Visit ArabTopics.com

Passing the Parcel: The European Union and Refugees in the Mediterranean

The modern UN Refugee Convention is now so flea-bitten it’s been put out to the garbage tip of history.  At least the enthusiastic fleas think so, given their conduct as political representatives across a range of parliaments keen on barbed wired borders and impenetrable defences.  Across Europe, the issue of refugees arriving by sea – in this case, the Mediterranean – has become a matter of games and deflection. Lacking any coherence whatsoever, the approach to certain, designated arrivals is to push them on to the next port in fits of cruel deflection, hoping that the next recipient will give in.  Such conduct demonstrates how states have adopted notions of penalisation and discrimination against the arrival who seeks sanctuary, positions severely in breach of international humanitarian law.

Australia remains the undisputed pioneer in this, at least in the last two decades.  Incapable of establishing a decent environmental policy, hostage to the gunpoint of the mining lobby, and suspicious of enshrined rights, its backwater parliamentarians have been dazzling with other efforts: finding a suitably bestial policy to repel maritime arrivals, for instance.  Boats have been towed back to Indonesia, a country which many of its representatives grudgingly do business with.  People smugglers, the very same ones demonised as “scum” by Australian politicians, have been paid when and where necessary.  A veil of secrecy has been cast with suffocating effect across the operations of the Royal Australian Navy, and criminal provisions have been passed punishing any whistle-blower who dares disclose the nature of operations in the detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island.

Countries hugging the Mediterranean are also attempting to make a dash up the premier league of refugee cruelty.  In January, Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini bellowed in disdain that rescue ships heading to Italy were provocations. “No one will disembark in Italy.”  This has been accentuated by a change in funding policy.  The European Union has distanced itself from the anti-smuggling Operation Sophia, which ran for four years and involved the rescue of thousands of refugees with the use of EU vessels.  Any united front on the part of EU states has effectively collapsed.

Vessels are now being refused docking rights as a matter of course.  Sixty-two migrants on the German rescue ship Alan Kurdi found themselves being refused and moved on.  Having been rescued on April 3 near Libya, the vessel owned by the German non-governmental organisation Sea-Eye faced a rhetoric, and approach, long favoured in the isolated Australian capital of Canberra.  Those attempting to enter the ports of Malta and Italy were initially refused.  To permit them entry would be tantamount to encouraging human trafficking.

It took 10 days of torment before an agreement was struck: the individuals in question would be allowed to reach Valetta in Malta.  As with everything else, political representatives saw a chance to make hay.  Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat claimed a victory in ending the stand-off, scolding conservatives who believed in abortion.  “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.  We are speaking about the same human life, and I can no longer take the hypocrisy in people who have these double standards.”

There was a twist, suggesting that the government could still be selective.  The crew of the Alan Kurdi were refused entry, thereby revealing that Malta was happy to spare the refugee but punish the rescuer.  “We condemn,” a dissatisfied Sea-Eye chairman Gorden Isler claimed, “the abuse of state power and the illegal restriction of our crew members’ freedom, who risked their own health to save lives.”  Captain Werner Czerwinski has proceeded to head to Spain with the express purpose of finding a harbour.  The impediments on its movement have been costly, meaning that it will be unable to embark on its next mission to the central part of the Mediterranean.

A statement from the Maltese government revealed the parcelling scheme: four countries would be involved, divvying out the human misery.  “Through the coordination of the European Commission, with the cooperation of Malta, the migrants on board the NGO vessel Alan Kurdi will be redistributed among four EU states: Germany, France, Portugal and Luxembourg.”  Hardly a stellar outcome, and certainly an ad hoc outcome that bodes ill for any consistency.

“These negotiations,” went a joint statement from Sea-Eye with a host of other rescue organisations, “are illegitimate and unsustainable practices that violate international law, fundamental principles of human rights and disregard the dignity of the rescued.”  The law of the sea, international law more generally speaking, and human rights law, had been flouted in not permitting an immediate disembarkation “at the nearest place of safety.”

The entire system of responding to refugees has become a toxic spread.  Organisations dedicated to the venture of saving potential victims of drowning have been designated a problem as grave as the people they assist.  Those wishing to help are imperilled by the very process of assistance which should be protected by the right to asylum.  There are bureaucratic issues on which waters the refugees might be found in.  Drownings have been inevitable, showing that red tape can be a lethal affair.

In various perverse instances, the rescuers can themselves find themselves facing investigations for actually providing needed assistance.  Miguel Rodan, a Spanish firefighter who found himself helping distressed refugees in June 2017, was duly informed that he, along with his fellow rescuers, were being investigated by officials of the Italian government that they might have been responsible for “facilitating illegal immigration”.

The looming tragedy here is that more numbers are bound to find their way into the waters of the Mediterranean, given the rapid escalation of hostilities in a crippled Libya.  Assessments vary depending on which panicked account is consulted, but a figure of 800,000 migrants has been floated.  The assault on Tripoli by Khalifa Hafter has the potential, according to Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj of the UN-recognised government, to become a “new Syria”, a “war of aggression that will spread its cancer through the Mediterranean, Italy and Europe.”  The language is crudely apt: refugees as a cancerous spread; Europe’s response, a chemotherapeutic, if inconsistent harsh counter.

Source: 
Dissident Voice

Dear friends of this aggregator

  • Yes, I intentionally removed Newsbud from the aggregator on Mar 22.
  • Newsbud did not block the aggregator, although their editor blocked me on twitter after a comment I made to her
  • As far as I know, the only site that blocks this aggregator is Global Research. I have no idea why!!
  • Please stop recommending Newsbud and Global Research to be added to the aggregator.

Support this site

News Sources

Source Items
WWI Hidden History 51
Grayzone Project 219
Pass Blue 240
Dilyana Gaytandzhieva 16
John Pilger 416
The Real News 367
Scrutinised Minds 29
Need To Know News 2739
FEE 4827
Marine Le Pen 383
Francois Asselineau 25
Opassande 53
HAX on 5July 220
Henrik Alexandersson 981
Mohamed Omar 383
Professors Blog 10
Arg Blatte Talar 40
Angry Foreigner 18
Fritte Fritzson 12
Teologiska rummet 32
Filosofiska rummet 115
Vetenskapsradion Historia 162
Snedtänkt (Kalle Lind) 225
Les Crises 2962
Richard Falk 176
Ian Sinclair 112
SpinWatch 61
Counter Currents 10027
Kafila 502
Gail Malone 42
Transnational Foundation 221
Rick Falkvinge 95
The Duran 9971
Vanessa Beeley 143
Nina Kouprianova 9
MintPress 5680
Paul Craig Roberts 1969
News Junkie Post 58
Nomi Prins 27
Kurt Nimmo 191
Strategic Culture 5056
Sir Ken Robinson 25
Stephan Kinsella 101
Liberty Blitzkrieg 859
Sami Bedouin 65
Consortium News 2685
21 Century Wire 3655
Burning Blogger 324
Stephen Gowans 92
David D. Friedman 154
Anarchist Standard 16
The BRICS Post 1519
Tom Dispatch 543
Levant Report 18
The Saker 4462
The Barnes Review 536
John Friend 493
Psyche Truth 160
Jonathan Cook 155
New Eastern Outlook 4195
School Sucks Project 1782
Giza Death Star 1975
Andrew Gavin Marshall 15
Red Ice Radio 623
GMWatch 2375
Robert Faurisson 150
Espionage History Archive 34
Jay's Analysis 1018
Le 4ème singe 90
Jacob Cohen 210
Agora Vox 16272
Cercle Des Volontaires 438
Panamza 2238
Fairewinds 117
Project Censored 987
Spy Culture 556
Conspiracy Archive 77
Crystal Clark 11
Timothy Kelly 583
PINAC 1482
The Conscious Resistance 863
Independent Science News 81
The Anti Media 6738
Positive News 820
Brandon Martinez 30
Steven Chovanec 61
Lionel 298
The Mind renewed 445
Natural Society 2619
Yanis Varoufakis 1028
Tragedy & Hope 122
Dr. Tim Ball 114
Web of Debt 148
Porkins Policy Review 434
Conspiracy Watch 174
Eva Bartlett 618
Libyan War Truth 339
DeadLine Live 1913
Kevin Ryan 64
BSNEWS 2088
Aaron Franz 245
Traces of Reality 166
Revelations Radio News 121
Dr. Bruce Levine 150
Peter B Collins 1620
Faux Capitalism 205
Dissident Voice 11030
Climate Audit 225
Donna Laframboise 453
Judith Curry 1142
Geneva Business Insider 40
Media Monarchy 2440
Syria Report 78
Human Rights Investigation 93
Intifada (Voice of Palestine) 1685
Down With Tyranny 12269
Laura Wells Solutions 44
Video Rebel's Blog 440
Revisionist Review 485
Aletho News 21012
ضد العولمة 27
Penny for your thoughts 3091
Northerntruthseeker 2463
كساريات 37
Color Revolutions and Geopolitics 27
Stop Nato 4724
AntiWar.com Blog 3151
AntiWar.com Original Content 7095
Corbett Report 2417
Stop Imperialism 491
Land Destroyer 1222
Webster Tarpley Website 1118

Compiled Feeds

Public Lists

Title Visibility
Funny Public