Migration crisis: how big a security threat it is?

 

 

commissioner-avramopoulos-greece-2017

Dimitris Avramopoulos, Member of the EC in charge of Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, travelled to Delphi in order to deliver a speech during the Delphi Economic Forum. © European Union , 2016 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Yorgos Karahalis.

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Mrs Lizzy Morgan. The writer is the Medsin-UK’s director of finance. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA). However, the opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

The recent refugee crisis, the largest since World War II, has triggered a lot of debate (Unicef 2016). Media outlets in the West were particularly vocal, as were politicians and humanitarian workers. These actors framed the crisis as a security problem, a phenomenon which I found particularly interesting. A situation such as this should surely be interpreted as a humanitarian emergency, but instead was manipulated to become a threat.

A report by the Cardiff School of Journalism was commissioned by UNHCR in order to explore the difference of media coverage between the UK, Spain, Italy, Germany and Sweden (Berry et al 2015). It found that UK media focussed on threat themes, for example to the welfare system, or cultural threats. In addition, out of all five countries, the UK media coverage was the most negative, and the most polarised, with right-wing media being particularly aggressive.

We can see this trend with politicians too, as they portrayed migrants as dangerous and suspicious. Conservative MP David Davies has been advocating for dental tests to prove migrants are under 18, despite arguments that such tests are inconclusive and unreliable (BBC News 2016). David Cameron, the then Prime Minister, referred to migrants as a “swarm”, before reassuring Britons that he would ensure they had a “safe and secure holiday” (The Independent 2015).

By posing the situation as a security threat, the general public of the UK are made to feel frightened about a common enemy. This common enemy therefore serves to unite the nation as very few other things can and we can see politicians taking advantage of this rare unity. The materialisations of this fear and unity are stark. They range from an increase in racially-motivated attacks, to the political result of Brexit as politicians capitalise on the national common fear to be exploited (Anon 2016).

This situation and the presentation of it as a security problem is just one sign of a much larger theme. We can see similar securitisation of the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the implications of such a trend need to be seriously considered. By viewing people as a threat, they are separated from ourselves and viewed as threatening, lesser beings, which is extremely dangerous.

These ideas can easily and rapidly morph into sinister actions of racism and hate-crime, some of which has already materialised for example with the murder of Arkadiusz Jozwik, a Polish national, on August 31st 2016 in Harlow, Essex (Anon 2016).

The migrant crisis has shown us how easy it is for humans to lose their humanity. By forgetting that migrants are desperate people who need humanitarian assistance, we have allowed them to die at our borders, and live in camps in terrible conditions.

The problem of ignoring them is only growing, with 4,690 people drowning in the Mediterranean sea in 2016, the largest number ever recorded (Ghannam 2016).The situation desperately calls for us all to see through these claims of a security threat and instead see the situation for what it is- a humanitarian disaster.

About the author

Lizzy Morgan is a Medsin-UK’s director of finance. She is currently undertaking an MA in Humanitarian and Conflict Response in Manchester, taking a break from her medical degree at the University of Leeds. She is an avid global health and running enthusiast.

Reference List

BBC News. (2016). How do you verify the age of child asylum seekers?. [online]. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-37687916 [Accessed December 29, 2016].

Anon. (2016). Hate crime: the facts behind the headlines. Civitas.

Berry M, Garcia-Blanco I, Moore K. (2015). Press Coverage of the Refugee and Migrant Crisis in the EU: A Content Analysis of Five European Countries. Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies.

Ghannam M. (2016). Search and rescue: Fear and joy on the Mediterranean. Msf.org.uk. [online]. Available from: https://www.msf.org.uk/article/search-and-rescue-fear-and-joy-mediterranean [Accessed December 29, 2016].

The Independent. (2015). David Cameron description of migrant ‘swarm’ condemned as ‘irresponsible’ and ‘extremely inflamatory’ by human rights group. [online]. Available from: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/calais-crisis-live-david-cameron-says-swarm-of-illegal-migrants-will-not-be-offered-safe-haven-10426083.html [Accessed December 29, 2016].

Unicef. (2016). UNICEF CEE/CIS – Resources – Latest on the refugee and migrant crisis. Unicef.org. [online]. Available from: https://www.unicef.org/ceecis/resources_28329.html [Accessed December 29, 2016].

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Brexit: political groups discuss options for an orderly withdrawal

A very good morning in European markets

IMF: How To Deal With Failed Banks

Service and Sacrifice: For Ghana, UN peacekeeping is a ‘noble opportunity to serve humanity’

State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into compensation for early closure of lignite-fired power plants in Germany

Rohingya cannot become ‘forgotten victims,’ says UN chief urging world to step up support

‘Nothing left to go back for’: UN News hears extraordinary stories of loss, and survival as Mozambique rebuilds from deadly cyclones

Time to be welcome: Youth work and integration of young refugees

MEPs urge the EU to lead the way to net-zero emissions by 2050

Will AI make the gender gap in the workplace harder to close?

The global issue of migration in 2017

How Pakistan is aiming for a green recovery from the pandemic

NextGenerationEU: European Commission endorses Belgium’s €5.9 billion recovery and resilience plan

In Christchurch, UN chief calls for tolerance, solidarity to extinguish ‘wildfire’ of hate speech

Commission to invest €14.7 billion from Horizon Europe for a healthier, greener and more digital Europe

Medical students: catalysts to close the gender gap

Can autonomous cars make traffic jams a thing of the past?

Russia’s permafrost is melting and it could have a devastating global effect

Why cities hold the key to safe, orderly migration

New UN book club helps children deal with global issues

“China will strive to enhance the performance of economic growth”, President Xi highlights from the World Economic Forum 2017 in Davos

Monday’s Daily Brief: US-DPRK relationship reset, ‘Horrific’ Kabul bombing, Anti-conscription plan in Syria, Climate change heat stress, Security Council in Iraq

FROM THE FIELD: Free tutorials in Mali, ‘a life-saver’ for Fatouma

European Commission Joint Research Centre opens world-class laboratories to researchers

The world condemned by neo-liberals to feed trillions to banks: the New Deal exorcised

Mergers: Commission approves the merger of Mylan and Pfizer’s Upjohn division, subject to conditions

What paleoecology can teach us about fires in the Amazon

The link between migration and technology is not what you think

Counterfeiters are taking advantage of the pandemic. Here’s how to stop them

3 reasons why civil society is essential to COVID-19 recovery

Panama’s fight for a delayed right: women’s economic independence

14 innovative projects helping to save the planet and make the world a better place

Italy can stand the US rating agencies’ meaningless degrading

Scale of displacement across Myanmar ‘very difficult to gauge’, says UN refugee agency

FROM THE FIELD: Niger supporting the most vulnerable, as crises mount

6 ways least developed countries can participate in the 4IR

UN chief calls for Security Council to work with Myanmar to end ‘horrendous suffering’ of Rohingya refugees

International partners pledge $1.2 billion to help cyclone-hit Mozambique recover, ‘build back better’

Commission welcomes agreement on the modernisation of EU export controls

One migrant child reported dead or missing every day, UN calls for more protection

Japan’s agro-food sector would benefit greatly from policies to boost innovation, entrepreneurship and sustainable resource use

UN chief ‘following very closely’ reports of chemical weapons use in Syria’s Aleppo

High-technology manufacturing saves the EU industry

5 ways to boost sustainable trade in the world’s poorest countries

The West unites against Mali desert rebels

Sweden gives all employees time off to be entrepreneurs

Happens now in Brussels: Green Week sets the EU and global climate policy agenda

5 surprising ways major cities are going green

“ASEM: Global Partners for Global Challenges”, a Sting Exclusive by China’s Ambassador to the EU

More efforts needed to boost trust in business and finance

The Swiss will pay dearly for voting out fellow Europeans

Recovery effort will fizzle out quickly if there is no long-term perspective

Global hunger is on the rise. These simple steps could help eradicate it

Women that inspire women

Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into Broadcom and sends Statement of Objections seeking to impose interim measures in TV and modem chipsets markets

From low-earth orbit, ‘envoys’ of humanity join UN space forum

This surgeon runs a makeshift hospital for over 200,000 people

European Union launches WTO trade dispute against Colombia’s unfair duties on frozen fries

Inside the battle to counteract the COVID-19 ‘infodemic’

Where are the world’s nuclear weapons?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s