The refugees are “prisoners” of Europe, because they “left their countries, fled from death, to enter the prisons” in which they transformed the camps, criticizes the specialist in migrations Sami Nair.

© Reuters
© Reuters

“We now have people in camps in Greece and Italy, with no right or possibility to leave these camps,” says the French-Algerian political scientist, philosopher and sociologist – who is in Lisbon to attend the conference “The future of Europe depends on the future Of refugees “, inserted in the XII International Congress of the Portuguese Council for Refugees, which is being held today at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

“They have left their countries, they fled from death, to enter European prisons,” says Sami Nair, stressing that “no country in the European Union is applying” the Geneva Conventions (1951), which Establish that “the refugee must be accommodated, protected and given equal rights to the citizens of the host country”.

Europe has shown “a totally unexpected face, unthinkable, and an inability to assume its values”, says the political scientist, rejecting a crisis of refugees, but a “crisis of Europe” and a “problem of civilization.”

“Migrants and, above all, refugees have highlighted this crisis,” he says.

“If we can not give them all the requirements of refugee status, let us at least grant them the right to travel in Europe,” he maintains, advocating a “transit passport” for refugees and migrants. “We can not keep people incarcerated in inhuman conditions in camps in Greece or Italy. We must find a solution,” says the author of “Refugees.”

Nair stresses that “Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans are pure refugees, because their countries are in civil war, they are being persecuted.”

European countries that “bomb” Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan “are jointly responsible for the situation of refugees,” he says. Therefore, they have “an obligation to help them”.

Nair uses one example: international conventions prohibit collective expulsion and require a case-by-case analysis of refugees. However, the agreement between Germany and Turkey “collectively expelled millions of people”, he denounced.

“It is the total destruction of the most fundamental values of the European Union. Europe can not claim to teach human rights and values lessons to any dictatorship in the world,” he says.

Recent international developments are not promising, acknowledges the former MEP. The economic and social crisis of developed countries meant that “elements that, in a normal situation, would not raise problems, would result in incompatibilities,” a scenario used by the extreme right “to foment hatred among people,” he says.

Donald Trump’s election for President of the United States is a “historical turning point” and results from the consequences of economic liberalism: “unemployment, insecurity and instability.”

Trump “took root in the popular strata”, as the far right did in France, compares, justifying: “Because there is no alternative, because today’s left does not speak to the people.”

Nair believes that Trump “is a pragmatist” and “will not do everything he promised” during the campaign. “It will drive out a significant portion of undocumented immigrants and organize deportations to feed the populace, people who hate foreigners, but can never expel 50 million Hispanics, can never build its wall and can never reorient US policy towards Total protectionism, “he anticipates.

The economic and social crisis has widened the gap between the richest and the poorest, triggering the displacement of populations, on the basis of the “absolutely normal desire to say” I will not continue to live in this hell, “he says.

“The flows have increased because globalization has increased inequalities, and today the situation is much more unequal than it was 30 years ago, and the differences between the countries of the North and the countries of the South are enormous, one Spanish is 12 times richer than a Moroccan , Which lives 14 kilometers, “says the founder of the concept of co-development.


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