The recent interventions of David Milband and Angeline Jolie Pitt in the debate about refugees are timely and appropriate.
The refugee system across the world is in crisis, at a time when we can expect massive increases in the numbers, due to increasing effects of global warming and related warfare. Chickens are coming home to roost.
As Miliband says,
- There are currently 60 million displaced persons around the world.
- The average time someone remains a refugee is 17 years.
- A total of 80% of refugees have remained without any economic status for over a decade.
As Jolie Pitt says
- people feel “angry” and “cheated” by the huge numbers crossing borders around the world… eroding public confidence in the ability of institutions in power to deal with the issue.
- It has created the risk of a race to the bottom, with countries competing to be the toughest in the hope of protecting themselves whatever the cost or challenge to their neighbours and despite their international responsibilities.
It seems a time when political ‘leaders’ lack vision and empathy. Why don’t we give the UN the resources to really get on and solve the problem, before it gets many times worse – and if necessary create ‘new frontiers’ that will provide a good living and employment and education for all refugees. Central Asia has been mentioned, but there must be other possibilities such as greening and solar farming parts of the Sahara.
Is there really a problem of resources? This is the United Nations of the Earth! Try a simple thought experiment. Each central bank, at the same time, ‘creates’ say 1% of its annual money supply (out of thin air) and puts it in an account to be spent by the UN. Since it happened to all currencies at the same time there can be little effect of devaluing one against another.
Maybe not the right answer, but it shows that the problem is one of political will, and is not insoluble. But of course it would depend on a massive parallel effort to keep corruption in check.
Retreating inside the walls of our nation-state-egos [eg Brexit] might make us feel temporarily safe, but is long-term self-defeating in a world that will become increasingly unstable because of this lack of empathy.
Everyone deserves a decent life.
Featured image of Rwandan refugee camp in Zaire by CDC [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons