Sunday, August 14

EU leaves Afghan refugees in the hands of Iran and Pakistan in exchange for aid

“We want to keep migration flows under control and the EU’s borders protected.” The phrase is from the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and he pronounced it after the G7 meeting on Tuesday. And what consequences does that have? “We will work with countries in the region, especially Iran, Pakistan and those in Central Asia, to address different needs. International protection will be needed for persecuted and vulnerable people. And EU member states will contribute to this international effort.”

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has insisted: “Our main effort must be to ensure that internally displaced Afghans receive aid or that the international community contributes to their support in neighboring countries. Therefore, support for the The region is of utmost importance and we will, of course, continue to work with the countries of the region. ”

In the memory of the 27 remains the crisis of 2015, in which the European Commission tried to have more than 130,000 refugees distributed among the EU countries, but this was not the case due to the refusal of Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic, which It was reinforced after the arrival to the Italian Government of Matteo Salvini, leader of the Lega, in June 2018.

Community sources affirm that “it is not that they do not want to take in refugees”, but that “at this time the urgent thing is to help neighboring countries, which also helps the refugees not be far from their relatives and places of origin.” The sources also insist that “no one knew how to foresee three weeks ago what would happen three weeks later, so right now it is risky to venture what will happen in the future. It is all very premature and complex. You have to see the evolution of events “.

No migratory pact

The 2015 crisis split the EU to the point that a global migration pact was not reached due to the rejection of the mandatory quota system proposed by Brussels to relieve pressure from countries of entry, such as Italy and Greece. The European Justice condemned Budapest, Prague and Warsaw, but basically they won the political debate, as the EU has ended up burying the quota mechanism in its new migration pact proposal. At the same time, it closed an agreement with Turkey to outsource border control in exchange for 6,000 million, initiating a system that is about to be replicated with other countries. In this case, in Iran and Pakistan. Or, indirectly, in Afghanistan with the Taliban themselves, who are asked to guarantee the departure of Afghans through third countries if they want to continue receiving humanitarian aid.

“Resettlement is voluntary, without any doubt,” said the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, this Tuesday, ruling out the possibility of a European plan for refugees and, of course, nothing to do with quotas. host in the EU. “The High Level Resettlement Forum [que reúne a la UE, EEUU, Canadá y ACNUR] you are experienced in addressing these issues, and it is important to have a coordinated approach. And I believe that this international forum is the appropriate response to a crisis with an international dimension. Afghanistan is not a matter for the EU, but for the international community. ”

Janesz Jansa himself, Conservative Slovenian Prime Minister, President of the EU and an admirer of Donald Trump, has already shown its reluctance to host Afghan refugees: “The EU will not open any European migration corridors for Afghanistan. We will not allow a repeat of the strategic mistake of 2015. We have to help only the people who helped us during the NATO operation and the countries that guard the external border of the EU to fully protect it. ”

A speech shared by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who commands a coalition government between popular and green: “Austria has done a lot by hosting 44,000 Afghans. We have one of the largest per capita Afghan communities in the world, after Iran, Pakistan and Sweden. There are still big problems with integration and therefore we are against of an additional fee “.

“Resettlement is voluntary”, Von der Leyen insisted on the reception of refugees: “In fact, the European Commission itself cannot resettle, because it is not Community territory. For example, humanitarian visas are required, which are issued by the Member States. , of course, and they are currently debating about those who have been evacuated, with humanitarian visas, and who, indeed, are now trying to find a final destination. ”

Thus, Von der Leyen clears the issue in two ways: upwards, at the global level, and horizontally, at the level of each Member State, and advances that the issue of refugees will be an issue that will be addressed in the coming days by the Ministers of the Interior and Migration. In addition to insisting on the defense of his immigration pact proposal, which includes the “sponsoring of returns” by those who refuse to receive them and which has the rejection of all the southern countries for the lack of “solidarity”.

In this context, Von der Leyen announced on Tuesday an “increase in humanitarian support for Afghans from 50 million euros to more than 200 million.” This humanitarian aid is in addition to the contributions of the EU Member States.

The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, insisted: “All this has a European and international dimension. For this reason, we are working together with our partners in the European Union, but the international community has its responsibilities, as has just been addressed in the G7 meeting “.

But the international community, at least the G7 as an institution, has not yet taken a step forward in what has to do with the reception of refugees. In the statement approved this Tuesday, it is stated: “We call for the fulfillment of human rights, including the rights of women, girls and minority groups, and that international humanitarian law be respected in all circumstances. We will cooperate together and with neighboring countries and other countries. of the region in supporting Afghan refugees and host communities [Irán, Pakistán, entre otros] as part of a long-term coordinated regional response. ”

UK, Canada and USA

However, the UK last week announced a “new bespoke resettlement plan, aimed at relocating up to 20,000 vulnerable Afghans.” And the White House announced this Tuesday that “since August 14, the United States has evacuated and facilitated the evacuation of approximately 58,700 people,” and that “since the end of July” it has “relocated approximately 63,900 people.”

“I welcome that during the G7, Canada and the United Kingdom have announced significant figures for the resettlement of refugees: 21,000 and 20,000 respectively,” said Von der Leyen about non-EU countries, something that, at the moment, cannot Say of EU countries, except for Spain, which has received more than four hundred evacuees, former collaborators of the European institutions in Afghanistan: “The United States also announced its commitment to resettlement. It is important that this issue is addressed at scale. worldwide to coordinate efforts. ”

As published by Amnesty International ahead of the current Afghan crisis, Almost 10,000 Afghans were in danger of death and torture following their return by European governments, because many Afghans seeking asylum and refuge were returned by EU countries.

The European Commission in April signed a migration agreement with Afghanistan for the return of Afghan migrants who are illegally in the EU. “This joint statement will help address irregular migration and promote joint efforts to combat mafias and human trafficking and facilitate the sustainable reintegration of returnees to Afghanistan, focusing on their personal needs and those of host communities.” , pointed out a statement from the European Commission.