Migration is not a new phenomenon. Since the time of mystical gods, people migrated from one place to another place for food, shelter and better life. If it wouldn’t have been the case our civilization might had still centred in Africa. From time to time in history, people went to the distant lands to start a new life, sometimes to get rid from the harsh condition at home country or to save themselves from an epidemic. There is a basic tendency in human to move closer to the ‘good’.
The forced migration of Jews from Germany during the Second World War was the one of the first forced migration. The recent European Migration Crisis is becoming acute given thousands and thousands of people are trying to reach Europe. European leaders are having different opinions on this issue. Many will agree that Europe should do more but how much more until they absorb all the asylum seekers or till the civil war stops in these countries. There is also a large section of European feel that why only Europe will accept migrants what about other developed countries.
There are some questions which seeks better explanation: whom to blame? Is this only the responsibility of European countries? What about the Gulf countries? Is this time for the Middle East/West Asian countries for introspection? Why there is a lack of coordination among world powers about tackling this situation? The deeper one goes, more questions appear on the surface.
The world was taken aback when a Syrian toddler was washed away on the Turkish beach, when his family was attempting to flee to Europe by boat, capsized at sea. The people all around the world gave a united voice to stop this desperate attempts and asked European countries to accommodate these refugees. It has become a daily phenomenon at Hungarian railway station – overcrowded trains in Budapest. People are sleeping on sidewalks and floors. Most of the Syrians take the route of Turkey to reach Greece and if someone looks at the already financially troubled nation, one can see only tents at public places. More and more people from Bangladesh, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Afghanistan and African countries are desperately trying to reach a better place where they can live without the sounds of gunfire and bomb-shieling. Whatever the routes they take, the destination remains the same. This perilous attempts has already taken thousands of lives. However, it’s interesting that most of the refugees prefer Germany than any other country.
Why people are taking dangerous routes to reach Europe?
Today, more than 19 million people have been forced to flee their home countries due to civil wars, terrorism, persecution, and oppression. Roughly, 43,000 people daily join this treacherous journey. However, the current situation has become so acute due to mainly “Syrian Crisis”. Civil war in Syria since 2011 has taken a million of lives and many now accept that they don’t have a future anymore in their own country. People are fleeing their homes also indicates a volatile situation in Middle East states are at the edge of failing. Similarly, peoples from Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and Middle East countries are heading to Europe in a hope for better life.
What are the response of European countries?
There is a huge disagreement among European leaders on how to stanch the refugee’s flows. With pressure building on European countries to accept more and more migrants, some countries have recently announced to accept them. French President Francois Hollande on Monday announced that his country would take in 24000 asylum seekers over two years. Similarly, British PM David Cameroon said his country would accept 20000 refugees from Syria over the next five years.
Germany by far will accept refugees more than the combined effort of all the European countries is playing a leading role. German chancellor Angela Merkel announced that Germany would allow 800,000 asylum requests this year which will cost more than 11 billion dollars to this country.
Except Germany, all other European countries are not very enthusiastic to accept a large number of asylum seekers or refugees. But the big announcement of Germany has put pressure at others to follow the suit. After all, European Union which has long held its commitment to human rights, how would they justify if people keep dying at their shores. So, EU is in under pressure to act not by its will but more for the values it has practiced for a long time.
European nations are also fearing that it can also give rise to fascism. As on Monday, there were two fires at the accommodation centre for asylum seekers in Germany, police confirmed that it was politically motivated. The Prime Minister of Hungary repeatedly stressed that his nation has the right to protect its Christian traditions by refusing to accept large number of Muslims and they don’t deserve asylum. Mr. Cameroon and Ms. Merkel few years back said that multiculturalism had utterly failed in Europe. Their indication was simply towards one of the fastest growing community.
Even German people feel that if this number of migrants are provided shelter in their country, the wages will go down and there will be tough competition in the market. According to Robert Peston (Economics Editor at BBC), Germany needs migrants because its population is shrinking and to sustain their industry, they need it more than any other nation in Europe.
Presently, there can’t be a better news for the refugees that European door has been partially opened. According to a report on The Wall Street Journal : “a number of Syrians who didn’t want to risk what they had until now, decided that the potential benefits are outweighing the risks”. Some experts suggest that it might not be a good news for the Europe as more and more people will take the risks to reach this continent after the announcement of acceptance of refugees by European leaders. Until and unless the conflicts in Middle East countries come to a halt, people will keep taking these dangerous routes in order to seek a better life.
Why Gulf countries are not opening their doors?
According to EU Commissioner of Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenships Dimitris Avramopoulos, Europe was now facing its worst refugee crisis since World War Second. As only Germany has agreed to accept migrants at larger scale, the problem will remain at its place until and unless more countries come forward.
There has been a growing anger against the rich Gulf States especially Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the UAE as they have kept themselves aloof from this situation. Despite the heavy criticism, these sates have not done anything significantly for Syrian refugees. It is well known that these states are rich enough to provide assistance to few thousands. Some experts argue that Gulf States are in fear that if they allow, it will imbalance their ‘delicate demographic balance’. These states also held west responsible for this situation as they argue that Western leaders delayed response against the Assad regime in Syria has created this messy condition.
At the pace the migrants are waiting at European borders, probably, despite the capabilities of European countries they won’t accept the migrants at the rate what is required. There are few European countries who have agreed to provide asylum and others feel that Europe is not responsible for this problem than how it can be blamed? There is a need of comprehensive mechanism at the world level to address this problem. The Syrian and Iraqi problem should be resolved as soon as possible otherwise the migration will continue to reach to Europe. European nations which have already seen a rise in extreme right might become a volatile place for multiculturalism. The Middle East countries may need an introspection in what needs to be done in order to stop migration.