These days, the politics of Europe and America seems to be conquered by an overwhelming talks about the pros and cons of the ongoing massive migration of refugees and the policy and practical reactionary solutions that the continent needs to setup. What is more dismaying is the fact that Europe as a continent, and each host States _ except the few ones_ are doing little, if not none at all. With due respect to all welcoming and cordial parties, still some, including those distinguished public and political figures_ who were supposed to have a genial know how of the fundamental rights of every refugee and the international law-based obligation of the nation and the people whom they claim to represent_ are disseminating provocative and calumniating thoughts.
The apparent campaign seems a call for constructing boarder walls, languishing and freezing freedom of movement, and smearing and disgracing the continental Europe and global-based political and institutional arrangements like those of the European Union, the United Nation and the specific departments working on the issue. There is an ostensible perception of adjudging the refugee population, in a mass, as a threat to the security of the continent. The movement of the people is hastily regarded as a heavenly route for terrorists while the factual terrorist incidents that happened in the recent past Europe were actually homegrown, masterminded by perpetrators from within.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the largest share of the refugee population migrating to Europe are coming from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Eritrea _ Countries, located in the region where war and internal conflict have, mostly been a consistent and blatant tragedy mainly since the last five years. Nevertheless, it was only in the last six months, that the number of refugees crossing to the boarders of Europe have increased massively compared with the statistics before.
Even with such staggering upturn, there still remains plenty of questions that Europe as a continent and its member States and the people therein need to genuinely pore over.
The basic issues include inter alia: What triggered the mammoth increase of refugees crossing to Europe mainly from Syria and Iraq? How much portion out of the total worldwide refugee population is Europe hosting and accommodating? How would the maximum refugee- native people ratio look like had there been a whole European Union member states-inclusive mechanism of distributing refugees? Would boarder fences be the best solutions for the concern of security? Would a closed door policy against Muslims _ as what the so called ‘PEGIDA’ movement is campaigning for _ make Europe a terror free continent?
Despite the war in Syria and Iraq started back 5 years ago, it has been only in the last six months that civilians began to wander to Europe in higher scale beyond what the later has experienced before. As well described by UN High Commissioner to the Refugees, Antonio Guterres, three factors have triggered Syrians to leave their home soil. Firstly, the international Community’s failure to venture a political solution and handle the ongoing war has eroded their hope that they have had for a while. Secondly, the living conditions in the neighboring countries, where most of them have been sheltering is massively deteriorating so that they are forced to strive further for survival. The shocking reality that 87% and 93% of Syrians living below poverty line, both in Jordan and Lebanon, respectively, reckons how scandalous their life has been. More dreadfully, international aid dropped dramatically by 30% and it has left all the food, health, and other services for Syrian refugees unattainable. They cannot work as they are refugees. With this hopeless life, and with the feeling that the world is abandoning them, it was not a matter of choice to move further than dyeing alive.
Even with this radical increase, contrary to what is rottenly propagated by many, what has made it difficult to manage the situation in Europe is not because of the prodigiousness of the one million refugee population entering into the continent. It was and it is rather the disfranchised, unprepared, divided, and chaotic reaction forwarded by European states, exposing the degree of their solidarity and failure to recognize the reality. Out of the total estimated 550 million worldwide refugee population, it is about a million that the continent is not ready to accommodate for. If Europe was able to manage it properly, it would be maximum of 1 refugee per 2000 native inhabitants. In Lebanon for example, this ratio is 3 Lebanon to 1 refugee, indicating that every family with three members is accommodating 1 refugee.
There has to be no doubt that all the refugees have the right to international protection and international refugee law unequivocally obliges states to ensure such an international obligation, jointly as a global community and independently as individual duty bearer. Surprisingly, it is the least developing countries that are accommodating 86 % of the total refugee population. It is then the remaining 14% that the rest but the wealthiest nations of the world are hesitating to handle. So, the challenge is not the massive number of people crossing the border of Europe. It is rather the political, social, organizational, and attitudinal readiness that the continent and its people need to work on so that Europe would be capable enough to comply with its international responsibility without destabilizing its economic, political or cultural identity. We have to make sure that our people are aware of the reality, not what we want them to know just for the sake of some unfounded political gains.
Therefore, We, as a Human Rights Matter, are deeply concerned about views aspiring for an isolated and homogenized Europe, as an island closing all its entries to the so called ‘outsiders’ _ a proposition which will never uphold the better of its future. HRM strongly believes that Europe and its people needs to adopt the “people to the people” policy. It is going to be an inevitable reality that the world, so does Europe, will remain as a home for multi-religious, multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic, and multi-cultural society.