Today EU and the Balkans have capitulated to fear and lack of empathy. Balkan countries along the refugee corridor have sealed their borders, one by one.
At the one end of the Balkan refugee corridor Slovenia closed its border to the refugees coming from Croatia, and reintroduced visas for Turkish and Macedonian citizens. At the other end Macedonia is not allowing any more refugees coming from Greece to cross its border, although close to 40000 refugees are desperately waiting on the Greek side, unable to go forward and dreading to go back.
This shameful acts of border closures along the refugee trail include Croatia and Serbia too. Both countries have been the leaders until recently in demonstrating the compassionate treatment of refugees, something I had a privilege to witness in the fall of 2015. Now both want to make sure that at the time of the EU “breakthrough” agreements with Turkey no unprocessed refugee is left behind within the boundaries of their countries. All the works of goodness and charity Serbia and Croatia have done towards the refugees from Syria and other troubled countries of the near and far East until recently have been crushed to the ground.
Hungary, which was among the first to seal its borders with Serbia and Croatia six months ago is satisfied. Germany is trying to forget its generous offers it was still making to refugees only half a year ago. Greece is in serious trouble because the inflow or refugees across the Aegean Sea goes on, and EU does not seem to see that it is wrong to place a sole responsibility for the outcome of its latest policies regarding the refugee question in the Greek hands. At the same time Turkey, which plays multiple games… was promised by EU the opportunity to monetize (3 billion euro) its handling of refugees.
All of the listed has happened within the past 48 hours.
Today is the beginning of a new miserable and humiliating chapter in the lives of the hundreds of thousands of Syrian and other refugees, including many families with children. From today they will be herded (forgive the word), lied to (it has already been happening) and shipped to and fro, without their consent, from one refugee camp to another. From today they will be stuck in who-knows what kind of camps even more than until now, and under who knows what kind of conditions, and for who-knows how long. From today the lives of refugees will be a bargaining currency changed between EU and Turkey, as if the refugees are worthless and disposable commodities. Today a new era of human trafficking will start, sanctioned by EU, which will most likely take place away from the eyes of ordinary people. Form today the lives of refugees will be seriously endangered as they are pushed back to their countries of origin. From today only a few will be allowed to enter Europe.
Today EU and its states, plus Serbia and Macedonia have acted against the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights signed by all UN members. All EU and other European countries signed the UN Declaration long time ago. The article 3 states: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” The article 13 states: “Everyone has the right to leave any country.” Article 14 says: “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution”. Today the European countries have done the very thing the article 30 of the UN Declaration warns about: “Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.”
Today the states of Europe have demonstrated that their international commitments amount to nothing; that they value human life on the basis of what kind of passport or ID card people hold. From today Europe will be applying questionable and selfish criteria to interpret the UN Declaration about who is and who is not allowed to enter and stay in Europe. Today the friends of human dignity stand ashamed of Europe and its countries that have acted with no compassion. Today Europe is washing its Pilate’s hands.
Today we mourn the lives of so many refugees who lost their lives in the past year thanks to the sloppiness of EU, and of those who will die in the coming weeks and months thanks to the self-centered choices Europe is making at this time.