They have been branded "marauders" and a "swarm" by the British government, but the migrants currently landing on European shores are fleeing nations where executions, torture, rape and poverty are commonplace.
"The movement of people across the globe is primarily a consequence of the vast inequalities that exist and which express themselves both in terms of sheer poverty but also wars and political instability," Don Flynn, director of the Migrants Right Network, told the Huff Post UK.
After David Cameron branded refugees in Calais a "swarm", his defence secretary following in quick succession by referring to African migrants as "marauders" on Monday, many people might have lost sight of what thousands of displaced people are actually fleeing.
One-third of all those who claim asylum in the UK have been victims of torture, one charity claims, while hundreds of thousands flee war-ravaged, fractured homelands, making for Europe in a bid to save their families from rape, human rights abuses and death.
"The current situation at the external borders of Europe is first and foremost a product of a humanitarian crisis," Flynn tells The Huffington Post UK, "and it will not be solved or even managed down to a tolerable level by what are essential tough cop police measures.
"But we should not let the politicians lead the public mood into a fit of pessimism and despair that anything at all can be done about the situation," he adds.
"Europe is a region of 500 million people and, despite its recent economic travails, it remains rich and resourceful enough to attend to crises which sweep a tiny fraction of that number into the insecurities of refugee existence."
According to the UNHCR, the highest number of refugees coming into Europe by sea are those from Syria (34%), Afghanistan (12%), Eritrea (12%), Somalia (8%) and Nigeria (8%). Below we look at what is currently going on in those countries.