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City of Banjul
Monday, January 18, 2021

Enough of the suicidal migration

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 The situation could not be any worse and it is a pity that despite such tragic accidents, many more are still determined to make the journey.

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Certainly, these tragedies indict the leadership of the countries from which these throngs of people come. It is the best manifestation of the hopelessness of youth in those countries. The mass deaths of more and more migrants on the sea-crossing from Libya to Italy have managed to make the North African country a pivot in the biggest global refugee crisis since World War Two. 

 

Libya has become a springboard for migrant exodus. There has been no effective government since the 2011 uprising that drove out Col Muammar Gaddafi. Instead, there are hundreds of different armed groups fighting for territory and influence. The groups are divided along ideological and regional lines, and have the support of competing foreign governments – a recipe for civil war. 

 

In this way, human trafficking has flowered in such climate. Smugglers, believed to have links to the militias, are making huge profits from packing desperate migrants into unsafe boats bound for Europe. But before reaching Libya, these people will have trekked across the desert or travelled by other means for many days before getting on the boat to the land of promise.

 

Expectedly, distress calls have been made by European leaders to check such tragic incidents. Italian Prime Minister Mateo Renzi has led the calls and demanded a summit on the issue. He was consistent in the view that trafficking was the slavery of the 21st century while bemoaning the lack of solidarity. Other European leaders argue that trafficking was a plague in their continent. 

 

It should be mentioned that the continent’s scramble for solutions has not been entirely satisfactory. There has been an obvious division between rescuing and policing and this has continued to characterise the debate amid the further deaths of migrants. It is therefore clear that Europe is simply not doing enough to save the lives of these helpless African migrants.

 

Undoubtedly, this new wave of migration has been left to fester.  Given that these migrants often come from Africa and Asia, they must urgently pool resources and ideas to successfully tackle it. The African Union should see this menace as a continental challenge. The suicidal attempts to reach Europe can only be reversed by investing substantially in job creation and equipping young people with skills to enable them to earn a decent living at home. Enough of this suicidal migration!

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