by Anna Rudycheva
The photo of a drowned child marked the highest peak of attention given to the current crisis of the asylum system in Europe and sparked, like never before, discussions about the human side to the biggest migration flow since World War II. For a moment, mainstream media and social networks focused on human stories of people who fell victims to war and persecution in their own countries and sought refuge in Europe.
But as usual, trending stories and viral photos eventually fade away from mainstream media headlines. We should not forget, however, that the wars and conflicts still persist, and that there are more stories to be told on behalf of the people who keep fleeing to the Greek islands in rubber boats, to the closed borders of Hungary on foot, and to the railway stations of Germany on trains and buses.
If you do not want to lose focus of the human stories of Europe’s refugees and asylum seekers, these are the social media accounts of photographers, journalists and NGOs that keep covering the issue and uncovering personal tragedies behind every boat in the Mediterranean.
Peter Bouckaert, Emergencies Director at Human Rights Watch, is perhaps the best reporter on the refugee crisis out there that manages to keep his social media accounts updated about his every step on the journey across the Balkans, Turkey, Greece and other places where he talks with families and individuals that made their way to Europe from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea, and other countries.
Omar Ouahamane, French journalist and correspondent for Radio France in Beirut, accompanied a refugee family to Europe and travelled with them (on the boat). He still gives updates from the family, who arrived in Sweden, on his Twitter account.
Message de la famille de Lotus en Suède : "Nous sommes tristes, nous pensons à vous, que la paix revienne à Paris" pic.twitter.com/nqF4v8AtYD
— Omar Ouahmane (@ouahmane_omar) November 14, 2015
Serbian freelance photographer Marko Drobnjakovic posts emotive black-and-white pictures from the refugee camps around the Balkans.
Ciril Jazbec is a photographer for National Geographic who covers stories of families and individuals from all around the world that are currently stranded between the borders of Eastern Europe. Some of these photos show families with children, dogs, cats, and enormous backpacks – as if they are setting off on a leisure camping trip. Except, there is no home to return to after the long hike.
More than 70,000 migrants entered Slovenia so far, new buses and trains arriving. There was a group walking through the fields towards a transit camp Dobovo. Among them I noticed a couple named Mohnad and Dalia. They briefly told me their story about how they were forced to flee from their home in Iraq due to an increasing danger and how they set out on a journey in search of a better life. Back home they worked as journalists for TV station Al Sharqiya. They brought along their dog named Ivo. So far their path has led them through Turkey, Greece, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and now Slovenia. @natgeo #migrantcrisis #refugeecrisis #Slovenia #Europe #Rigonce
Dutch photographer Marieke van der Velden works on assignments in refugee camps of Lebanon, entitled ‘Outside Syria’, and in Lesbos, ‘Island of All Together’. Follow these and her other projects on Tumblr.
Passeurs d’hospitalités is a Francophone blog run by activists who visit and work inside the Calais refugee camp and update their blog every day about new developments within the camp, its relationship with local residents and the police, and the stories of people who ended up here, across the channel from the British isles.
— Za’atari Camp (@ZaatariCamp) juliol 29, 2015
The Za’atari camp in Jordan is a whole stretch of desert turned into a semi-permanent home for over 70,000 refugees from Syria and Iraq. Managed by UNHCR and JHCO, the camp was also extensively covered by OpenStreetMap. This Twitter account follows the daily lives of Zaatari residents and their hopes for the future.
Stating the obvious here, but among all the work that UNHCR does in the field, their website and social media accounts are constantly updated with personal stories from the residents of refugee camps and participant of asylum courtrooms.
— UN Refugee Agency (@Refugees) novembre 17, 2015
— MSF Sea (@MSF_Sea) novembre 12, 2015
Médecins Sans Frontières Naval Operations explore stories of people from Syria, Eritrea, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Somalia, and many other countries affected by humanitarian disasters. Among them are victims of corrupt governments, terrorist organisations, warlords and religious persecution. Although Syria is on the spotlight when you hear about refugee and asylum issues, we should not forget the broader picture of the broken European asylum system.