How long will it take for the European ‘crisis’ to be re-framed as the new norm, and what are the potential consequences of that shift?
Transition, not crisis
When things go wrong, we generally tend to speak of crisis. Yet, the term ‘crisis’ refers to the ‘exceptional’, to a harmful turmoil that will sooner or later diminish to a parenthesis before returning to normality. Well, this is not the case anymore. The reality we live in is not a human rights crisis. It is a new era. It is a transition: nowhere as visible as in the collective condition of vulnerability that saturates global politics from Sub-Saharan Africa and South America to the Far and Middle East, Europe and Central Asia. Seeing the juncture as a transition, as a chain of causes and consequences, implies that we should conceptualise the ‘crisis’ as a meaningful movement away from and not toward democracy.
The United States has agreed to resettle refugees stranded in Pacific island camps after failing to reach Australia.
Under current Australian law, individuals who attempt to reach the country illegally by boat are either intercepted in the water and turned away or, if they reach the shore, are removed from Australia for processing in the impoverished nations of Papua New Guinea and Nauru, a small Pacific island.
The camps in which migrants wait for processing have been criticized by rights groups as cramped and squalid. This spring a man and a woman in Nauru set themselves on fire in protest, and many other attempts at suicide among asylum seekers have been recorded.
This week Greek officials agreed to deport a Syrian refugee back to Turkey. Without guarantees that his rights will be protected this risks contravening the EU’s established rules on asylum and human rights.
Greece is obligated to do so under the EU-Turkey deal agreed on 20 March 2016 where Turkey agreed to take back migrants and police its borders in exchange for $6bn and improved visa conditions for Turks in Europe.
The deal was intended to curb the flow of migrants arriving from Turkey to Greece and Italy. The effect has been short-lived. The recent attempted coup in Turkey led to the withdrawal of Turkish police and liaison officers from the Greek islands and saw a new rise in arrivals.