By Maryana Hnyp
The theme of migrants that are reaching out to the European countries in search of relief from natural disasters, war or poverty is today probably one of the most contested political and social topics discussed globally. The overflow of the interpretations, predictions and speculations about the changes that migrants might be causing our countries and our social environments certainly makes it an emotional topic, to which it is difficult to remain neutral. Much has already been said about economic and political difficulties, as equally the interfaith challenges for the European Christian context that migrants and refugees seemingly bring. Self-defensive political and economic speculations aside for the moment, let’s look at the question of migration from mainly an anthropological and ethical point of view.
Migrant or a refugee?
Very often these two terms seem to be used interchangeably. Yet, there are a few important distinctions to be made. Refugees, fleeing persecution, human rights violation or armed conflict are generally entitled to “international protection” in an asylum country. On the other hand, those who are moving for financial reasons, to make a better living than they could at their home country, are classified as economic migrants, and are often sent back home. There are also those who flee their home country for both reasons – occurring persecution and dire economy – that fuse into one reason for migration that is, in many cases, almost impossible to unravel. And there are those, who leave their home country as refugees and keep on moving for economic reasons, the so-called "secondary movers". Read the full article
About the author
Maryana Hnyp works at Caritas Europa as Institutional Development Officer, responsible for communion and participation and practical application of Catholic Social Thought. She also works as coordinator of inter-religious and ecumenical relations and lecturer on Religious Fundamentalism at KU Leuven. She holds a PhD in Theology and an Advanced MA in European Studies from KU Leuven with the specialisation in fundamental rights of the European Union.
Previously Maryana worked as theological advisor to legal advisor for fundamental rights and legal advisor for institutional and social affairs at the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE), and as Director of Religious Education for the international students within the University Chaplaincy of KU Leuven. She lectures on subjects of political ethics, peace building and reconciliation, as well as political and religious fundamentalism in a number of European and North American universities.