Entering Europe Illegally

Even though the main focus of this blog is exalting Africa and making Africans grow together, it is important to spend few words about how illegal migration through Libya is perceived by a large number of Europeans.
Let’s start from the journey!
 More and more people, disenchanted about their lives in their country decide to leave and move to Europe. After trying all possible legal ways without succeeding, they decide to try illegal paths. They give thousands of dollars to criminal organisations and start their long journey. On their way to Libya, many of them are killed, other are sentenced to death in the desert, sexually abused, beaten, arrested, mutilated, left without water or food, forced to sleep standing, suffocated in small containers and so on. Less than half of them are even able to reach Libya and they don’t know that their agony is just starting. They are then arrested by corrupt public officers and abused until their parents are not able to send extra money. In the meanwhile months have passed and even the lives they were dreaming about seems fading away. At last they are “free” to leave Libya, put in extremely overcrowded boats and sent to die in the sea. Their families have already paid for them, there are no extra fees to be charged so no one in the criminal organisation really cares if they arrive safe of not. Then the evening news:  700 migrants sank in the Strait of Sicily. Men, Women, Kids, all dead! 700 lives vanished in a moment.
And what is the answer of Europe? What is the answer of the place where they were hoping to start a new life?
 Indifference! Yes, indifference and happiness. Few people care and show their concern for the issue, some try to make the difference and raise awareness about the suffering of migrants, other care at least for the first week and then nothing; some politicians use this occasion for their propaganda against the European Union, they use it to ask the EU to intervene and change its legislation on who is supposed to answer, they say that the problem is Frontex (I’ll spend a few words on it later on). Other politicians suggest sinking all the ships as soon as they leave Libya or to start a new war. It is important to know that not only the political class miss the point and don’t look like really realising that more than 700 HUMANS have just died. On social medias there are comments like “700 parasites less”, “the entire Africa should sink”, “700 is a small number, at least 7000 or 700000”, “700 terrorists less in the world”. Is this humanity? Is this the place where you want to send your children? Those writing these comments are the same that few months ago where crying for Charlie Hebdo, they were all Charlie. What’s the difference? Easy! They care for Europe and Europeans and little less for Africa. They are not heartless, believe me! They love financing humanitarian NGOs and participating in volunteering summer camps where they can take pictures with children and have their hair done. They surely don’t represent the entire population but they are too many to be ignored.
What about those rescued by Italian authorities? They are sent to the “Immigrant Reception Centre” where they are identified and kept till the State decide of their lives. A few percentage of those asking for a staying permit really receives it after years of burocracy, the others are sent back to their countries. What Africans don’t know is that according to the EU law, YOU are the problem of the first arrival territory, Yes, you can’t enter Italy and then ask for your permit in another member state. This is how Dublin II works, how border Member States have been left alone to face the problem of migration.
 
 
An insight on the EU migration framework
Dublin II Regulation:  as it is written in the text, the aim of this regulation is “establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country or a stateless person (recast)”. With this regulation, a European platform, Eurodac, has been created; it is a database with finger prints and information of every asylum seeker so that the police can see if a request has already been fostered in another Member State.
 
Frontex: this is the European agency that deals with border management; it is responsible for developing common training standards and it assists member states.  In the official website it is written that “Frontex’s role focuses on coordination of deployment of additional experts and technical equipment to those border areas which find themselves under significant pressure. Frontex also builds the capacity of the member states in various areas related to border control”.
 
As it is understandable, while Member States expect the EU to intervene, the latter just pronounce itself on standards and training, no one is wishing to be in charge of the operations. This is why tragedies are still happening, because an effective action is missing and those with the power to intervene are not, expecting someone else to do it.
 
Final considerations:
Africa has lost more than 900 citizens in the last 2 days and no one knows how many others in the past months during their journey. I think we all have a moral responsibility in trying to stop this type of tragedies. We will never discover how many possible innovators died, how many brilliant students, how many “hopes” for their family and for the entire continent died in the strait.
We should all try to build a better future for Africans, a future where travelling to Europe, America or elsewhere is just for studies, hobbies and business meetings and not the last opportunity. I don’t think that in more than 54 States we, growing Africans, are not able to work together and start boosting prosperity.
 I believe than we can make it, we just have to believe in ourselves and work hard.
 
Thank you for reading,
Feel free to share it
Ada Ugo Abara
 
Info on Dublin II and Frontex:
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2013:180:0031:0059:EN:PDF
 
http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/justice_freedom_security/free_movement_of_persons_asylum_immigration/l33153_en.htm
 
http://frontex.europa.eu/about-frontex/mission-and-tasks/

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