By Dr. Jan Oberg*, TFF Director & Co-founder
Lund, Sweden, March 16, 2016 – The EUropean Union – a criminal?
The EU that has peace as it’s top goal and received Nobel’s Peace Prize?
The EU with Schengen and Dublin?
The EU with “European” values, humanism and mission civilisatrice that tells others how to live in accordance with international law and in respect for human rights?
We live in times where little shall surprise us anymore. The answer to the question – will EU become a criminal in international law terms? – will be answered on March 17 and 18 when the EU Council meets to decide whether or not to carry through the agreement with Turkey about how to handle refugees.
Amnesty International knows what it is all about. AI uses words such as “alarmingly shortsighted”, “inhumane”, “dehumanising”, “moral and legally flawed” and “EU and Turkish leaders have today sunk to a new low, effectively horse trading away the rights and dignity of some of the world’s most vulnerable people.”
And “By no stretch of imagination can Turkey be considered a ‘safe third country’ that the EU can cosily outsource its obligations to,” says Iverna McGowan, Head of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office.
When Amnesty International expresses itself this way, we should listen very very carefully. I do and I’ve signed Amnesty’s Open Letter to Swedish prime minister Löfvén protesting that Sweden too may join this inhuman and law-violating agreement with Turkey.
Hurry up, it is tomorrow!
Behind every refugee stands an arms trade, stands militarism.
A huge majority of the refugees have fled the wars conducted by irresponsible and narrow-minded EU leaders who, thereby, have already violated international law.
They continue to do so – Denmark being the latest to join the tragedy.
EU countries combined make up the largest economy in the world.
How bizarre that the EU has the resources to fight one war after the other, has huge military budgets and nuclear weapons and puts unlimited resources into wars against terror (that is, to a large extent, a response to U.S./NATO/EU foreign policies) but cowardly believes it can’t find the resources to care for 1,2 million seeking refuge among its 500 million, i.e. 0,24%!
Precisely because EU countries have caused a major part of the refugees to flee, we have a special moral obligation to a) receive them and b) learn to not start wars just like that on somebody else’s territory.
Where there is a will, there is a way. Will the EU anything good, the time is now.
There is no refugee crisis in the EU. There are several other crises:
1) A crisis caused by years of militarism;
2) A crisis of crisis management;
3) A crisis of leadership – or, with the exception of Chancellor Merkel – no leadership for common policies at all; and
4) A crisis of solidarity, humanity and ethics.
You may add a 5) the Euro-racism expressed as Islamophobia.
I am pretty sure that the EU would have acted differently if there had been a huge natural catastrophe or a nuclear power plant meltdown in Israel and 1,2 million Jews had come to Europe or if an EU country had experienced something like that in its own midst.
If on March 16-17, 2016, the EU decides to implement this immoral and law-violating agreement with increasingly authoritarian, war-fighting, terror-supporting and refugee-unsafe country Turkey, the moral decay of the Western world will be obvious.
If not to itself, then to the 92% of the world’s people living outside it.
And the EU will deserve nothing better than it own dissolution. Because it wasn’t for a better but for a worse world.
And technically – what is left when the asylum right, the Schengen and Dublin conventions etc. will be violated by the Council itself?
Either the EU is for a better world or it’s time for another Europe after it!
*Jan Oberg, Peace studies professor. PhD in sociology, peace and future researcher. Associate professor (Docent) at Lund University, thereafter visiting or guest professor at various universities. Former director of the Lund University Peace Research Institute (LUPRI); former secretary-general of the Danish Peace Foundation; former member of the Danish government’s Committee on security and disarmament.
Visiting professor at ICU (1990-91) and Chuo Universities (1995) in Japan and visiting professor for three months at Nagoya University in 2004 and 2007 and four months in 2009 – at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto. Oberg has taught peace courses for more than 10 years at the European Peace University (EPU) in Schlaining, Austria and teaches MA courses twice a year at the World Peace Academy (WPA) in Basel, Switzerland. Learn more about Jan Oberg.
About TFF: TFF is an independent think tank, a global network that aims to bring about peace by peaceful means. It inspires a passion for peace from the grassroots to the corridors of power.
TFF is an all-volunteer global network. It promotes conflict-mitigation and reconciliation in general, as well as in a more targeted way in a selected number of conflict regions – through meticulous on-the-ground research, active listening, education and advocacy. Learn more about TFF