The Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Jan Eliasson, granted an interview to AGERPRES in which he speaks of the migration crisis in Europe in the context of the worsening situation in the Middle East, but also the role of the media in reflecting global events.
On the causes of the migration phenomenon, the Deputy Secretary General presented a formula established by the UN in 2005-2006 to define conflict that could very well be the keystone to the phenomenon. “[T]here is no peace without development and there is no development without peace and there is none of the above without respect for human rights,” said the Secretary General.
AGERPRES: Migration is a problem that has become very important in the past few months since the beginning of the year and now with the crisis in Syria that is even more complicated, with the context in Iraq, Iran. How do you think this migration crisis could affect the effective implementation of the Agenda 2030?
Jan Eliasson: Well, it might have some indirect consequences on the agenda of 2030, but I think that if you look at it in the short-term and medium-term, we need to focus on the three aspects of migration: what is the situation of the countries of destination and that’s where Europe has its debate — mostly how to receive and how many to receive. The second aspect is the countries of transit — how do we organize this flow of refugees from, let’s say, Libya, but also now growing from Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan, so that we may have an orderly transfer of refugees. That is not easy, particularly in Libya, where the situation is so unclear and dangerous, I would say. The third dimension is the countries of origin and that leads us immediately to the discussion of rules.
There are many reasons to end this war — the suffering of the Syrian people, the pressure on the neighboring countries, the fact that ISIS (Daesh) is expanding and taking territory both in Syria and Iraq. That should’ve been enough, but now we also have the flow of refugees through Europe creating important socio-economic and political strains, apart from dealing with stranded people.
The migration issue has brought up for the United Nations these three dimensions that we must deal with — all these three categories of countries that I mentioned—, plus dealing most seriously with the root causes. Apart from the war in Syria being a cause of the flow of refugees, you have also the fact that we do not receive more than around 40% of the assistance, the money we need for doing our programs in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey. This means that the conditions of life for people in those countries where they first enter are so poor that they continue to travel to Europe.
I heard about a family who went from Aleppo because their five children couldn’t go to school, none of them could go to school in Aleppo. They fled to Lebanon, in Baalbek, and there the schools were overcrowded, so they couldn’t take their kids to school which was the primary reason for them to leave. So they continued to Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and so forth. Because we didn’t have enough assistance to Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey to make the lives reasonably well for them to stay until hopefully, one day, we will see normalization. So that’s my take on migration. We will continue to be active, of course with UNHCR in the lead, but several other parts of the UN system will be involved. More…