Monday, June 20, 2016

DESPERATE JOURNEY - Europe's Migrant Crisis

"Problems driving migrant crisis persist, but the welcome mat has been rolled back" PBS NewsHour 6/16/2016


SUMMARY:  The EU deal with Turkey to stem the tide of migrants crossing the Aegean Sea has seen more and more asylum seekers flocking to the western Mediterranean, with deadly results.  More than 1,000 have drowned there in the past several weeks, and the ones that do succeed face an uncertain future.  Gwen Ifill talks to Amin Awad of the UN refugee agency for more on how Europe is combating the crisis.

GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  Mr. Awad, welcome.

On this program, we have seen the terrible stories of the hundreds of thousands of refugees coming, especially from the Mideast and Africa, trying to get to Greece, trying to get to Turkey, trying to get into Europe.

Has that problem, has it gotten worse or gotten better since this whole crisis began?

AMIN AWAD, Director for Middle East and N. Africa Bureau, UNHCR:  I think this problem of migrants and refugees and secondary movement is persisting.

I wouldn’t say it’s getting better or it’s getting worse, simply because the conditions that people are fleeing are getting worse.  The serious situation is not better than it was before.  Cessation of hostilities ended.  The resumption of fighting continued.  And as a result, people are fleeing.

The poverty and impoverishment that people fleeing sub-Saharan Africa continue to persist.  There isn’t a south-north collaboration, as used to be before.  People are fearing — fleeing Niger, where there is conflict.  There is poverty.  And they seek opportunity, new places, market and labor and mobility.

And some of them are fleeing conflict, coming from East Africa, the Horn of Africa, or the central part of Africa or the western part of Africa.  So the root causes for flight are still there.  And the world has to come up with more mechanisms and better mechanisms to tackle the root causes of these conflicts or poverty.

GWEN IFILL: So the root causes are still there, but the welcome mat is not there anymore.  In fact, it’s certainly not there in Turkey, and it’s certainly not there in Germany like it once was.  So how does that affect the flow?

AMIN AWAD:  People — the flow will persist.  People will continue to try all they can to make it to safety, to make it to better places, to find opportunity or protection.

If the welcoming mat is not there, then there ought to be equal investment in the communities where conflicts are and where poverty is, and try to stem the flow in a more dynamic and cooperative manner.

But you also have to uphold all international instruments, the international protection, international national refugee law, the international human rights law.  We have to rally around these and similar, because that’s what makes the world also orderly.

No comments: