The European Union’s Hypocrisy in the Sub-Saharan Migrant Crisis

The European Union’s Hypocrisy in the Sub-Saharan Migrant Crisis



Malaga, SPAIN- Last weekend witnessed the most humbling human experience I have been involved in for a long time. I had the opportunity to talk and engage with migrants attempting to risk their lives to come to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea of Southern Spain. Some of the stories I have heard are quite jarring and pitiful. Others are inspiring and full of hope and positivity. Corruption, manipulation and most especially human rights abuses by the local and foreign authorities were the main issues of concern of these migrants. According to them, the ruthlessness of police forces in both Europe and Morocco cannot and do not dissuade them from calling off their journey to Europe. Their stories are those of despair, hope, resolve, resilience, bravery and boldness. There stories are too big enough to allow any obstacle from averting them from accomplishing their dream of a prosperous life in Europe. But why does the EU closes its eyes on the human rights abuses by European and Moroccan authorities when those latter attempt to deter irregular migration? Understanding the reasons behind this question prompted my editorial.

Migration has been one of the most significant and thorny concerns in political relations between Morocco and the European Union. Certainly one of the features quite disconcerting in their relationship is the dirty job the European Union bids to Morocco in dealing with irregular migration from their side. The EU gives Morocco millions of euros and closes its eyes on the spectacular human rights abuses of the Moroccan and Spanish coastal civil guards and border patrolmen. The aforementioned only reveals the EU’s duplicitous ingenuousity when it comes to respect for human rights.[1]

Today, by instrumentalizing the misery of sub-Saharan Africans with the airing of spectacular imageries of “custodies” made on the embankments of the Spanish regions, Morocco is pressurizing its Northern allies to obtain an increase in European assistance. A way which is proving to be operative: A few days after the first bangs claimed five migrant fatalities at Ceuta in the year 2005, European Commissioner Frattini was undertaking to bid Rabat 40 million euros to back the country’s hard work in deterring irregular immigration.[2]

Even though the gunshots are fired by the Moroccan police, it is the European Union which offers the weaponries. As part of the externalization of its immigration strategy, the European Union is forcing its nearby neighbors, Mauritania and Libya, to take responsibility for the security of its boundaries in a kind of compulsory task sharing. Migrants find themselves held captive in this farmhouse of violence. [3]

The European Union’s program of “selected (chosen) migration” which aims only those migrants desirable by the European economy, wishes to escape what it describes as “inflicted or forced migration”: persons in exile and all those escaping poverty, environmental, and ecological calamities, and war. In assuming this policy, the European Union member states are eager to forsake all human right values. They have, for example, professed “sure” a country like Libya, where subjective confinement of foreigners, mass expulsions and abuse are routine, to validate Italy’s regular exercise of mass deportations to Libya with charter flights packed with people shipwrecked on Sicilian Island of Lampedusa. And they have transmuted Morocco into an actual ploy where thousands of transiting Africans are apprehended under risk of police malevolence in harsh circumstances, with no regards for the fate of those necessitating international protection.[4]

Although the snapshots of a lifeless toddler on the shores of Turkey stunned the whole world and were certainly dreadful, they are not truly telling us anything different. Migrants and refugees have been journeying across the Mediterranean for donkey’s years and thousands have perished. Correspondingly, if the European Union was concerned by a dead Syrian toddler on a Turkish shoreline, why aren’t they bothered by black African children running away from poverty, civil wars, environmental disasters, and political persecution, in their home countries in Africa, and jumping over electric barb wired fences, swimming their way to Spain and only to be killed by merciless Ibero – Moroccan coastal civil guard units.[5] In addition, if migrants succeed in jumping over the barb wired fences, they end up dying on unseaworthy boats across the Mediterranean Sea. So what is the distinction?

To put it bluntly this is a security crisis. For several years, Europeans have preferred to pretend that African migrants dying in the Mediterranean Sea was not their problem. But now the European Union has these days agreed the point of open confrontation at its southern frontiers. In December 2015, more than ten people have been banged to death while making an attempt to go across the Moroccan frontier to Ceuta and Melilla.[6] Many migrants have been brutally injured, and hundreds have been expatriated and abandoned with neither sustenance nor water in the Sahara desert[7]. In an effort to restrain the “invasion” of those denoted to only as “illegals”, sophisticated and higher barb wired barriers are erected, sophisticated coordination are put in place to guard these European isles on African land from the sub-Saharan invaders.[8]

Instead of using essential rights to work in the direction of “the easy and steady incorporation of the unindustrialized countries into the global economy”, as is in case in their establishment agreement, the EU states have preferred to bypass these privileges in order to shield themselves from the world’s deprived. [9]As such, the dead’s of Ceuta and Melilla are the symbolic fatalities of a Europe running North-South affairs from fundamentally utilitarian outlook, rejecting the principles it affirms as “universal” and commending, behind the new wall of ignominy, is the fortune of thousands of persons dying in the Sahara desert[10]. In this issue, it is not only the European Union that solely deserves the blame in the tragic death of these migrants attempting the journey to Europe. The African Union and its member states have been silent and are not exempt from this responsibility.[11]

[1] At Europe’s Door: Black African Migrants Trapped In Hellish Limbo in Morocco, 2013, by Palash Gosh.
[2] Europe get’s tough with migrant crisis, 2005, Sonia Phalnikar.
[3] EU and Maghreb: Asylums, Immigration And Externalization 2006, Abdelkrim Belguendouz.
[4] EU and Maghreb: Asylums, Immigration And Externalization 2006, Abdelkrim Belguendouz.
[5] Spain admits firing rubber bullets at migrants swimming to enclave, 2014, The Telegraph.
[6] Hundreds of migrants storm Spanish border with Morocco, 25 Dec 2015, The Guardian.
[7] EU and Maghreb: Asylums, Immigration And Externalization 2006, Abdelkrim Belguendouz.
[8] Spain: refugees killed, survivors abandoned in Moroccan desert, 2005, Paul Stuart,World Socialist Website.
[9] Melilla: Europe’s dirty secret, April 2010, Nicky Davies, The Guardian.
[10] Spain: refugees killed, survivors abandoned in Moroccan desert, 2005, Paul Stuart,World Socialist Website
[11] Mediterranean migrants crisis: Why is Africa silent?, April 28 2015, BBC Africa