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The East African : Sep 12th 2015
The EastAfrican OUTLOOK SEPTEMBER 12-18,2015 ing centre.” Both migrants and relief groups were reporting harsh treatment and a hostile reception from the border authorities. On the Serbian side, officials temporarily blocked at least some trains headed north, amid numerous reports of the police demanding bribes to allow the migrants to pass. Photos on social media from the new camp showed the police with dogs guarding a desolate compound surrounded by high fences. Omar Hadad, 24, from Daraa, Syria, had been at a nearby camp along the border before he was shifted Sunday to one west of Budapest, in the town of Bicske. “The Hungarian police came res So far this year 366,402 2,800 80% dead/missing arrivals by sea of arrivals come from the top 10 refugee-producing countries Demographics 75% Men 12 Women 13 Children into the camp and they beat me with batons,” he said of his time in the holding centre near the Serbian border. He peeled off his socks to show a bruised foot and leg. Journalists were not allowed into the Bicske camp, but the migrants could come out or speak across the entrance gate. Several other migrants rushed toward Hadad when they saw him displaying his wounds. “Here, here, look,” said Salam Dead/missing per year 02 1,000 2,000 3,000 5* sher laws nt of refur helping er Viktor a fight for nst a Mus- 0 20 2010 11 12 13 14 2015* lim surge. The new camp in Roszke was being called a “reception centre” by Hungarian officials, though the police on the scene referred to it as an “alien hold- 2,800 Barajakly, a student from Damascus who began counting off the wounds and scars on his arms, legs and neck that he said he had got on the journey to Hungary, some by accident, some from the police, some from crawling under razor-wire fences. Two men held out smart- phones showing videos of the camp where they had been held near the Serbian border. Hundreds of people squatted in the dust while the police tossed sandwiches and bottles of water to them over a barbed-wire fence. “Like a zoo,” Hadad said. “Like we are dogs.” By Rick Lyman and Alison Smale New York Times News Service Five ways the continent can deal with the ≥aging ≥efugee c≥isis By MICHAEL BIRNBAUM The Washington Post AMID THE largest refugee crisis in Europe since the Balkan Wars of the 1990s, a tide of thousands of asylum-seekers is reaching the continent’s shores faster than they can be accommodated. So far, the European Union’s 28 nations have been unable to agree on a solution. Here are a few of the options Europe is considering: to share out refugees earlier in the summer. At the time, they were talking about only 40,000 people. But that failed after many countries, especially in Eastern and Central Europe, bridled at being required to take in a set number of refugees. Now the proposal is expected to be triple that — amid deep doubts about nations’ ability to come to an agreement. Pros: Few, but that does not 1. mean it won’t happen. Each European leader answers to his or her own electorate, which sometimes makes broad EU deals very difficult. The status quo is good for countries that don’t like refugees and under current EU rules can deport asylum-seekers back to the first EU country they entered. Cons: “If Europe fails on the question of refugees, then it won’t be the Europe we wished for,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has thrown open her nation’s doors to asylum-seekers. She warned that without a Europe-wide plan, individual nations may need to reimpose border controls, a major blow to European unity. And with some nations far more generous to refugees than others, human smugglers will prosper. 2. Quotas European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker suggests relocating 160,000 asylumseekers from the front-line nations of Greece, Italy and Hungary and spreading them across Europe. Together, Germany, France and Spain would take more than half of them. The remainder would be spread across the rest of Europe. Pros: It would help reduce the The need today is for more unity, a coher- ent immigration policy among the 28 members, and renewal of the maligned European idea. As Laura Boldrini, speaker of the lower house of the Italian parliament, put it to me: “When the Mediterranean is a cemetery, we need a Europe 2.0. Nobody can love this Europe today. It is time for a renewed push for a United States of Europe.” Refugees from the Middle East at Keleti railway station in Budapest, Hungary. Picture: AFP burden on those three European nations that are on the edges of the European Union and have buckled under the weight of asylum-seekers. And though the proposal would fall far short of the numbers needed to address the full scale of the problem, it would still set up a system that could later be expanded. Nations that have resisted hosting refugees, such as Slovakia, may send money instead as a compromise measure. Cons: It is a drop in the bucket. Germany plans to take in 800,000 asylum-seekers this year, and says it’s ready for 500,000 a year for the next several years. Facing those numbers, the EU plan simply doesn’t do enough. And there are many thorny questions to work out: Doing nothing Europe tried to make a plan 25 Refugees are escorted by policemen as they walk on the railway tracks next to a train near Szeged town close to the Hungarian-Serbian border. Pic: AFP What happens when an asylumseeker who has family in France gets assigned to Lithuania instead? In a Europe without borders, how would policymakers ensure the refugees stay put? And what happens to asylum-seekers who arrive beyond the quotas? Do they pile up in refugee camps on Europe’s edges, or do they simply keep pushing through to Western Europe? And many nations, especially in Eastern and Central Europe, are opposed to quotas. 3. Military action against smugglers who help refugees get to Europe Britain and others have been pushing for UN Security Council authorisation to deploy navies to board and intercept the flimsy boats that set sail across the Mediterranean from Libya and Egypt to Europe’s shores. The boats, operated by human smugglers, are dangerous, frequently sinking during the passage. More than 2,700 migrants have died this year. Pros: The plan would discourage the smugglers, who often have ties to organised crime and profit tremendously from the some of the world’s most vulnerable populations. Fewer boats crossing the Mediterranean would reduce the immediate crisis for Europe and might discourage some of the economic migrants coming illegally from Africa and South Asia. And a stepped-up naval presence in the Mediterranean may make search-and-rescue operations more successful when smugglers’ ships capsize. Cons: Stopping smugglers does not address the root causes of the refugee crisis. It just displaces the burden to other countries. And in some ways, these plans are a solution to yesterday’s problem. Over the course of this year, the bulk of migrant traffic to Europe has We want to encourage people not to make that dangerous crossing.” David Cameron, British PM shifted westward to the Balkans: asylum-seekers make a short sea hop from Turkey to nearby Greek islands, then travel to Western Europe overland through Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary. The naval plans wouldn’t do anything about that at all. 4. Resettling refugees directly from camps surrounding Syria, and from Syria Remember Schindler’s List? Or the US efforts to resettle refugees from Vietnam in the 1970s? This would be the 21st-century equivalent, more or less — EU diplomats handing out visas in the countries where more than 4 million Syrian refugees have settled. Pros: This is the most humane option, since it would make an endrun around smugglers. Refugees could simply get on a plane from Turkey, Lebanon or Jordan and fly straight to Europe, saving the danger of a smuggled, overland trip that sometimes costs up to $10,000. It’s what British Prime Minister David Cameron suggested last Monday, when he said Britain would take in 20,000 Syrian refugees directly from the Middle Eastern camps over the next five years. “We want to encourage people not to make that dangerous crossing in the first place,” Cameron said. Cons: Realistically, there is little political support in Europe to do this on a scale that would actually relieve pressure on the camps. Cameron’s commitment over the next five years is equivalent to what Germany took in last weekend alone. And it’s not clear that handing out visas in the region would stop the separate overland flow to Europe. 5. Bring peace to Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Eritrea Those are the conflict-ridden countries that are supplying the bulk of the asylum-seekers to Europe. If there wasn’t violence there, Europe wouldn’t have a refugee problem. Pros: Everyone is happy. Cons: Not going to happen any time soon.
Sep 5th 2015
Sep 19th 2015