Archive for November, 2015

The “unwanted”, EU’s illegal immigrants

November 21, 2015

In the past two weeks media has been awash with stories pertaining to the crisis of asylum seekers who are now in the EU and how to deal with them. The presence of these migrants on European soil and the rising toll of the ones drowning in the Mediterranean Sea has become a political case. This concern saw the EU and African heads of state meeting last week at the Valletta Summit on migration in Malta.

The UK’s Home Secretary, Theresa May is concerned about improving condition in Africa in order to halt Africa to Europe migration. Mrs May had this to say: “We want to work with African countries, the countries of origin, to ensure people don’t feel the need to make this journey to Europe. In the UK we are putting £200 million extra aid into Africa to help ensure we provide the circumstances that that people don’t make this journey.” And the Prime Minister, David Cameron has refused to accept a share of the thousands of immigrants who are now in the EU. EU leaders approved a €1.8 billion (£1.27 billion) Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, in return for African help in reducing migration. In response to this European “kindness”, the African government should agree to help by stemming the flow of their people to Europe. _42481600_africa_migration416x355

It is currently reported that there are approximately 1.2 million Illegal immigrants in the EU but there may be more as there are some who manage to remain under the raider. This is indeed a problem for the governments as well as these people as they are vulnerable and have almost no rights or access to what legal citizens have. There is need for a clear review into this situation.

The migration is issue could potentially increase in the near future. Nicholas Cecil, Deputy political editor at the Standard predicts that; “people will be driven to move by a clear set of phenomena: climate change destroying environments; the predicted surge in global population from 6.5 billion to about 11 billion this century the accompanying collapse in social cohesion and governance; and a condition of in several key areas of what is now termed continuous war.” In the light of this, the world needs to wake up to issues concerning practicality and principles of refugee management.

Oxford University Professor Paul Collier reckons that; dealing with this case is a tall order which is however not impossible and failure to manage the crisis will lead to a terrible waste of human lives and talent. Now is the time we all should join hands and start doing something about the illegal immigrants that I have called the “unwanted” as no country is really interested in them.

There are big questions to be asked concerning the EU motion of aid to stop Africa to Europe Migration. These include:

  • Do African countries need financial help in order to stem the flow of immigrants into Europe?
  • To what extent has past aid given to African governments been utilised to assist potential emigrants?
  • How can African governments restrict free movement of their people?
  • Are all African migrants economically motivated?
  • What kind of aid is it anyway?
  • Why not let these people start a new life for themselves away from whatever they have fled?

I believe that, giving aid to African countries in order to stop people crossing the Mediterranean seems too simplistic a solution that fails to address the underlying causes of this “mass migration” of the African population and reasons why people even risk their leaves crossing the sea in makeshift boats.

There are numerous third sector organisations that are working in with asylum seekers, stateless people, and refugees. Would it not make better sense for these rich governments to acquire land in vacant places on earth and through the already established communities among the “unwanted”, NGO’s and interested multilateral agencies establish new habitats for these people? They can be assisted with their capacity building and they can become drivers of their own development and create their own habitat.

A new form of commons can be created where power is not central but shared among all community members. It could be the first place in the modern world that this is done and can indeed be a way to see how people can fashion a life and future that is good enough for them without them being labelled “asylum seekers, stateless people or refugees”. There is enough literature in academia that can assist to drive this great cause forward.

I would be willing to work with these people create a home for themselves and start building their lives afresh. These people have got aspirations, skills, talents and these are not use to anybody in society if they are rounded up like cattle and kept in detention centres which are not too different to prisons.

Instead of aid being poured into existing African governments who have mostly dismally failed to assist their own, why not give immigrants a place to live descent lives? They are human beings after all.

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“Please take ivory poaching in Africa seriously “ plea the African community. “There’s so much more at risk!”

November 2, 2015

Poachers killed over 30,000 elephants last year and around 4 every hour this year. Elephants will be extinct within the next decade if the killing continues at this rate. Prince William recently urged Chinese citizens to stop buying illegally traded wildlife products, where ivory is of cultural importance and used for novelty items including chopsticks and statues.

Elephants dead from poaching

Elephants dead from poaching

Illegal poachers, who kill the elephants because it’s too dangerous to remove their tusks while they are still alive, do so in a variety of inhumane ways. Many poachers are essentially unskilled marksmen using underpowered rifles, which results in the elephant being severely wounded and dying a slow, painful death. Alternatively, some poachers actually use land mines to hunt ivory, resulting in the elephant not being killed instantly due to it’s size, and consequently bleeding out over many days or dying of infection first. Some poachers dump cyanide into watering holes, killing not only elephants, but every animal that drinks there.

Elephant poaching happens in many African countries, but largely in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, and in light of the severity of elephant poaching, Guardian columnist and wildlife activist Dr. Paula Kahumbu, also a Kenyan native, penned a damning commentary questioning why African leaders are silent on the subject of animal poaching.

Whilst Dr. Kahumbu did not necessarily answer the question, I was left pondering whether action had not been taken due to poaching only having a negative affect on the elephants themselves. But this is not so. Wildlife poaching has negative affects on not only wildlife populations, but also the environment and consequently, the local communities too.

Elephants are ecologically important as they are responsible for the distribution of plant seeds, so extinction, or even a reduction in elephants, will have a negative impact on local vegetation, affecting the food supplies of other animals and the local community.

Additionally, wildlife tourism plays a vital role in the local and national economies of some of the African countries where poaching is most prevalent. Therefore economic hardship resulting from a loss of wildlife is a possibility. If Safari tours lose business, so do local restaurants, hotels, airports and a multitude of other businesses. It is the local community that whose livelihoods and welfare depend on the animals who will suffer first.

Distressingly, some of those illegally poaching are people from the local community, with poaching being more lucrative than other jobs that are available in the region for the locals. But it is not only those simply looking to earn a wage to survive that are poaching. In her call for action, Kahumbu states that poaching’s highly profitable proceeds (with demand being so high and supply low) fund criminal and terrorist activities. In late 2013, the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya was attacked by terrorists, which Kahumbu believes may have been funded in such a way. Apparently, al Qaida alone raises $600,000 a month from poaching to fund its activities. And Nigeria’s Boko Haram is targeting elephants in Cameroon.

Henceforth, it can be assumed that the affects of elephant poaching on the populations where poaching is prominent indeed has a range of negative socio-economic impacts on the local community and the country as a whole. Why then are the African leaders and governments still silent when the monarchs and governments of the international community are responding? Could it possibly be that the personal profit gained by these leaders and need for capital to fund their wars is more appealing than eradicating the negative affects for these animals and the communities that these leaders are supposed to serve? This may possibly be the case. Still, others fight on in the bid to save the elephants and the communities who rely on them. The African leaders may be silent, but with this petition, you don’t have to be!