No to borders. Humanity and compassion should know no barriers.
The poignant photograph of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi’s frail body washed up a Turkish beach has opened the eyes of many to a crisis long-plaguing migrants and refugees. The spotlight is now on Europe, whose governments are being censured by their own peoples and peoples of the world for refusing to give refugees protection and urgent sanctuary.
Aylan’s boat and another carrying more refugees capsized after the British government refused to commit to accept more refugees into its borders. The refugees come mostly from war-torn and crisis-ridden Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Eritrea. Their present transit points are Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Libya and Hungary where they stop over hoping to enter the United Kingdom and EU countries, namely, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Greece and Sweden. The United Nations’ refugee agency estimates at least 366,402 refugees, asylum seekers and migrants have crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Europe for this year, desperately taking the two choices left to them: death at sea or the uncertain future they will have to face in the country they are hoping to seek refuge in.
The refugee crisis, however, is not a European problem alone. Earlier this year, the world also watched in horror as thousands of trafficked Rohingyas stranded at sea were left to die, without proper food, shelter and protection, as ASEAN states refused them entry into their borders.
The EU should be taken to task for the positions it had taken in the Middle East and North Africa civil strifes and their repercussions. The US, likewise, should be held accountable for its decades-long interventionist wars and wars of agression to secure economic and military positioning. Asian states should also be liable for toeing the the anti-refugee and anti-migrant posturing of the US and EU under the guise of so-called war on terror and war on trafficking, resulting in the criminalization of migrants and refugees, restriction of borders and a global humanitarian crisis that has long gone out of hand.
Meanwhile, countries such as Austria and Germany, must be encouraged further as they have compassionately opened their borders to the migrants and refugees.
Migrante International stands in solidarity with our brother and sister refugees and asylum-seekers. Migrants, particularly Filipino migrant workers, are not oblivious to the horrors, hardships and harshness of being turned away, rejected, prosecuted, criminalized and spurned. Where there are conflicts and wars, so Filipino migrants are. Where there are restrictions and stringent immigration measures, so Filipino migrants are. Where there are uncertainties and threats of imminent death, so Filipino migrants are.
Filipino migrant workers are also no stranger to civil strife in their homeland.
In the Philippines, thousands of Lumad communities have been displaced due to militarization in Mindanao. Heightened attacks on indigenous communities, especially on Lumad schools, have caused thousands upon thousands to flee their ancestral lands in search for protection and in fear of their lives.
The bigger tragedy is that these attacks are perpetrated by the Philippine government through the military, given license by a counter-insurgency program patterned after the US Counter-Insurgency Guide on “war on terror” – the very same policy that has caused millions of migrants and refugees to flee their lands, by the same proponents that uphold labor export and other neoliberal policies that drive peoples to forced migration in search of so-called greener pastures at the risk of danger or even death.
Migrante International calls on all Filipino compatriots and fellow migrants around the world to stand in solidarity with refugees in Europe. Migrante International calls on all Filipino compatriots and fellow migrants to oppose imposed borders and merciless immigration and refugee policies that trample on the fundemental rights of refugees and migrants of the world. ###