Kingston mouth is of the opinion that the recent focus on unjust demonising and militarising of the EU Refugee Crisis is for self-serving and damaging purposes. In response, we believe that refugees should be afforded the full cloak of International Humanitarian law; they must be treated in light of their hardship and suffering and every effort should be made to protect their human dignity. In Europe many refugees are used as baits by the far Right parties to stoke up hatred and political discontent. We believe that there is no honour in the act of receiving political rewards at the expense of other people’s pain and suffering.
Currently, about 14,000 migrants and refugees are trapped in Idomeni on the Greek side of the Macedonian border, after the Macedonian authorities allow just a handful to enter each day. The media has documented several cases of refugees being beaten at a border crossing by Macedonian Police who have denied the incidents. As the scamper by civilians into Syria fleeing the civil war continues, incidents like this will become more prevalent. The crisis that began in 2015 is the greatest refugee crisis since the Second World War. We know from UN reports that more than 1 million refugees and migrants crossed the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe in 2015. Since the beginning of the year another 135,000 refugees and migrants crossed the Mediterranean Sea with 93% of them arriving in Greece.
Turkey, a country outside of the EU, is currently host to 2.7 million Syrian refugees and the number is increasing. In addition, there are already 1.3 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Under pressure from the inflow of refugees the European Union has adopted a confused response. Member states have been asked to accept refugees, criminalising migrants, militarising border controls, and outsourcing the problem by paying non-EU states such as Turkey who have atrocious human rights record.
The current population of the EU is about 508.2 million people distributed over 28 member states. It is a difficult for a fragile European union emerging from a recession to take on an estimated 5 million refugees. This humanitarian burden has to be shared with the world family of nations. The EU union spawn a number of far Right parties from member states. These include the National Democratic Party (Germany), Golden Dawn (Greece), and the Danish People’s Party (Denmark), UKIP (UK) National Front (France) and the AFD (Germany).The current loss of support for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling Conservatives this weekend to the anti-immigrant Alternative Für Deutschland (AFD) party in three key state elections was seen as a referendum on her ‘open door’ refugee policy. She was chastised by the German people for allowing more than a million migrants to enter the country last year. This result will no doubt ferment discontent within Ms Merkel’s party and force a change of strategy on refugee policy if she is to survive politically at the next General Election in Germany.
The present refugee crisis, more than any other single issue, is threatening to fragment the European Union. It has been used by far right parties in Europe to trigger the call for in out referendums across the European Union. Kingston mouth is of the opinion that at the next election of the European Parliament the composite of the parliament might change with these far Right parties seeking to form small coalition groupings and assert their influence. Currently, for such political grouping to be formed in the European Parliament there need to be 25 MEPs from seven or more different states. This could change in future, as the refugee scaremongering, together with dissatisfaction with the current EU migration policy has caused an area of convergence by far right parties across the EU.
Meanwhile, back in the UK, the pending in out referendum on Europe labelled the ‘Brexit’ is shaping up to be a scaremongering summit on European immigrants and refugees. It has brought together the most unlikely of political bedfellows. Consider that Right wing Nigel Farage (UKIP), George Galloway left Wing (Respect) and Boris Johnson Mayor of London and (Conservative MP) are sharing a stage together to convince us to get out of Europe! In response we might begin to believe comedian Russell Brand that there is a crisis of confidence in the democratic process. Across the Atlantic, Donald Trump’s hatred for Muslims, Blacks, Mexicans and Syrian Refugees is hardly encouraging for the future of refugees fleeing war in Syria and seeking a safe haven in a modern democracy. In his campaign to the Republican presidential candidate the hate bating of immigrants and refugees has hit a new low. A Donald Trump xenophobic tirade has made America an unwittingly unwelcome place to discuss sensitive Humanitarian issues.
The move to ‘weaponise’ the refugee crisis is a bad move by Russia and American allies who are fighting in Syria. Already five million refugees have fled the conflict torn areas. United States General Philip Breedlove, a senior NATO commander in Europe has accused Russia of ‘weaponising’ this crisis and the same can be said of the NATO alliance. The only lasting solution to this refugee crisis is to encourage a speedy diplomatic resolution of the issue in Syria. The Syrian war has triggered a rehash of the cold war between Russia and the West; the only beneficiaries being the military industrial complex and extreme right wing parties in Europe. This war has spawned massive infrastructural damage and the displacement of families who are experiencing immeasurable trauma and displacement. Asking Turkey to secure refugees fleeing Syria is a bad move by the EU. Would you ask bank robbers to secure a bank? The President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoganis in the process of stoking up a civil war with the Kurds and his human rights record is atrocious.
Finally, we at Kingston- Mouth seek an amicable solution to the refugee crisis, not a problematizing of the issue. At the heart of this crisis is human suffering. UN Resolution2198 (XX1) together with the 1951 Refugee Convention explicitly outlines how refugees should be treated along with States parities obligations to them. There are over 148 state parties’ signatures to this treaty, fully recognized in international law. It is immoral and opportunistic for the current refugee crisis to be politicised. Right wing Politicians with a hate mongering agenda should not secure paid jobs in the European Parliament as a result of this issue. Neither should fat cat arms dealers lick their chops and ratchet up their bank accounts from peoples misery. Let’s all work towards ending the war in Syria; it is a soul shattering experience for the innocent refugees fleeing the conflict. The rights of every citizen are diminished when the rights of one refugee is threatened.
This article was written by Donovan Reynolds CEO and edited by Ann Smith Managing Editor of Kingstonmouth .com. Donovan Reynolds is an Independent Blogger and Human Rights Activists who is of a Jamaican descent and a legal academic that has an interest in Human Rights, Culture and International Development Issues.