There has been an influx of refugees and migrants across the Old World to western Europe partly from crisis-ridden regions of the Dark Continent. The ongoing crisis from war-torn Syria compounded the problem as Europe unavoidably has to open its doors to fleeing Syrians from the bloodshed that has engulfed the embattled country under President Assad. While the influx of refugees into Europe continues, concern is being expressed by many that Muslims refugees from Syria are a threat to Europe's Christian heritage, a position which is hotly contested by other dissenting voices on the continent.
Migrants from Africa are none other than the ones driven away from their homelands by bad governance. The exodus is still ongoing; they only seek to make it to Europe from sub-Saharan Africa across the fiery Sahara desert to the coast of north Africa before embarking on a dangerous journey across the Mediterranean. The overcrowded rickety boats on which they make the sea journey are often sub-standard and, therefore, incapable of withstanding the strong sea currents. Many lives have perished at sea and as of December 2014 over 3,419 migrants, this writer reliably gathered, did not make it to the shore according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) official records.
Scene of a Mediterranean shipwreck.
In Syria, the country has been fighting a civil war at a great human cost that has almost brought the country to its knees. The death toll in Syria after over 3 years, reports say, have risen to well over 210,060 with many more lives on the line thus forcing the Syrians to flee in droves. Europe has never witnessed such influx of migrants like she has seen for the past 3 calendar months thus compelling member states to voice their concern on how to cope with the refugees who have been forced out of their homelands. More worrisome is the suggestion of a quota system of relocation which appears an open invitation to thousands of economic migrants. This might spell out a great danger in the long run.
In a recent summit that was held in the EU diplomatic capital of Brussels, it was agreed that Special Reception Centres be set up for Migrants in Italy and Greece before the end of November this doubtless is an open invitation to million refugees on European shores in the years to come. This, however, is a gesture of goodwill by the continent's leaders. Be that as it may, the pros and cons of this ''magnanimity'' agitate the mind of this writer.
In the UNHCR General Provisions, Article 1 subsection 2 says a person who is in the danger of losing his life could seek protection outside the country of his nationality
'' As a result of events occurring before 1 January 1951 and owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or , owing to to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it''
Hence, the conditions for which refugees fleeing Syria appear in harmony with the contents of this clause. There is nothing wrong with extending hospitality to these displaced persons who have been forcibly ejected from their homeland resulting from the grave danger of losing their lives. Conversely, ISIS jihadists reportedly threatened to release a huge wave of migrants to cause chaos in Italy and the rest of Europe via hiding among refugees. Only a forth night ago ISIS jihadists from Syria raised and hoisted their flag in Germany to the consternation of everyone thereby bringing their reign of terror over our heads like the ancient sword of Damocles. One of the ISIS jihadists on the Mediterranean shores in Libya was reported to have pointed at the centre of Europe and declared ''by the grace of Allah we will conquer Rome'' This is very disheartening! It is a thousand pities such outlandish remark and threat could be breathed out against a country which has by words and deeds shown a rare display of magnanimity; in fact whose shores has been invaded by migrants from the coast of north Africa and war-torn Syria.
However grapevine sources say not one of these refugees from Syria has been allowed into any of the Arab gulf states. Thus where is their feeling of brotherhood and friendship? Or is it that the gulf states are too poor to be turned to? Frankly, I do not think so. Not one of these refugees has been allowed to seek refuge in the oil-rich Kingdom of Saudi Arabia but we see and hear the ISIS jihadists threatening to unleash terror on countries in Western Europe that have decided to accept refugees from this embattled region.
This is a problem that could be resolved. For starters, the war in Syria must be put a stop to forthwith. Inaction will only enhance the ongoing catastrophe in that country and these could spell more dangers to Europe considering the ISIS connection in the movement of migrants from that region and the coast of north Africa. A peaceful and stable Syria will halt the movement of refugees and put the activities of ISIS who hide among them in check.
Rogue states that back the Assad regime should be sanctioned and the UN must ensure that such sanctions are fully complied with and implemented by member states. This brings into focus the tacit support being given to Assad by the arrogant regime in Moscow under President Putin. The world must not be held to ransom by the diabolic whims and caprices of the Kremlin which has been arming the notorious Assad regime.
Iyoha John Darlington, an opinion leader and public commentator on national and global issues, writes from Turin, Italy.