Yesterday, The Guardian wrote an article about the EU migration crisis and how some NGOs, such as ‘Doctors without Borders’, were being accused for working with migrant traffickers. The issue is that some see this as contributing to the migration flows and the rise in populism across Europe, leading to more EU governments considering off-shore detention centres in Libya and cuts in search and rescue funds.
Apparently, nearly 200,000 refugees and migrants have reached Italy since last year. Most sea rescues are conducted by EU vessels and NGOs together, but this has not led to more encouragement for migrants to cross the sea according to Mario Giro, Italy’s deputy foreign minister, because in the end they are not escaping extreme poverty. They are people who can afford to make the journey in the first place, they are ‘young, educated, and come from countries where development is taking off’.
EU has a plan of trying to control the migration by paying the Libyan government to prevent migrants from leaving in the first place, which is controversial and has been condemned by NGOs. Another plan would be to enter detention camps with international organisations and help people that are being used by smugglers, but according to Giro ‘we are far away from this’.
What is interesting is the attitude towards something that is understood as a ‘crisis’ still being dealt with through a ‘top-down’ approach, when in reality we need to focus on what the root of the cause is and what would make people stay instead of migrating. If they are not migrating to escape poverty, then why are they leaving and what would make them stay? It is hard to believe that the people migrating are not in financial hardship, but even if that is the case then we need to have a local understanding of why they are leaving their homes.
If they are escaping poverty or war-like situations, like in Syria, it should be understood as a global issue that can focus on using the amount of people migrating to the advantage of the countries they inhibit for a certain amount of time. Creating an economic incentive to harness the situation and find a way to include these people in the economy instead of locking them up in camps. Security issues are still an obstacle at the moment, but with new technologies such as bitchain and personal identity solutions this is about to change. Countries can then focus on using the capabilities that migrants’ possess.
As the US Migration Policy Institute explains:
“Giving in to the impulses to erect bigger fences without concomitantly dealing with the root causes of these movements will only serve to deepen the pockets of smugglers, not reduce the flows themselves. Most thinking has pointed to a need to approach refugee- and migrant-producing situations in a much more comprehensive way that moves beyond humanitarian and asylum tools alone. In a more connected and mobile world, waiting to deal with a problem until it reaches a country’s borders is not sustainable”.
Any solutions will need a different approach, finding a new perspective. It is not about stopping people from moving country, it is about harnessing the possibilities that become available when the security issue of migrants’ identities slowly disappear. Of course the best solution would be less war, but the outlook of that is diminishing. We need future solutions based on the use of technological inventions and personal identity instead of trying to turn back time with old ideas of nationalism and border control. Hoping that somehow we will see a different result than in the past.