European Leaders Blamed For Refugee Deaths In The Mediterranean


 

According to The Independent, England, and other European countries have impacted the refugee crisis more negatively by forcing people, who are escaping conflict and persecution, to undertake dangerous journeys.

In particular, a report by the Unraveling the Mediterranean Migration Crisis (MEDMIG) project, declared that the strict refusals to open up legal routes for those seeking refuge in Europe have increased demand for smuggling people on ever more dangerous routes.

Despite the refusals, many refugees are driven in small and less seaworthy boats to cross the Mediterranean, which has lead to an estimated 4,000 deaths, which is the deadliest year every for refugees.

Professor Heaven Crawley, an author of the report from Coventry University’s Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations suggested that politicians have been “wantonly ignoring” the reality of the crisis to maintain ill-informed government positions. “The problem is there’s a huge political agenda around migration, so more pragmatic of effective alternatives are being overridden by political aspirations of leaders across the EU,” she said. “They’ve backed themselves into a political corner where it’s very difficult to do anything else.”

Professor Crawley stated that the UK’s initial refusal to resettle refugees who had already crossed into Europe was “appalling” as an estimated 60,000 migrants remain trapped in Greece alone.

“All that response does is reinforce some of the perceptions that if you’re a ‘proper’ or ‘genuine’ refugee you stay in a camp and wait for however long it takes to be rescued, and those who make it to the EU are punished,” she added. “Families find that inconceivable.”

Additionally, the report found that European operations, such as border closures and the tightening of asylum regulation in numerous countries were directly driving refugees into their hands, with every single one reporting that they have used smugglers throughout their journey.

Dr. Franck Duvell, from the Centre on Migration Policy and Society at the University of Oxford, said: “EU politicians and policy makers have repeatedly declared they are ‘at war’ with the smugglers and that they intend to ‘break the smugglers business model.’

“The evidence from our research suggests that smuggling is driven, rather than broken, by EU policy. The closure of borders seems likely to have significantly increased the demand for, and use of, smugglers – who have become the only option for those unable to leave their countries or enter countries in which protection might potentially be available to them.”

The report also revealed that 10 refugees, who were interviewed in Greece, attempted to find a legal method to enter Europe, but failed, which lead to potential deadly routes that often cost more than a legal journey.

Tamana Mirzada

Tamana Mirzada is a recent communications graduate from Macquarie University. She is passionate about storytelling and writing and interested in social cohesion issues with a strong emphasis on human rights.