The refugee conundrum

The crisis in Libya is not restricted to its territorial borders. It has just spillover and is now an inevitable concern of humanitarian order for Europe and neighbouring countries in the Middle East and Africa.

The influx of refugees has turned into a diplomatic embarrassment for many of the southern European and Mediterranean states. The case has been well pointed out by Amnesty International and other aid agencies that say that hundreds of thousands are languishing in a despicable state, and countries that take pride in humanitarian gestures are least bothered over their fate. These refugees encompass political activists as well as people who now fear victimisation at the hands of the new order in Tripoli. At the same time, there is no dearth of opportunists in their rank and file who had made use of this diaspora excuse for the betterment of their fortune in the greener pastures of Europe. All this goes on to establish that the human displacement knocking on the doors of Europe is in need of being attended to in a passionate political and humane manner, and ensure that the genuinely distressed are taken on board as per the norms and laws of rehabilitation.

This crisis has come for Europe at a time when it is squeezed in a crippling financial crunch and is on the verge of reconsidering its liberal policies as far as trade, travel and tourism are concerned. The prima facie decision on the part of the European Union to bolster security measures and ensure that its porous borders do not become a haven for trespassers and sneakers is a case in point. Subsequently, the unwelcome approach that is being heralded to non-whites is not only questionable but also raises issues of cooperation and interdependence in the long run. Thus the snap checks and restrictions that have become modus operandi in many of the countries of the 27-member European Union will come to test the resilience of people who one way or the other have made it into the continent. Italy, France, Germany and the periphery states can do well by coming to the rescue of people who for reasons of proximity have crossed over into Europe. Expelling or quarantining them would not help.

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