France: Latest editorial from Pax Christi France's newsletter examines the refugee crisis
by Catherine Billet, Pax Christi France
24/6/18 - In partnership with several movements and associations, including Pax Christi, a symbolic solidarity march with migrants left Ventimiglia on April 30 to reach Calais and London, for an arrival scheduled July 8. More than fifty motivated people have each day chosen to slip their footsteps into those of migrants. This journey of 1400 km in 60 stages over 70 days has already been marked by several milestones in Nice, Marseille, Lyon, and Paris.
This citizens' initiative is the culmination of several years of debate about the flow of refugees arriving on our shores. The question of local solidarity today transcends our borders and creates cracks in the European landscape, even retreats of identity and nationalism, sometimes tensions, such as that revealed by the rejection of one side to another of the Aquarius, abandoned at sea with 629 people on board, while it can only accommodate 500.
The policy pursued today by France and Europe aims to stop migration flows. This goes through a kind of "migratory deterrence" which itself is displayed by the refusal to dock, but can we let the Mediterranean become a great tomb? We must not forget that more than eight hundred people have already died in 2018, more than three thousand last year. Is it acceptable?
It is also evident in the referrals to Libya. Many NGOs have denounced the conditions under which migrants live in Libya, and the horrors they suffer, but Europe continues to hand over migrants to their tormentors who will imprison them and ransom their families. Is it acceptable? This is also part of domestic politics...