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Understanding the dynamics of migration to Greece and the EU: Drivers, decisions and destinations Heaven Crawley, Franck Duvell, Katharine Jones and Dimitris Skleparis


This Research Brief presents our emerging findings in relation to refugees and migrants who travelled via the Eastern Mediterranean Route from Turkey to Greece during 2015. Visit the project website.

Key findings

  • The vast majority (88%) of those interviewed in Greece told us they were forced to leave their home countries or the countries in which they were living due to conflict, persecution, violence, death threats and human rights abuse. Within this, the circumstances under which people had been forced to leave varied considerably.
  • More than a quarter (28%) of respondents said that the activities of Islamic State (IS), particularly in Syria but also in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen, were a significant factor in their decision to leave.
  • Respondents from Syria and Iraq described kidnapping by a range of different state and non-state actors as an increasingly common threat to their safety and that of their families.
    For Eritreans, Syrians and Afghans (living in Iran), the risk / fear of forced conscription into the government army, militia or rebel force was a major factor underlying the decision to leave.
  • Some respondents from minority groups (e.g. Hazara Afghans in Iran, Christians in Eritrea, Palestinians in Syria) described experiences of severe institutionalised discrimination, usually on the basis of ethnic or religious identity.


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Asylum and RefugeesBordersEuropean UnionIllegalityWar and conflict