South Asia Center Nonresident Senior Fellow Barbara Slavin writes for Al Monitor on outgoing UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres’ comments on the need to find a solution to the war and migrant crisis in Syria: 

Outgoing UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres made an impassioned plea Oct. 27 for a political resolution to the Syrian civil war that includes key stakeholders Russia and Iran, and he expressed fears about the imminent disappearance of most Christians from the Middle East.

Speaking at the National Press Club, Guterres — a former Portuguese prime minister — also harshly criticized the European Union for its failure to respond effectively to the exodus of asylum seekers, primarily from Syria.

Noting that the EU countries have a total population of 550 million and that those seeking refuge there this year number about 700,000, Guterres said, “We are talking of a problem that could be managed … but what happened was total chaos.” Europe, he said, “has to [get] its act together.”

Only last weekend did the EU decide to build capacity in Greece to handle the onslaught entering Europe from Turkey and try to stem the disorganized transit of refugees through Eastern Europe to Germany and Scandinavia. That influx, Guterres acknowledged, has created a backlash in some countries and contributed to anti-Muslim sentiment, which, he said, has its roots in the inadequate integration of Muslims in Europe in the post-colonial era.

Read the full article here.

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