The shipwrecks in Kythira and Lesvos have come to remind us of the harsh reality faced by a person who is forced to flee his homeland.
How many dead, how many missing, how many fellow human beings have suffered on the refugee journey? Those who succeeded and are still alive today, were left behind to count the losses. Relatives, familiars, friends…. For us a dead person, a missing person, is not a stranger, a simple number. It is the reminder of the trauma of uprooting and the refugee journey.
Unfortunately, everything that happened in Kythira and Lesvos is a continuation of everything that is taking place both on the land and on the water borders. The tensions at the borders of the countries through which the refugee routes take place always have the refugees as victims. Geopolitical conflicts put people on the run and push them on a journey where they themselves recognize that the chances of losing their lives are divided. This is the extent of the desperation of people seeking peace.
The roots of the problem lie in the countries of origin of the refugees themselves. Restoring peace and security in these areas will significantly reduce the human suffering of the dangerous travel. After all, this is what the refugees themselves hope and dream of; not to be forced to leave their home, their land.
However, the international community’s attitude towards human suffering must be compatible with what international human rights law stipulates. Access to asylum is a basic and fundamental right for all people and its unhindered application reflects at the core of human values.
As an association of refugee communities, we grieve together with the relatives, loved ones and friends of the missing, we mourn with those who lost their people, we are concerned about the continuous curtailment of fundamental human rights.
Let us be honest and wonder, who wishes to be a refugee?
Photo credits: Giorgos Moutafis / The Other Half