Refugees are not the problem, but those who turned them into pawns and a bargaining chip for their geopolitical objectives
AKEL on the refugee and immigration issue
AKEL C.C. Press Office, 4th March 2020, Nicosia
The drama of the refugees is once again being exploited by the Erdogan government at a time when the hypocrisy of the EU has reached astonishing heights. The perpetrators of the bloodshed in Syria and throughout the Middle East have turned refugees into pawns and a bargaining chip to serve their geopolitical objectives. AKEL makes it clear that our enemy is not the refugees, but precisely those who are causing the refugees and uprooting the peoples.
The EU had an involvement – at times a leading role as well – in the military interventions and wars conducted throughout the whole region which have provoked the uprooting of the peoples and turning millions of people into refugees. For some years now, however, it has left only a few countries to assume full responsibility for hosting the refugees, given that Right-wing EU governments are preventing the implementation of a refugee system to host refugees in all member states without exception according to their capabilities and population size. At the same time the Dublin Regulation is trapping refugees in the states of first arrival, namely in the countries of the southern Mediterranean. As for the EU-Turkey Agreement on the refugee issue, in reality, it is an unethical wheeling and dealing on the part of the EU with Erdogan’s government, violating principles and laws. Today, solidarity with refugees, but also solidarity between member states has never been more urgent.
The Anastasiades government also bears responsibilities, of course, for failing to assert at a European level when the Agreement with Turkey was being drawn up, which from the very outset had no commitment whatsoever (in the Agreement) towards the Republic of Cyprus. The government’s responsibilities are even graver with regards the examination of the asylum applications in Cyprus. When the examination of an application from Cyprus lasts up to 5 years, this is the responsibility of none other than the government itself, which has failed to adequately staff the Asylum Service. Where and how have the 38 million Euros that Cyprus has received from the EU been used to host and receive asylum seekers, if not on this crucial aspect?
The refugee question is indeed a complex one, with no easy solutions. The only thing certain is that racism and the exploitation of this issue to serve communication purposes and are not the solution, but part of the problem. We need effective policies, based on International Law and international conventions, expressing solidarity with those at risk. Furthermore, we need an asylum system that will correctly and speedily examine applications for asylum, as well as the implementation of policies to integrate immigrants and refugees in our society.
Intervention of Georgos Koukoumas, member of the C.C. of AKEL and the International Relations Department, at the Hearing “Palestine: What’s Next?” organized by GUE/NGL2015-07-1
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