Brussels, 11 March 2020 – War in Syria: year nine. Some say EU members should take in all unaccompanied children from Syria, and not just part of them, as we can no longer allow children to be exposed to sufferance, disease, exploitation and human trafficking. As for the EU law in force now this is not a must, but it’s what we should do for responsibility taking. That said Dublin Agreement must be changed urgently, even at the risk of gathering all EU MEPs and challenge coronavirus pandemic.
This would not be just part of the non-refoulement principle (preventing refugees or asylum seekers to return to a country where they can be persecuted or risk life), and respect of Human Rights international law, but also a direct responsibility taking of a nine years civil war in Syria turned into international war where, along with US troops, some EU members as France, UK, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, Italy backed Turkey against Assad.
As US and Italy have withdrawn, now only France, Denmark and UK (no longer in the EU) remained on the ground backing Turkey (plus the set of forces against Assad and Russia).
Germany is open to take few hundreds unaccompanied Syrian children as the refugee crisis turned into a catastrophic humanitarian crisis after Turkey opened its borders letting Syrian war refugees to cross and enter Greece after being violently attacked and pushed back by Greek border police. Not clear what the remaining 26 states will do now.
Far from condemning tear gasses, water cannon, physical attack and violence on unharmed Syrian from the Greeks, the EU highest representatives praised PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis, stressing Greek borders are EU borders.
We found ourselves in front of EU institutions scared by far-right parties soaring in polls thanks to their ability of using immigrants and refugees as scapegoats for governments inability and economic crisis. Let’s say the unconditional backing of a right wing led Greek government which suspended asylum requests, shows the level of political fragility of the EU now on the side of its members whatever they do, even if they violate human rights when it comes to immigration.
While heads of EU Council, Charles Michel, and Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, are looking at the crisis from a defence perspective, only EU Parliament President David Sassoli stressed the urgency of unaccompanied children and the reform of Dublin as an incumbent must for the EU when the three EU chiefs went to visit Greek border with Turkey.
We, the EU citizens, need urgently a new law on immigration imposing on those nations which decide to take active part in conflicts direct responsibility of refugees and economic immigrants escaping those countries. In that way people and voters will understand the direct relation cause-consequence between their own parliament approving to enter a conflict and refugees from that war entering their own country by law thanks to a new Dublin Agreement. This will put pressure on parliaments and political parties at national level rising awareness on the reasons why those whose countries, homes and families have been destroyed by weapons made in the West and with EU direct deployment, are knocking our doors. You vote to deploy troops and air force to Syria? You take the refugees then.
Read from The Independent: Britain promised to take 3,000 refugee children. So far it’s taken 220
FIGURES (UNHCR) WAR IN SYRIA
6.6 million internally displaced and 5.6 million around the world, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Children in need: 8 million
Internally displaced children: 2.6 million
Total registered refugee children outside Syria: over 2.5 million
From January to end of June 2019 (verified):
At least 532 children were killed or injured, including 359 killed or injured in northwest Syria alone. 292 children recruited or used in combat
In refugee host countries: Nearly 10,000 Syrian refugee children are either unaccompanied or separated, and many of these children are vulnerable to exploitation, including child labour, due to lack of legal documentation.