Senegambia migration to Europe no longer a crisis

Friday, August 10, 2018

The issue regarding number of Senegambian migrants desperately crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe for either asylum purposes or search for greener pastures should no longer be described as ‘‘crisis,’’ independent immigration researchers in Europe said.

The researchers also indicated that labeling the highly controversial subject as ‘’crisis’’ will be ‘‘utterly misleading, ambiguous and deceptive.’’

 Recently, several government officials and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) across the continent have unanimously agreed that despite negative press coverage from some sections of the media, the number of arrivals concerning west Africans is drastically reducing; thanks to the efforts by respective governments, civil society and their relevant foreign partners.

Also, a verified United Nations (UN) Refugee Agency statistics seen by The Point estimated that last June over 23,000 migrants were expected to reach Italy which eventually dropped the following month to 11,000. The statistics further disclosed that by August, it plummeted further to just 3,900, dispelling the scare mongering from Populist Movements and other Far-Right parties.

The report, including several other established figures prompted revelations by the independent press stating for example that ‘‘Greek beaches are comparatively calm...the ports of Cicily have been fairly empty and Lampedusa - the focal point of the crisis has been silent...’’

The ‘‘mysterious drop’’ in the number of migrants also prompted Human Rights Organisations urging concerned parties to positively highlight the fall and to avoid ‘’exaggerating’’ the number of West African migrants attempting or crossing the Mediterranean. 

According to the researchers, there is no doubt that Far-Right Parties across Europe, continue to successfully create the ‘‘false impression’’ regarding the issue, ignoring the numbers as well as their countries of origin, thus painting a ‘‘false and negative picture.’’

Moreover, the reported deal signed in Italy with tribes operating in southern Libya is also a significant barrier between West African migrants and the EU.

The deal, negotiated ‘‘in secret’’ with leaders of the Toubou and AwladSulaiman ethnic groups, importantly holds real benefits for European politicians under pressure to halt the arrival of more West African migrants and refugees according the report.

Also concerning west African migrants, this correspondent found that Libyan border guards will be active along the 5,000km long south Libyan border, thus preventing migrants from entering. Further in the north, Libyan coast guards fully equipped with motorboatsand trained by the Italians to confront and deal with migrant sea traffickers and other dealers.

The efforts of French President Emmanuel Macron is widely appreciated when he publicly acknowledged the need to approach the migration issue with ‘’solidarity, humanity and efficiency’’ and further lobbied the EU to offer an extra Euros 60 Million to help African countries deal with the issue.

Even though international political analysts and government advisers here supported the idea, they equally believe that it may be ‘’short term’’. Instead, African countries are urged to create job opportunities, adopt core democratic values including Presidential term limit, free and fair elections, and respect for the rule of law.

 One of the worst tragedies known concerning west African migrants was when dozens of men and women attempting to reach Spain died as the boat they were travelling in reportedly capsized.

Such tragedies including the unknown or unreported casualties are extremely devastating for the sub region, nonetheless, it is incomparable and unparalleled to many other ones from war torn countries and other parts of the world.

It is also important to note that despite several similar reports, there is still a strong notion or perception that migrants are either ‘‘invading or overrunning’’ other countries which researchers concluded that is not only a ‘’myth’’ but based on ‘’falsehood’’.  

Source: Alhagie Mbye; The Point Europe Correspondent