean Data, UNHCR (link)
  8. Migrant smuggling in the EU, EUROPOL, 2016 (link)
  9. 10.000 refugee children are missing, The Guardian, 2016 (link)
  10. Τhe Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review, Cambridge University press, p.56

Immigrants on line leaving Ellis Island waiting for ferry to N.Y