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Common Cents

Out of bounds - Europe's Refugee Crisis

Ralph Murphy

(9/2015) Death on land and at sea are the upshot of a pan European Union initiative to accept refugees from war stricken Muslim and East European nations into Western Europe. In 2014 over three thousand drowned in the Mediterranean Sea from departure points in North Africa. As of April of this year, 1727 have been reported dead as they attempted the perilous crossing bound for camps in Italy, Spain, and Greece where they donít speak the language, donít have the needed work skills, and now live in dangerous squalor.

The Mediterranean Sea crossings have the worldís highest fatality rate compared to land border crossings, but the land routes include former Soviet bloc nations of Eastern Europe. They also channel asylum seekers from the Balkan region and the Middle East. War stricken Syria and Iraq have the highest number of the desperate displaced at over a million people to each nation. Somalia and Sudan are very close to that level and their nationals also "wash ashore" onto the beaches of Italy and France.

All the North African departure points are in Muslim nations and most of the drowned are Muslims. Refugees from the Central African Republic, South Sudan and West Africa - including Nigeria and the Cameroon, funnel through war-torn and factionalized Libya. There is very little control as to boat access or the journey across the Mediterranean. The unwitting refugees are packed into poorly maintained vessels which routinely capsize offshore even in favorable weather conditions.

Despite the number of deaths - the sheer number of refugees is rising. Spain saw a 70% increase from 2013 to 2014 with 12,549 Africans from Nigeria, Mali, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Sudan and South Sudan trying to enter through the Melilla and Ceuta, Moroccan gateways. Spanish unemployment stood at 22.5% in April this year and the nation has historic animosity towards and little tolerance for Muslims. Italy is the primary destination for Libyan, Tunisian, and Egyptian refugees, but Italyís unemployment currently stands at 12.4% and there are serious debt issues with these countries.

Greece also took in many refugees, but the camps were poorly managed, overcrowded and currently often lack clean water or basic sanitation. Greece is in economic recession with unemployment at 25.6% this past April. The European Union average for unemployed is 9.6% in 2015 amid arbitrary, binding economic policy and currency ties. It is even higher at 11.1% in the shared currency Eurozone. While the Mediterranean nations are getting most of the attention due to the high profile deaths-the number of asylum seekers in the wealthier nations of Germany, United Kingdom and France is much higher. Berlin recently allowed In 571,685 for a total, non-citizen presence of about 8.5 million. France 210,207 and Britain 193,510. There has been violence at checkpoints to include Calais near the Chunnel, and car burnings with clashes most everywhere the Muslims have settled in France.

The EU had a lofty strategic vision to let in asylum seekers, but didnít address the reality of the needs of a competitive, often pernicious grouping of Muslims and Soviet vestiges who produce very little, but sow much destruction. The violence is similar, but the operational networking differs. Muslims have more religious impetus, Russian- linked attacks appear economic penury and culturally based. The EU organ FRONTEX allowed about 89 million Euros in 2013, but it is security billing and limited aid provision. Much of the help at present is from host refugee nations or nonofficial support, but the camps are poorly managed and the money for the largesse is just not there.

Itís likely no coincidence that there is no effective democracy in any Quran- based nation, and economic dealings to such a group is very primitive beyond commodities. Syndicate-linked Russia also produces virtually no high technology goods for export that arenít linked to foreign producers. They have however previously been able to draw vast resources from western sources such as the IMF and the EUís European Central Bank - until this past year's cross-border attacks of Ukrainian territory,

At issue now is what constitutes a "refugee", and how best to help them -ideally at home. They are not succeeding abroad. The 1951 United Nations-linked Geneva Convention defines a refugee as a person who has a "well founded fear of being persecuted for reason of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion (or) faces persecution returning home". Except for the last point all those concerns face the refugees in Europe who are fortunate enough to have survived the travel to the region. The Geneva Convention has been signed by 196 nations. The document itself that has been revised slightly since 1967 and all United Nations members are parties to the Convention.

The Geneva Convention doesnít include economic refugees that are usually linked to unsuccessful political or influential, religious crises. The UN has an interest in projecting "human rights", but this moves into a moral plane. It has proven difficult to gain member acceptance beyond a recognition of the negative impact of cases of "imprisonment (without due process), torture, and executions." The body wants "international jurisdiction for international human rights legislation" so as to afford "economic, social, cultural, humanitarian (well being) and respect for (varied social) groupings." They appear to be asking "is the behavior quantifiably constructive or destructive at home or abroad? If not constructive how can it be made so and will relocation make a difference?"

The current influx of refugees to European nations is bringing the same destructive mentality that failed at home to the new shores and a largely (inexplicably) obliging, host nation. Resources in their home countries are routinely very similar, even better, but they canít produce because of emotional religious or other cultural factors. They're a drain- even parasitic in violence and consumption to new foundations. Were the- refugeeís actions at home a building process in work endeavor and violent role if applied to self-defense against illegal oppression? If they just moved out in a power struggle loss, theyíre likely not going to be helpful abroad. Economic refugees appear better helped in place through organs such as the Red Cross, bilateral, intra-national dealings or UN organizations such as the High Commission on Refugees.

Europeís unemployment is double digit and the refugee influx is mostly unskilled labor. The underlying problem in war riddled Middle Eastern, East European and African nations is that various cultural issues are not being addressed. The refugees will keep draining hard-earned savings if allowed to stay in Europe, and will surely keep dying while in transit to their new locations. The tragic circumstance is best remedied at its source and not allowed to spread abroad.

Ralph Murphy is a former member of the CIA Headquarters Staff in Langley, VA.

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