Pantelis Boukalas PANTELIS BOUKALAS

A painful record

COMMENT

TAGS: Migration

Tuesday marks World Refugee Day. Although a plethora of heartfelt statements will come from official lips about the plight of millions of people who have been displaced from their homes, very little will reach the ears of the actual protagonists of this drama.

In any case, the figures released on Monday by the United Nations are enough to make you gasp: About 65.6 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced from their homes due to conflict or persecution by the end of 2016.

This is a painful record, which leaves an indelible mark on the face of humanity, especially considering that half of the refugee population is composed of children.

One individual is being displaced every three seconds. People are forced to flee their homes by endless conflicts, by persecution and violence, by poverty and hunger. They have to move to another place within their country or to another country.

On a global level, one in 113 people is now displaced. Meanwhile, the full impact of climate change, which will create hordes of environmental refugees, has yet to be felt.

How many Trump-style walls will this world have to raise to keep its own responsibilities at bay? And especially those countries that in order to promote their cynical interests, export conflict and misery outside their borders (therefore also creating refugees) – and do so with the same ease and speed that they produce consumer products for their blissful citizens.

Sixty-five point six million people. With no freedoms, no rights, no future. This Europe which so touts its respect of human rights does not even respect the right of families separated by violence to reunite. Officials always find a way to bypass the rules or to turn a blind eye to the plight of these people, while at the same time bragging about their official signature at the bottom of agreements and protocols.

EU officials are dragging their feet and are unable to agree on how they will deal with member states that refuse to meet their commitments under the relocation program.

It is not just Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland. Spain has fulfilled less than 10 percent of its pledges under the EU scheme. Thousands of protesters demonstrated in Madrid on Sunday under the slogan: “Enough excuses, no more barriers.” Their slogan was perhaps the warmest message that could reach the ears of refugees on this day.

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