For analysing the response to this massive movement of refugees what more could be added than common sense and international regulation? . Just a few comments to remind the obligations that the international community hold towards global crises and as countries members of United Nations. As well as highlight the importance of a correct management of expectations from leaders and citizenship, assuring legitimation and rapport from refugees within the new society and in a global framework.
On one hand, dramatic images of a downed boy, families fleeing from their homes, a completely destroyed city in Syria; on the other hand, leaders with a poor political will to resettle people effectively, moving by what supposes to be “national interests” without sense of solidarity or/and being part of a humanitarian global project. Those are the characters of this modern drama that however that resemblances to the biblical Exodus in its shape and tragic consequences.
All countries with capacity to host refugees are members of United Nations and all are submitted to the same duties and rights. It’s important to change the current speech style of simple humanitarian collaboration into a duty focus. In fact, this is not a matter of strict Diplomacy, but of urgent intervention. Under the principle that: “Asylum is not a courtesy, is a responsibility”
Lack of awareness of the emergency and commitment on acting are making countries as Gulf states being complete out of the response. With 0 average of refugees taken, no matter their wealth, geographical proximity or responsibility in this conflict. Is it clear, once again, that the concept of globalisation is it taken in terms of benefits but not for crisis time.
Lack of empathy is also a critical element on the debate and it´s been shown clearly with the discrimination that some political leaders are displaying between “resettle” and “integration” of refugees, as an excuse to reduce their quotas of collaboration. Hampering a response by set before those argumentation doesn´t show a proper political attitude towards a global leadership. This defensive attitude represents also lack of consistency and strength on facing global crisis.
Joint efforts from EU countries members on equal conditions are one of the key aspects to overcome for current and future crises. Spain or UK is breaking this basic rule by breaching quota agreements. As a consequence, other countries are taking extra quota of refugees as the case of Germany and France that will take 55.000 more over the next 2 years.
Is really disappointed that political leaders of importance as David Cameron announces resettlement of just 20.000 refugees for the next 5 years, meanwhile Germany is taking 13.000 refugees through the next days. Indeed, those political leaders have taken a political position based on prejudice, not only by not fulfilling their assigned quota of refugees but by standing against resettlement. Is really a fact to highlight that in countries in which public opinion is mainly in favour, their leaders push back for any attempt of support. Is it also true that there is a path for negotiations but only under a strong pressure from other governments and the citizenship. This is the big absurdity of this situation, leaders democratically elected with a mandate to represent citizens, become the first ones in go against the goals of the general population. In a democratic system there are institutions and mechanisms able to represent and transmit citizen interests, is for that reason that the pressure from civil society supposes and extra effort that is far away from the normal exercise of democracy and exposure strong failures on current leadership.-at global and national level-. The defense of sovereignty or national interests, -one of the main argumentation for strategic policies against immigrants and refugees- could only take place when there is a clear and determinate citizen´s will, but in this case is exactly the contrary. The fact that an overwhelmed number of citizens from different countries are offering home to Syrian families means that governments are clearly not sensible to the general will and perception of citizen´s interests.
A break with citizens´s will means a break with a legitimate representation; hence a no democratic leadership but an authoritarian one. We have seen this type of leadership recently during the global financial crisis and now with global migration crisis.
Political leadership is about representation and empathy with citizen´s interests, not just implementation of practical solutions to crises. Current models of leadership are showing lack of empathy and a sense of extreme nationalism that is harmful for an open model of globalisation A change of the system model is needed, but not in this “defensive way”. This political attitude is leading to the progressive cancellation of all forms of cooperation among countries, trying to reduce policies to “humanitarian aid collaboration” in addition to a modest budget.
Many reasons have been adjudicated for current migration crisis, but is mainly a strong leadership -individual and institutionally- that has prevented to find and forecast situations of this magnitude. United Nations need to take the lead by a correct management of international crises, exposure others members in its shortcomings and creating a proactive international community up to face current challenges.