>The first step absolutely required to solve any problem is the proper definition of that problem. If we fail to understand the dimensions of the problem, how can we possibly expect to find any solutions? Thus, the mistaken definition and misunderstanding of the present World Refugee Crisis lead to ineffective solutions, some of which actually exacerbate the tragedy of the situation. Consider the following:
1) The present World Refugee Crisis is, indeed, worldwide -- it is not just Middle Eastern or pan-European in nature, it is global.
2) The World Refugee Crisis is likely to become the major human tragedy of this century, unless effective measures are taken now.
3) The advanced nations of the world, particularly in Europe, have failed to develop such effective measures, trying instead to just tighten up borders, discourage migrants, provide minimal relief, intimidate refugees via troops and police, and even ignore the entire situation. These reactions obviously vary from nation to nation, but at best they are inadequate, and at worst they are shameful.
The results of these policies are now seen every day on television, in news media, and in social media as well. Within just the past few days, some seventy migrant bodies are found in a truck in Austria, hundreds of refugees drown in the Mediterranean, a tide of humanity attempts to cross the Channel via the tunnel between France and England, while tens of thousands of refugees are living on the edge. Those tens of thousands of migrants will likely grow to hundreds of thousands over the next few months. The result, as matters stand, will be increasingly harsh measures taken in a futile attempt to control this vast tide of humanity, which is mainly seeking to survive the atrocities in their home countries. That approach is not only ineffective, it is intolerable.
The World Refugee Crisis can only be solved by the world body tasked to handle global human issues: the United Nations. The cynics will of course say that the UN has a poor track record in the handling of migration issues, which is both true and untrue. Certainly, the UN could and should have done more to resolve Twentieth Century refugee crises, particularly in Africa and in Eastern Europe. Even so, there is a learning curve at the United Nations, and the past is not a sure guide to the future. For starters, the UN should convene an immediate worldwide conference of refugee and migration experts who can brainstorm the problem and its potential solutions, along with the costs of each of those solutions. This conference should include not only academic specialists in population migration, but leaders from all of the major nations affected by the crisis -- including those nations with fleeing populations.
The urgent recommendations which emerge from this conference should be implemented via both the established United Nations agencies handling refugee problems on a much smaller scale, and by the establishment of a new UN body with all the necessary resources to handle the broader aspects of the situation. This new UN Migration Mitigation entity should coordinate on the highest levels with the European Union, and all other nations and bodies seeking to assist with the present refugee crisis. The need is urgent, the goals can be made clear, and the refugee crisis can be reduced to manageable proportions -- if we only have the will to do so. The world must have that will.
Eugene Elander has been a progressive social and political activist for decades. As an author, he won the Young Poets Award at 16 from the Dayton Poets Guild for his poem, The Vision. He was chosen Poet Laureate of (more...)