Refugee camps in crisis: who bears responsibility?
Millions of refugees in camps spread across northern Syria, Turkey, the Greek Aegean islands and Bosnia are forced to live in appalling conditions and freezing temperatures in the winter months in the midst of the pandemic. Journalists level harsh accusations at the EU and urge readers to show solidarity.
EU's deadly deterrence strategy
In a guest commentary for the Tages-Anzeiger, sociologist Jean Ziegler and Green politician Ilias Panchard accuse the EU of a cynical strategy:
“The majority of the tents installed by the UN High Commission are summer tents without flooring or heating. There is no running water. The food, which is distributed only once a day, is often inedible. ... On the Greek Aegean islands, von der Leyen is practicing a deadly strategy of deterrence. It aims to discourage these tormented people from leaving their home countries which are ravaged by war, torture and destruction. ... Human rights are an achievement of the civilised world. ... They can neither be quantified nor restricted nor applied selectively. ... The official and unofficial camps must be evacuated immediately.”
Our moral duty to make donations
The US drastically cut its funding for the UN Refugee Agency, Yeni Akit points out:
“On top of that, the agency is having major difficulties collecting the aid promised by other states. It is therefore not even coming close to being able to provide even the most basic services in the refugee camps. Humanitarian aid organisations usually jump in to help tackle the problems and improve living conditions, particularly in the winter. The potential of these organisations is based entirely on the voluntary donations and help of those who are better off financially. The coronavirus pandemic has seriously shaken the world economy and thus also affected many aid programmes. But in view of the living conditions in the refugee camps it is our duty and an imperative of solidarity to use all the resources we have here to help.”