Mahatma Gandhi Community Forum


In a remarkable and praise worthy gesture , European Union governments are likely to agree  in principle to give shelter to around 1,60,000 migrant refugees from crisis ridden regions such as West Asia, Africa and Afghanistan. It is reported that Germany, France and Spain would  absorb the biggest number of refugees. Britain and Denmark  have invoked their special rights under European Law to stay out of the system , though they are reported to be willing to take refugees under other arrangements.

World should salute Germany :

The Government of Germany has agreed to permit thousands of migrant refugees from strife  torn countries to enter Germany and live in Germany, even as  other European countries were hesitant initially, though they also viewed the problems of these migrants with sympathy and understanding.  With regard to the  response to the refugee issues in Europe, Germany stands out as the country that has responded spontaneously with great sense of responsibility towards suffering humanity. The world should salute Germany for this.

Is it a calculated risk  for European countries ?

While the  approach of a few countries in Europe in dealing with the  migrants have received spontaneous appreciation from cross section of people around the world, one is not sure as to whether these countries have handled the situation emotionally , instead of based on careful assessment of the ground realities . Atleast some people think that these countries have  taken a calculated risk.

Rich countries in Europe  like Germany  and France  with strong and vibrant economy will not face  any  particular economic problems as thousands of migrants become inmates in the respective countries . But, the social and cultural issues  that would arise in integrating the refugees  with the mainstream of national life , are bound to have several short term and long term implications that may even disturb the social balance in these  countries to  a considerable extent.

One immediate impact of the proactive approach  of a few European countries  is that more migrants would be encouraged to  leave their strife torn countries and seek asylum in Germany, France, Spain and other countries in Europe.  In case, these European countries  would refuse to admit refugees beyond a maximum number, those who praise them today  today may over night become critics. This would be a hard decision  to take that would be faced  by these countries between their feelings of compassion and the practical problems that would arise by  admitting people of different religious background , ethos and cultural practices.

Obviously,  almost all the migrant refugees would be seeking asylum without proper documents and even without  passports. In such  circumstances, it is almost impossible to judge as to whether all these refugees are genuine persons or miscreants or even members of the terrorist outfits.  It is also possible that people  from other countries may use this benevolent attitude of some European countries to seek refugee status  for their own reasons  and they may not be from  the regions of conflicts and countries facing war like situation.

It is highly disturbing to know that several middlemen and dishonest agencies are using this “opportunity” to smuggle people into European countries and most of such people are reported to be moved in extremely tortuous , unhygienic and unsafe conditions. European countries which are promising to admit  refugees have the grim task of not falling into the trap  of unscrupulous smugglers of people.

U N O conspicuous by near silence :

Another disturbing aspect is that while thousands of migrant refugees are  moving out of their  countries  seeking asylum elsewhere, the United Nations Organisation which is supposed to be finding solutions for such problems,  is  conspicuous by it’s near  silence.  This is one more instance to show that United Nations is increasingly becoming a cosmetic body that appears to be simply looking at the developing situation around the world with helplessness.   UNO is now seen by many people as a mere discussion forum  with least impact on the ground scenario and the present refugee issue in  Europe would only reinforce this view.

It is very important that United Nations should play an active role in working out a strategy to deal with such migrant refugees issues. Instead of doing so, these problems are left to the countries involved to sort them out each in it’s own way.  Such conditions only add to the confused scenario with the unfolding events  creating more uncertainty and anxiety everywhere.

Need for pragmatic approach :

One tends to think  that the pragmatic approach to such refugee issues is that the refugees should  be counselled to stay on in their own countries and should be advised  that making themselves refugees and running to another country may only further accentuate the problem for them as well as the host countries  and the refugees will face long   term uncertainties and even hostile local population.

Activate U N peace force :

 It is  necessary that United Nations  should take a very strong view on such unrest in any  particular country , where bloody conflicts become the order of the day. The present rush of refugees in Europe once again highlight the fact that such conflicts in individual countries cannot be ignored, as they are bound to have global implications .

United Nations has a peace force which should act  positively and even aggressively  in the conflict ridden countries to enforce peace, that would avoid exodus of refugees.

One only wish that leadership of the United Nations Organisations have the clout and moral strength to  enforce  peace in the conflict ridden regions. Is UNO facing a leadership crisis itself ?

Today, European countries are paying a price for the conflicts elsewhere and  they seem to be reacting more with compassion than with hard headed  realistic  strategies. 

It is high time that the European countries should appreciate the need for strong UN peace keeping force and should take steps to strengthen UNO, to make it function as an effective peace enforcing organisation around the world.


Nandini Voice For The Deprived

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