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Thursday / April 18.

Human Rights for Refugees: The Trick of Our Time

by Taha Salim

Does the EU consider refugees as a part of the human race? Do refugees in the EU enjoy the most basic conditions of living, such as food and housing? How do refugee and asylum organisations treat refugees?

After the conflicts, and the political and sectarian wars that put a real life threat to human lives in some Arab countries – including Iraq, Syria and Yemen- thousands of citizens took refuge in the European Union in order to save their lives, after the European Union fill our heads with talk about human rights and humanitarianism.

After we fled war, oppression and destruction,  we were in search of a safe place using every element of life that remained alive in us, a life that includes a little respect and a little sense of dignity.

We came to Europe loaded with hopes, dreams, and dignity.  But it all crashed after the first scream at our faces from police officers. They saw the fear in our eyes and smiled as if they could feed on our fear and weakness, as if they had found easy prey to catch.

We came to Europe and faced a second death, with the misery of the road and the danger of the sea. We arrived in Europe and we were shocked by the bitter reality—human rights is nothing but April’s fools: a lie as long as the length of the year, a lie imposed on the weak. When our reception was composed of screams, we became certain that the rest of the days would be worse. It was then confirmed for me that human rights are nothing but lies.

We do not deny that the European Union is better than the stable Arab countries, who closed their borders on us. The European Union opened its doors, but closed its pockets. European governments opened their eyes to watch us, but closed their hearts when we asked for help.

We were shaking with fear of war, and now are shivering from cold. We live in large tents and containers where temperatures drop below zero. We queue for two hours for each meal just to silence our stomach from hunger. There are frequent quarrels and fighting between refugees because of the shortage in housing and food centers for everyone. As a result of this policy, Europeans citizens and governments say that refugees are underdeveloped, trapped in a never ending circle of violence.

This is our reality: poor living conditions; difficult psychological situation caused by the images of killing and destruction in our mind; the lack of health care and the neglect by the countries of reception; the spread of diseases, especially among children and the elderly, prompting some to try to commit suicide. I am sorry for the whole humanity because certainly animals get better living conditions than refugees, as they at least enjoy sufficient food and access to adequate health care.

At present, refugees are not a part of the human race, nor any other faction. Most of the transactions between European citizens and immigration and asylum organization workers with refugees are based on a racial hierarchy; where refugees cannot enter some places as if they were of a lower degree than Europeans. As if the Europeans were made of gold and the refugees made of coal.

The expression “human rights” is meaningless. These are words spoken by European governments. The refugees believed in it, but they were deceived.