The recent tragedy of migrants landing on the coast of Agrigento, Sicily, serves as a chilling reminder of the ongoing migration crisis in Europe. The loss of a Tunisian man’s life underscores the urgent need for a more compassionate and effective approach to irregular migration. In a recent article, journalist Vanessa Tomassini explores the insights of immigration expert Aleksandar Stojicevic, who raises concerns about the dangerous rhetoric and policies being adopted by European governments. Stojicevic emphasizes the shared responsibility of nations in addressing the root causes of this crisis.
Stojicevic, a respected Canadian immigration lawyer, firmly believes that Europe’s immigration policies are fueling hostility towards asylum seekers. He argues that governments’ focus on expulsion and assimilation fails to distinguish between legal obligations under international treaties and genuine security concerns. This approach not only undermines public trust in immigration systems but also puts the lives of those seeking asylum at risk.
Stojicevic, the son of refugees in Canada himself, asserts that European countries, including the United Kingdom, have not fulfilled their international obligations in managing irregular migration. The lack of solid procedures for the expulsion of rejected refugee applicants and ineligible migrants only exacerbates public mistrust in immigration systems. This failure ultimately allows dangerous populist rhetoric to gain traction, harkening back to dark times in history.
To address the migration crisis, Stojicevic emphasizes the urgent need for European countries to collaborate and establish adequate reception centers. These centers would provide individualized treatment and access to proper legal immigration advice, discouraging perilous journeys across the Mediterranean. Furthermore, Stojicevic stresses the importance of expanded and systemic cooperation between Europe, the UK, Canada, and the United States. Rather than cutting aid and development assistance, these nations should take responsibility for addressing the underlying causes of irregular migration, such as food insecurity, climate change, and war.
The Italy-Africa conference in Rome on January 28-29, 2024 is seen as an opportunity to address these pressing issues. Stojicevic calls for the participation of various international organizations to discuss migration and develop effective solutions.
Vanessa Tomassini is journalist and correspondent in Tunisia. She is the author of two books and her articles have appeared in local newspapers and international press.
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