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Immigration is a sensitive issue in Europe. By the end of 2016, almost 5.2 million refugees and immigrants reached Europe, coming from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries torn apart by war. The West has been able to overcome most difficulties. One of the main problems was and still is that the European Union does not have a common immigration policy regarding nationals of third countries.
Migration from Africa to Europe has received increased attention since the outbreak of the so-called “immigrant and refugee crisis” in 2015. Although emigration from Africa has increased substantially over the past decade, the proportion of emigrants relative to Africa’s total population is one of the lowest in the world. However, this doesn’t mean, it’s all under total control.
Libyan migrant crisis and “refugee camps”
Libya remains Africa’s main departure point to Europe for migrants. Africans have been coming to Libya in an effort to get across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. Most of the times – illegally.
Most refugees hope to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Italy, thousands die each year making the 300 km sea crossing. Driven by a desire to stop arrivals of illegal immigrants at all costs, EU states have offered their support to Libya without conditioning it upon strict human rights guarantees.
Libya has been accused multiple times of horrific violations against refugees and migrants. According to the Outlaw Ocean Project’s investigation, on the money of the EU that it allocated for Libya to help with the flow of migrants and refugees, a system of uncontrolled camps has been created for migrants from Africa with monstrous conditions. In other words – migrant prisons, where prisoners were forced to do labour at the facility, including cleaning weapons, storing ammunition, and offloading military shipments, according to U.N. investigators in 2019.
Refugees in Sudan
Another focal point of the tension that could possibly lead to huge migrant crisis on the African continent is the Republic of Sudan. There are at least 2.5 million IDPs and between 8 to 10 million refugees living in the territory of Sudan, as Sudan hosts refugees from Ethiopia, South Sudan, Eritrea, the Central African Republic and Chad. However, people fleeing from wars in Syria and Yemen are also pushed to find safety in Sudan.
Of the 1.1 million refugees in Sudan about 75% are from South Sudan – 51% of whom are women. Sudan is hosting the second-highest number of refugees fleeing violence in South Sudan. Eastern Sudan hosts more than 133,000 Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees and asylum seekers. Since November 2020, Ethiopian refugees from the Tigray region have been arriving in eastern Sudan, fleeing conflict in Tigray.
Considering uncertain recent conditions in Sudan, the number of refugees and migrants will probably increase. At this moment, the borders of the country are secure, but another massive flow of refugees from the African continent to Europe is hanging in the air. If the situation in Sudan becomes any more tense or Sudan overflows with refugees, these people who lost their homes, families and everything they have had, will travel to Libya to try to get to Europe to seek better lives and safety.
There is a high likelihood of another influx of migrants to Europe from Libya and Sudan. Is Europe ready and prepared to handle the flow of refugees?
By Savious Kwinika