Europe Spends Millions of Euros on ‘Toxic’ Legislature to Turn Refugees Back to War-torn and Famine Riddled Countries
Driven out by political conflict, social upheaval, civil unrest, economic hardships and food insecurity, refugees from Africa have been thronging to Europe. Resembling the 2015-2016 refugee crisis, Europe has recorded a major increase in applications for international protection over the last 12 months.
This week, hundreds of refugees drowned off the coast of Greece – this is now being documented as the one of the worst and most shocking refugee-related tragedies in Europe of the past few decades. This tragedy once again brought up the necessity for border control.
Perils of the Journey
Time and again refugees take to the world’s deadliest routes and crossings for a better live. Whether its making it across the treacherous waters of the Mediterranean Sea in a wooden boat or burning desert sands, these refugees take the risk. They face extreme temperatures, desert crossings, and perilous sea voyages, most often in overcrowded and unsafe vessels with children. Countless lives are lost along the way as migrants fall victim to drowning, dehydration and human trafficking.
One of the most notorious route is Niger, riddled with criminal networks and human smugglers who exploit vulnerable migrants, and subject them to physical and emotional abuse. The smugglers operate with impunity, capitalizing on the desperation of those seeking a better life.
Julia Black, who works with the Missing Migrants project, highlighted the true number of deaths in the desert remains unknown. They recorded 212 deaths in the Sahara in 2022. She said deaths during trans-Saharan migration remain largely invisible, as documenting deaths in an area as vast and inhospitable as the Sahara is inherently a huge challenge.
But the inhumane policies of European nations further exacerbate the plight of migrants. In the last few years, European countries have spent millions of euros to divert refugees away. One recent example is UK sealing a deal with Rwanda. The UK government wants to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. It believes this will deter people arriving in the UK through illegal, dangerous, or unnecessary methods, such as small boats which cross the English Channel.
Italy, with Libya, intercepts boats and returns migrants and asylum seekers to abuse in that country. It often delays disembarkments in Italy from NGO rescue ships. The Italian government, as per Human Rights Watch, renewed funding for Libya in July 2022 for migration controls.
And then there is the EU-Turkey deal which was signed back in 2016. According to the deal, Turkey would take any measures necessary to stop people traveling irregularly from Turkey to the Greek Islands, anyone who arrived on the islands irregularly from Turkey could be returned. Turkey would receive € Billion to improve the humanitarian situation faced by refugees in the country, and Turkish nationals would enjoy visa-free travel to Europe.
Fail to Address Root Causes
These policies stop the refugees, but do not address the root causes that force people to migrate in the first place. Experts believe sustainable development aid, conflict resolution, and fair trade practices can play a significant role in alleviating the conditions that drive migration.
It is important for the international community to support African nations in their efforts to achieve stability, economic growth, and good governance. These factors are crucial in reducing migration. A comprehensive and compassionate approach is needed. European nations must prioritize the establishment of safe and legal migration channels, offer viable alternatives to the dangerous routes migrants undertake.
Europeans governments should invest in asylum systems, processing centers, and resettlement programs to ensure that people have access to international protection without risking their lives.