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You Can’t Keep Snakes in Your Backyard and Expect Them to Only Bite Your Neighbor

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Helyeh Doutaghi
Graduate Student of the Dickson Poon School of Law; King's College London

In the past few years, the world has witnessed a growing refugee crisis. The number of people who have been displaced from their homes exceeded the number of WWII refugees.Today, as we hear all about them, views and opinions are divided into two categories: some, look at the issue from a national security perspective, and the others want to deal with it as an international human rights issue. I however, am of the opinion that national security is only achieved through the safety and security of the individuals. National security can by no means be used by states as a justification to not live up to their international obligations towards refugees and asylum, especially when they, themselves, were not completely out of the play in creating such mess for the refugees and making them homeless.

According to the Amnesty International report, more than half of Syria’s population is currently displaced. Most of the migrants crossing the Mediterranean are reported to be from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. You don’t have be too smart to notice the western interference in causing the national crises present in the named countries right away. You simply can’t promote peace and security by giving everyone a machine gun. It’s been quite a while that EU along with the US has made the region a place to play power. And now, when the refugees produced by these western-backed conflicts, are trying to save their lives, they are left to drown at sea.

The refugees have died trying to get into European borders. The UK, has been denying access to refugees; and the Hungary has built an obscene fence on its borders to try to keep the suffering refugees out of its territory. Today however, the image of a tiny baby lying lifeless broke the heart of humanity. He was simply drowned. As a result of the shock caused by this image, David Cameron, announced, “UK will start accepting thousands of refugees”. It seems to me, they could no longer resist the massive public calls by the world to welcome refugees. Maybe the world had to witness the little Aylan die like that, to truly believe, that these people need a place to stay. I am also glad to say that the German government has been trying its best to deal with refugees in a good manner and has been successful in doing so.

It’s moreover worth touching upon the Convention of Refugees, in which states are responsible to protect people from being returned to countries where they risked persecution and human rights abuses. The Refugee Convention has been an important mechanism, providing a framework for the protection of tens of millions of people. It is established so that no country, or a small number of countries, have to cope refugee crises by themselves. This fundamental principle is now being ignored, with devastating consequences; another words, the international refugee protection system has failed.

Ultimately, making a political issue out of a human misery is not the right way to deal with these helpless refugees. I’d like to finish by emphasizing on the fact that such payment by the west, is no charity. It is indeed the reparation for what they have done.

The take away from all this, is that the next time, when thinking of making and supporting a conflict of any kind, think again.

*Photo Credit: Nilufer Demir, Reuters

*These views represent those of the author and are not necessarily Iran Review's viewpoints.

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