International Community Reacts To Migrant Crisis, But Challenges Remain

Almost a week after a photo of a 3-year old Syrian boy was featured on the front pages of newspapers and websites across the globe, leaders began to react.

Pope Francis implored Catholic institutions throughout Europe to show mercy to the flood of refugees arriving on their shores by offering them shelter.

“I appeal to the parishes, the religious communities, the monasteries and sanctuaries of all Europe to … take in one family of refugees,” he said after his Sunday address in the Vatican.

There are more than 25,000 parishes in Italy alone, and more than 12,000 in Germany, according to the Huffington Post.
After Hungary agreed to grant passage to migrants and refugees,  thousands began arriving in Germany, which has been the most welcoming of the European nations. But, some found a disturbing hypocrisy and concern in the world’s belated response.
Rather than offering praise for Europeans newly-found compassion, Washington Post Anne Applebaum last week decried their hypocrisy on the issue of refugees.
“Although the photographs are indeed terrible, they aren’t actually telling us anything new. Refugees have been crossing the Mediterranean for months. Hundreds have died. Also, if we are disturbed by a dead child on a beach, why aren’t we disturbed by another dead child in a bombed-out house in Aleppo, Syria?” she asked.
More broadly, Applebaum said the refugee crisis is a consequence of Europe’s unwillingness to lead.
“At different times and for different reasons, all of the large European states — Britain, France, Italy, Germany — have blocked attempts to create a common foreign and defense policy, and as a result they have no diplomatic or political clout,” she wrote before concluding that “the consequences are literally washing up on Europe’s shores” – a reference to the 3-year old Syrian boy whose body washed ashore on a Turkish beach.
 A similar point was made by Telegraph columnist Janet Daley in noting that the West has n obligation to care for those whom it misled when promises to deal with Assad were made years ago. But, she added, taking in migrants without providing for safe transport only encourages more to venture on a dangerous journey. She said British Prime Minister David Cameron’s alternative to allow supervised transit – only from UN centers in the region rather than from the migrant camps already in Europe was a better option.
She also was not among those applauding German Angela Merkel’s “brave” decision to open the borders, but not because of protectionist beliefs.

“The nations of the old Soviet bloc which are struggling to get their fledgling economies established are being turned into a chaotic corridor for waves of migrants seeking the benevolence of rich, secure countries like Germany and Sweden,” she noted.

As Paul Valleley point out in the Times of Oman, there are two outstanding problems – how to dissuade refugees from leaving and how to keep them close to their home countries so they can return when fighting abates. Britain, for example, has been far more willing to provide aid to Jordan and Turkey to care for refugees than other nations.

There are challenges facing leaders across the globe that cannot be explained in a single, tragic photo of a dead child.

Lu Jun, China’s Most Feared Social Activists
As the leader of an influential Chinese nonprofit called Yirenping, Lu Jun has become a primary target in Beijing’s campaign against Western values.

By influencing government policy on labor and domestic abuse through the effective use of stunt-based protests , Jun has had a real impact.

“This is a man who has improved the lives of millions of people,” Ira Belkin, an expert in Chinese law and civil society at New York University’s U.S.-Asia Law Center, tells The Wall Street Journal.

US Cautions Russia On Engagement With Syria
Secretary of State John Kerry called his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Lavrov, to discuss reports of an imminent Russian military buildup in Syria and to issue a warning to them.

“The secretary made clear that if such reports were accurate, these actions could further escalate the conflict, lead to greater loss of innocent life, increase refugee flows and risk confrontation with the anti-ISIL Coalition operating in Syria,” the State Department added, according to The New York Times.

In recent days, the Russians have sent a military advance team to Syria, which many consider to be signs Russian President Vladimir Putin intends to vastly expand his military support for President Bashar al-Assad.

 

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