The number of illegal refugees seeking to enter the EU countries is growing every day, but, unfortunately, the number of EU countries refusing to accept migrants is growing with it. Let me remind you that the new Minister of the Interior of Italy Matteo Salvini refused to accept the vessel with illegal migrants (629 people), thus provoking a violent reaction to the EU. Fortunately, two days later Spain decided to accept these people on board in Valencia.
Europe is going through the most serious migration crisis, caused by a number of armed conflicts and economic problems in the countries of Africa and the Middle East. And so far, one of the main problems remains unresolved: Who should save and host the migrants who have suffered the disaster?
It turns out that according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the captains of vessels should assist people at risk at sea. But what should happen after people are saved, and how this should be solved from a legal point of view, is not clearly stated in the document. So, no country is obliged to give permission to land on its shore to people on board a vessel that has been wrecked.
Most likely, Salvini’s decision will give a new impetus to the reform of the European asylum system. One of the compromise solutions may be an agreement to show solidarity with countries along the borders of the EU and share a burden of responsibility with Italy, Greece or Bulgaria. But how this will happen, the EU member states themselves must decide. In 2016, the European Commission has already made a number of proposals. So far none of them have been realized …
I hope that this time Europe will still be able to find a compromise – and right-wing populists who came to power in some EU countries will not be able to prevent it. After all, even the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who opposes the adoption of refugees by Europe, agreed to consider financial support.
While the EU countries are discussing the adoption and distribution of refugees, migrants are changing their usual routes. And nowadays the popular place is Spain. Here in recent months there has been an increased flow of migrants trying to get to Europe via the Mediterranean. In this situation, the proposal of the Spanish government to take in Valencia people who are aboard the vessel MS Aquarius was a nice gesture. But not all are going to follow the example of Spain.
I think that many are concerned about the decision of the Italian authorities on Aquarius. Since they clearly run counter to international norms and risk creating a dangerous situation for all countries. Therefore, it is time to regulate the standards for granting asylum and to ensure that all EU countries take part in this.
On May 27, an attempt to form a coalition government in Italy consisting of the populist and anti-system Five Star Movement and the right-wing League ended in failure. The President of the Italian Republic and the coalition failed to agree on the candidature of Minister of Economy and Finance. Sergio Mattarella announced that he would never agree with the appointment of Minister of Finance, Paolo Savona, an eurosceptic and opponent of Italy’s participation in the eurozone.
So, who is Paolo Savona, whose figure led to the collapse of the new government? – He is Professor of Economics, worked in the Central Bank and in the largest employers’ organizations in Italy, he was in the councils of many large companies and banks. The 81-year-old politician had political experience: he was Minister of Industry and Head of the Department of Public Policy. But over the years, Savona’s views became more rigid. The candidate for Minister of Finance, proposed by anti-system parties, is not only a strong critic of the euro, but also a convinced nationalist and opponent of Germany’s policy. The media published often his statements, and in one of his scientific works he claimed that “Chancellor Angela Merkel managed to realize – though peacefully – Hitler’s plan for German hegemony in Europe”.
And since earlier Mr. Mattarella has repeatedly said about the inviolability of the European parameters for the future of Italy, he does not agree to see in the most important public posts people who lead the country in a different direction. It turns out that the prospect of forming an Italian cabinet of ministers has rested on the figure of the 81-year-old possible minister. And in whose favor this problem is resolved, it has not yet known. In any case, it is not good for the integrity of the European Union.
The process of forming the Italian Cabinet is being watched very carefully in Brussels. Because this situation can lead to another crisis in the eurozone. Let me remind you that the amount of Italy’s public debt is 130% of GDP – after Greece it is the second largest public debt among the EU countries. However, Italy ranked first among the EU debtors, given that it is the third largest economy in the eurozone.
And given the upcoming exit of Britain from the European Union (Brexit), the discontent of Poland and Hungary with the EU migration policy, the withdrawal of Washington from the Iranian nuclear deal, the trade wars with the USA, new sanctions and energy security issues, the current situation in Italy will add problems to Brussels. In addition, on May 29, at the peak of the Italian political crisis, the Project Syndicate published Soros’s comments on the possible collapse of the European Union. It may have been his doing, creating chaos in Italy. Therefore, it is quite possible that soon Rome will say “ciao” to Europe, as London has recently done…
“As we enter the year in which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70, it is abundantly clear that none of us can take our human rights for granted.”
SALIL SHETTY, SECRETARY GENERAL
The international human rights organization Amnesty International published an annual report on the state of the human rights in the world in 2017 on February 22, 2018. Human rights activists stated that 2017 demonstrated the destruction of the system of human rights protection. And this is not surprising. Since for the first time in a long time serious problems in this sphere have appeared in those countries that have always called themselves guarantors of democracy and legality: the USA, Australia and Western European countries.
According to the organization, the policy of President Donald Trump has a great impact on human rights. “Trump moved from the illegal rhetoric of discrimination and xenophobia into concrete actions threatening a major rollback on justice and freedom”. The efforts of US President Donald Trump to ban entry to all citizens of several Muslim-majority countries based on their nationality was a transparently hateful move. Among other American problems, human rights activists noted attacks on the press, disregard for women’s rights, attempts to deprive millions of people of access to health care. In addition, the United States continued frequent attacks using firearms, and death sentences continue to be carried out. We may recall public statements by representatives of the administration of Donald Trump in support of torture of terror suspects.
The main problem of 2017 was the migration crisis. This is confirmed by the terrible situation of refugees in Libya. In addition, this issue was actively used for pre-election purposes in various European countries. In Austria, France, Germany and the Netherlands, some candidates sought to transpose social and economic anxieties into fear and blame, especially against migrants, refugees and religious minorities.
A vivid example of society’s hatred of minorities was the monstrous military campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya people in Myanmar. Almost 700 thousand people were forced to leave the country, fleeing violence and murder. It was the fastest-growing refugee crisis of 2017.
In Ukraine, the organization noted further regress in respect of human rights. The main reason for the opinion of human rights activists: the pressure from the authorities and ultra-right groups to criticize the government, journalists and non-profit organizations.
The growth of hatred has also affected Russia, where we witnessed a monstrous campaign of kidnapping, torturing and killing gays in Chechnya. According to human rights activists, another serious problem is the situation of Crimean Tatar activists. The report says that any disagreement with the position of the Crimean authorities is suppressed, people are arrested, fined, and their homes are searched.
Unfortunately, the organization also pointed to a number of violations in my native Spain. Amnesty International noted that the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly of Catalan independence supporters were disproportionally restricted. Dozens of people were prosecuted for “glorification of terrorism” and “humiliation of victims” on social media. Spain relocated fewer asylum-seekers than it had pledged to under the EU relocation scheme, and resettled fewer refugees than it had committed to.
Taking into account all the above-mentioned serious problems, we should also mention remarkable achievements in the struggle for human rights that were achieved in 2017. For example, in Chile, a complete ban on abortion was lifted, Taiwan came close to recognizing same-sex marriages, in Angola, the law restricting the activities of NGOs was abolished, and residents of the Nigeria achieved a landmark victory in the fight against forced evictions.
The greatest surprise and rejection is the deterioration of the human rights situation in the United States. With the current leadership, the US gradually ceases to be guarantors of democratic rights and freedoms of its own citizens. So in the very near future Washington will lose the moral right to advise its partners how they need to act in the development of democracy. I hope that this year will enable the guarantors of democracy and legality to confirm their commitment to the idea of human rights and change their attitude to this problem. Continue reading “Amnesty International: actions of guarantors of democracy have led to the destruction of respect for the human rights”