Marrakech - The European Border agency, Frontex, is responsible for protecting Europe’s borders from the growing numbers of refugees and asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Africa, who are fleeing violence, genocide and poverty, in search of a better life in the European Union (EU).
Marrakech – The European Border agency, Frontex, is responsible for protecting Europe’s borders from the growing numbers of refugees and asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Africa, who are fleeing violence, genocide and poverty, in search of a better life in the European Union (EU).
Thousands are dying in unseaworthy boats, victims of unscrupulous people traffickers. Off the coast of North Africa, from Libya to Morocco, these boats set off for Europe and are blocked on the EU’s land borders. These boarders include Greece, Turkey, Italy, Spain, France and especially the island of Lampedusa. An article, in the magazine Der Spiegel, notes that some 200,000 refugees are expected to arrive in Germany during this year alone.
According to Der Spiegel, there is no legal path for refugees to enter the EU and find work. Italy is now giving up its sea rescue operations after having brought ashore some 70,000 refugees on Lampedusa. Frontex has now taken over operations for this ongoing task. The EU’s policy seems to be to deny refugees entry and to turn the EU into a fortress. This fortress will refuse refugees entry and send them back to the country where they came from, or alternatively, if they reach EU territory, the first country they entered. Frontex’s performance is measured on how effectively it can prevent asylum seekers and refugees from entering EU territory. However, its declared aim is to control migration rather than preventing it. The EU launched a 340 million euro program last year to monitor its borders with satellites and drones.
The Der Spiegel article goes on to note that The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), estimated that 50 million people were displaced last year, the largest number since World War II. Countries like Lebanon and Jordan have disproportionally more Syrian refugees than the EU and are in danger of being swamped as the fighting in Syria and Iraq are likely to increase. The UNHCR is currently seeking to resettle 94,000 refugees from war torn and deprived countries. Der Spiegel also points out that the United States of America has agreed to take 50,000 refugees for resettlement but that the EU has so far taken just over 5,000 and Germany has taken only 300.
A back log of migrants is being created in countries like Libya, Greece, Turkey, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. In Calais, the mayor threatened to shut down the port unless the United Kingdom (UK) took effective measures to deal with illegal immigration and reduce benefits for illegal immigrants. The UK government has subsequently reduced benefits for non EU migrants.
The Der Spiegel article also mentions the abuse of refugees by police in Turkey, Greece, Serbia and Morocco. Given the sheer number of migrants involved and the lack of facilities, this abuse is not surprising. The article sites the area around Melilla, Morocco, and the incident involving nearly 800, mostly African, migrants attempted to storm the razor wire fence. King Mohammed VI instructed the Moroccan government to facilitate the granting of residency to migrants without papers. According to the Moroccan government, there are 25,000 to 40,000 in Morocco. This facilitation of granting residency would allow the immigrants to legally settle and find jobs in Morocco.
This resettlement of refugees seems to be the only solution to the mounting problem of vast numbers of desperate people. The ultimate answer is for better economic conditions to prevail in their respective countries of origin, but this is a long term solution. This appalling, suffering of masses of people, threatens the security and stability of many societies. Terrorists and other nefarious groups benefit financially from people trafficking. Meanwhile, war in Iraq and Syria threatens to increase the flow of refugees.
This vast displaced people crisis, which is being felt worldwide, requires a determined action from the developed world. All must rise up against this inhumanity, even as a new war against terror gets underway bringing with it more distressed and frightened families.
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