Petition calls for Greek islanders to be nominated for Nobel

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Petition calls for Greek islanders to be nominated for Nobel

Postby admin » Fri Mar 25, 2016 2:52 am

Petition calls for Greek islanders to be nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
By Tim Hume, CNN
January 24, 2016

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A Greek doctor consoles a woman holding her child in an emergency blanket on the Greek island of Lesbos.

(CNN)Residents of the Greek islands have found themselves on the front lines of Europe's migration crisis, rescuing, feeding and sheltering hundreds of thousands of desperate migrants who found their way to their shores.

Now an online petition has been launched calling for the efforts of these "unsung heroes" on islands in the Aegean Sea to be recognized with a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The petition, on the Avaaz website, is addressed to the Norwegian Nobel Committee and Greece's Immigration Minister Ioannis Mouzalas and had attracted more than 288,000 signatures by Sunday.

It reads:

"Ordinary residents of Greek islands and other volunteers have been on the front lines of Europe's refugee crisis for months, opening up their hearts and homes to save hundreds of thousands fleeing war and terror.

"For their compassion and courage, for treating those in danger with humanity, and for setting an example for the rest of the world to follow, we citizens around the world, nominate these brave women and men for a Nobel Peace Prize.

"Nobody is more deserving of such honor than these unsung heroes."

A message from the petition's authors on the page said Mouzalas had indicated that Greece's government would consider backing the petition.

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Discarded life jackets line the rocky shores of Lesbos, Greece on September 10, 2015

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A refugee sleeps near the port of Mytilini on September 9, 2015 in Lesbos. He's one of thousands of migrants who have landed on the island's shores, after boarding inflatable boats from Turkey.

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Long queues form as refugees wait to receive food in a park near the port of Mytilini, Lesbos. Many arrive wet, hungry and tired after paying huge amounts of money to risk their lives on small, crowded boats.

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Local relief agencies work to feed the migrants before they make their onward journey. The U.N. says approximately 50 boats of migrants land on Lesbos each day, depositing from 1,500 to 3,000 new immigrants.

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Traffickers charge each migrant $1,350 to board inflatable boats from Turkey. Often they're overcrowded, and make take on water along the way. This boat arrived on September 9.

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Many of the migrants have cell phones, loaded with the phone numbers of Greek rescue authorities so they can come to their aid. Facebook pages also give migrants advice on what to do when they arrive.

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A woman cries after arriving on the island of Lesbos, after crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey on a dinghy

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Migrants buy tents to make their journey more comfortable. A Facebook page for refugees even tells them what sort to buy and where. Here, a migrant looks out to sea.

The deadline for nominations is February 1. The petition's authors urged supporters to spread the petition, in hope of securing 1 million signatures before the deadline.

Nobel prizes are awarded only to individuals and organizations, so the official nominee would likely be the volunteer networks that organize to support and comfort the migrants.

More than 1 million migrants entered Europe in "irregular arrivals" last year, most fleeing conflict, persecution and poverty in the Middle East and Africa, according to the International Organization for Migration.

The overwhelming majority of migrants -- more than 80% -- arrived in Europe by way of Greece, the IOM said, before setting off to their target destinations.

The wave of migrants has made the Mediterranean "the deadliest route for migrants on our planet," the IOM's Director General William Lacy Swing has said, with nearly 3,700 people drowning in its waters last year.

On Greek islands such as Lesbos, piles of discarded life jackets are a sign of the constant stream of new arrivals.
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Re: Petition calls for Greek islanders to be nominated for N

Postby admin » Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:45 am

The Migrant Crisis in Europe: What Will 2018 Bring?
by Ljubinko Zivkovic
January 15, 2018

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As 2017 drew to a close, the migrant crisis in Europe quietly slipped away from the main media headlines around the world. That might be based on the impression that the measures undertaken in 2017 by the European Union (EU) and some of its member countries have alleviated a pressing problem and that the migrants from the Middle East and Africa are not at European borders anymore in such staggering numbers. For example, according to official Italian data, the arrivals of immigrants to that country have dropped by 70% in the last six months of 2017 compared to the same period in the year that preceded it. Also, the information campaign undertaken by the German government to dissuade migrants from entering and settling in that country may have given initial results.

However, the number of migrants that have already reached Europe and those still waiting to reach its borders is staggering, the resentment towards migrants and the open questions connected to their long-term stay are still on the rise in a number of European countries, and there still seems to be no coherent long-term EU policy for the migrant problem. As such, this is still a ticking political and economic bomb waiting for a full blast.

The Numbers Speak for Themselves

While the migrant question might not be currently on the front pages, political and economic circles within the EU and Europe are quite aware of the magnitude of the problem. However, the differences on how to approach and attempt to solve the crisis are still there and might even be widening.

The numbers themselves are quite staggering. According to the information presented by the UN Migration Agency in its 2018 report, by 2015 the number of migrants reached almost 40 million people. By the end of 2017, according to a classified German government report, more than 2.5 million people across the Middle East (one million in Libya alone) would still be waiting to cross into Europe.

Based on research by the Pew Institute, there has been a visible rise in the population of a number of European countries due to incoming migrants. In Sweden, Austria and Norway that rise amounted to 1% of the overall population and according to the German Daily “Die Welt”, 18.6 million German residents (one-fifth of the country’s population) come from migrant backgrounds.

The numbers also show the heavy toll the migrant crisis is having on public finances among the European countries. In 2016, the German federal government devoted 21.7 billion euros to combat the problem. Italy announced that in 2017 it would spend 4.2 billion euros on migrants, while the single action of fencing the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla on its territory in Northern Africa will cost the Spanish government 12 million euros.

Deepening of Political Rifts within the EU

As was to be expected, the migrants themselves exert the largest pressure, first on the countries that represent the entry points into the EU (Spain, Italy, Greece, Hungary, Bulgaria) and then on the countries where they would prefer to settle (Germany, France, Britain and most of the other Western EU members).

This has caused yet another bone of contention among the EU members, particularly concerning the so-called ‘Dublin Regulation’ and the established quota system of migrants that the key countries that receive migrants would like to see changed. On the other hand, most Eastern EU members are resisting any changes that would see them receive more migrants, with Hungary and Poland leading in that respect. The resurgence of more conservative governments in countries like Austria and the continuing Brexit talks will bring further elements that would make the process of finding other long-term solutions even harder. There are other problems that could further complicate these discussions. The most mentioned one is the ever-present question of security and possible terrorist threats originating from members of extremist groups entering Europe under the migrant guise. The operating entry databases aren’t fully functional, and there are complaints among some EU members such as Germany that countries like Greece, Italy or Hungary “are either unwilling or unable to detect illegal migrants or properly register asylum seekers”.

Another would be how to relieve the pressure on the shoulders of countries that are the key entry points to EU – those on the shores of Northern Africa, Turkey, and in the Western Balkans. While the EU was able to make a deal with Turkey concerning the migrants, The African Union-European Union (AU-EU) summit held at the end of November 2017 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast didn’t produce any meaningful results.

Conclusion

By all indications, the problem of the migrant crisis for the EU is far from being resolved and the current ‘stand-by’ will only compound problems. The large numbers of migrants already waiting to enter the EU might only increase further with any possible political flare-up in the Middle East or Africa. And this could bring rise to more essential problems as enumerated in the IAS report:

* Food insecurity on a global level.
* Unemployment of indigenous inhabitants.
* Law and order complications in target countries.
* Difficulty in providing shelter and basic healthcare facilities.

Even with no political or military upheavals, the trend of migration towards EU countries is bound to continue. As German Development Minister Gerd Muller said: “The biggest migration movements are still ahead: Africa’s population will double in the next decades. A country like Egypt will grow to 100 million people, Nigeria to 400 million. In our digital age with the internet and mobile phones, everyone knows about our prosperity and lifestyle.” By all accounts, as far as the migration crisis is concerned, 2018 will be yet another year of uncertainty.
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