Journey to the Unknown
This film follows two Syrian refugees trying to reach Europe – one by sea, the other by land. The film-makers use hidden cameras to observe people-smugglers doing deals with desperate refugees in both Libya and Turkey.
The refugee crisis triggered by the continuing conflict in Syria has reached epic proportions in 2016. The death toll in the Mediterranean has risen steadily in recent years; and according to a UNHCR report, reached the 10,000 mark in the two-and-a-half years up to June 2016. But the numbers succeeding in completing the hazardous sea journey and landing in Italy, largely on the island of Lampedusa, have also continued to increase – and this has challenged Italy’s preparedness to accept, process and accommodate them.
While the Mediterranean crisis has deepened, the numbers fleeing Syria and taking the land route through Turkey have also mounted. The powerful images of homeless adults and children queuing and camping at the borders of eastern Europe meant the world could no longer ignore the scale of the refugee crisis. This human fall-out was also too much for many of these countries that were simply not prepared – practically or politically – for the nature or numbers of the tens of thousands of displaced people. The way European Union deals with fingerprinting and asylum applications was also seriously challenged.