Conflict Alerts

Conflict Alerts is an initiative that maps ongoing events in conflict hotspots around the world. It covers important issues concerning human right violations, migration, environment, gender, ethnic conflicts and terrorism among others.

Conflict alert is a 2-minute read, to give the reader an understanding of issues at large and perspectives, contributed by young scholars in 300-500 words. Write upsin this section follow a structured approach, initially explaining the event, followed by the issue at large and the scholar’s perspective. It delivers news with a scholarly touch.

For more information, kindly send an email to Prof D. Suba Chandran, at subachandran@gmail.com.

August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 10

Myanmar: The Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh say no to repatriation

August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 9

Africa to be Polio Free

August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 8

Sudan: Political Transition and the challenges to Peace

August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 7

Myanmar: Teenage girls traded as brides to China

 

Conflict Alerts # 10, 31 August 2019

Myanmar: The Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh say no to repatriation
Abigail Miriam Fernandez 

In the news

After reaching a bilateral agreement, Bangladesh and Myanmar were to start repatriating Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar's Rakhine state on 22 August 2019. However, the Cox Bazar refugee camp in Bangladesh strongly resisted this move with not even a single one coming to board the buses and trucks that were lined up to take them across the border. Many refugees fled and went into hiding because of the fear that they would be forced to go back. 

This effort is the second time in less than a year that the government plans has failed when it comes to the repatriation of these refugees.

Abul Kalam, Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner for Bangladesh stated that Myanmar had cleared 3450 people to return. He also further stated that they could return up to 300 people per day with all infrastructure and logistics in place to ensure safe repreparation. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) assisting Dhaka in the return process assessed the readiness of those on the list to go back, UNHCR's Senior Regional Public Information Officer Caroline Gluck stated that the refugees had the right to decide without any pressure. The Agency went on to further state that not a single Rohingya refugee interviewed showed a willingness to repatriate any time soon and they when on to reiterated their demand for citizenship before repatriation. 

 

Issues at large

The issue dates back to 25 August 2017, when Rohingya militants attacked police posts causing harm and death to several officers. This led to the authorities burning down villages, civilian attacks and many other atrocities. The United Nations stated that it was a "textbook example" of ethnic cleansing and the Rohingyas' call it a "Genocide Remembrance Day". This caused about 750000 to flee their native state and move into parts of Bangladesh and India. 

Bangladesh earlier this year said that it could no longer accept any more refugees as it was becoming a burden for them. In January 2018, a repatriation deal was signed, however, it failed to materialize because once again the Myanmar government has denied the demands if the Rohingyas' which is their demand for integrated citizenships as well as the return of lands, and for military leaders to be held accountable for abuses. Myanmar has offered to allow the Rohingya, freedom of movement if they accept a national ID card called the Rohingya National Verification Cards (NVCs), which Rohingya believe would mean accepting their status as illegal immigrants. 

Adding to the unstable conditions is ongoing fighting between Rakhine rebels, the Arakan Army and the Myanmar military and the suspicion between Dhaka and Naypyidaw.

 

In perspective

The repatriation process has been unsuccessful solely because of Myanmar's failure to reach an agreement with the refugees themselves, there have been no evident changes that the government of Myanmar has taken to convince the people to come back to their state. Unless a conducive environment is created where the Rohingyas have their fundamental rights and basic needs guaranteed any repatriation process would remain unsuccessful. Thus, there needs to be adequate measure by Myanmar to see that the demands of the refugees are met.

The international community and institutions that have been a part of this crisis should continue to exert pressure on Myanmar to see that the UN and aid workers, as well as representatives of the Rohingya refugees, are allowed to go to Rakhine and examine the issue so that measure could be taken to solve the problem. Countries like China and Bangladesh that have an impact on Myanmar should continue to ensure that Myanmar is doing everything in their capacity to ensure safe repatriation. However, at the same time precaution should be taken for big power involvement could do more harm than good. 

However, when looking at the situation and the stances that are held presently there seems to be an uncertainty about whether if the Rohingyas will return to a changed Myanmar, being left without any promising measure the stateless community may only face graver problems.

Abigail Miriam Fernandez is pursuing post-graduation in Stella Maris College, Chennai. She can be reached at fernandezabigail123@gmail.

Conflict Alerts # 9, 24 August 2019

Africa to be Polio Free
Sukanya Bali

In the news

In a WHO ministerial meeting on Wednesday, the regional director on Africa said that Nigeria will soon be certified as wild-polio-free. The region has completed its 3 years free from endemic polio and if no-cases are further registered in the next 6 months in Nigeria, the entire African continent will become free from polio virus.  

Issues at large

Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria were the last countries identified under the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, out of which Nigeria is on the verge of being free from polio virus.

The continent is prone to outbreaks, which is a result of ill-effects of governance and lack of coordination among organisations in providing proper health care facilities for the people. The reported cases of endemic diseases could be substantially less than the actual, as it may affect the nations travel, tourism and foreign investments.

In 2012, Nigeria accounted for more than half of the world’s polio cases. The lack of immunization programs, awareness camps and investment in public health care facilities has created a vacuum between government and people. However, in the last 3 years, restoring people’s trust in medical facilities has been a major concern and outreach strategy for health care services.

In perspective

The certification would guarantee, Africa to be wild-polio-virus free. It would join four of the other WHO regions- Europe, America, Western-Pacific and South East Asia, that are polio-free. The significant milestone set by the African government in achieving a polio-free nation should further encourage them to fight the prevailing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

African countries should focus on enriching facilities of public-health-emergency and surveillance to track down virus’ spreading in the region. Heavy investments and vigilante governance, is necessary to fight against diseases around the world. Social stigma, lack of awareness and poor governance, often hinder states from prospering in its public health.

In the several months ahead, Africa should keep a strict check on its population to be officially labelled as a polio-free region but greater is the responsibility of the government to prevent a relapse of wild polio.

Sukanya Bali is a Research Consultant at International Strategic and Security Studies Program, National Institute of Advanced Studies. She can be reached at sukanya9494@gmail.com

Conflict Alerts # 8, 24 August 2019

Sudan: Political Transition and the challenges to Peace
Abigail Miriam Fernandez

In the news

Sudan has witnessed several shifts that would enable the country to move towards civilian rule this week. It began with a power-sharing deal that was reached on 17 August 2019 between Sudan’s military and civilian leaders that is, between the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the Freedom and Change (FFC) which is an alliance of protesters and opposition parties.

The agreement signed gave way for a transitional government to be led by Abdalla Hamdok, an economist, who would take power on the first of September. The new administration is to also replaces the military leadership that ousted Bashir in April and is expected to govern for just over three years until elections can be held. Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, is to lead the governing council for the first 21 months.

On 22 August 2019, Abdalla Hamdok was chosen by the protest movement to be the Prime Minister and he took the oath late that afternoon. He has 21 days to form a 20-member cabinet excluding the interior minister and defence minister who would be picked by the soldiers that are on the sovereign council. Along with this, the sovereign council was inaugurated, this council would comprise of six civilians and five soldiers to rule Sudan for a period of three years until elections can be held. Burhan was sworn in as the council’s chairman and he would lead the council for a period of 21 months followed by the appointment of a civilian ruler who would be appointed by the people will take over the next 18 months. Nine other members of the council also took their oath of office. The sovereign council is to oversee the formation of the government.

Issue at large

The crisis in Sudan can be traced back to December 2018 when then-President Bashir’s government-imposed austerity measures, this caused large scale demonstrations and it resulted in the removal of Mr Bashir who was in power for 30 years by the military after sit-ins outside the defence ministry. The demonstrates, however, went on to demand that the power be quickly transferred to the civilians. General Burhan and a few other generals formed a council however they failed to bring stability to Sudan which was now facing protests that were violent and sometimes deadly.

Sudan’s military council and the pro-democracy council reached a new power-sharing agreement on 5 July 2019, with help from the African Union (AU) and Ethiopia who played roles of mediators. Here both sides agreed to establish a joint military-civilian sovereign council that they would rule on rotation for a period of three years and three months.

On 17 July 2019 Sudan’s pro-democracy movement and the ruling military council signed the power-sharing agreement. The ceremony was held in the capital, Khartoum. This marked the end of protests and negotiations that have been going on for more than three months. The deal also promises an investigation into all the violence that has taken place.

On 4 August 2019, the military and protesters went on to sign a constitutional declaration which gave way for the formation of the transitional government.

In perspective

What lies ahead for Sudan are many challenges, the country continues to witness unrest in the regions of Darfur, Kordofan and the Blue Nile, where many people are still displaced by the conflict, looking into these matters will be the priority of the transitional government. The other challenge is the fragile economy of Sudan which is on the verge of collapsing, the transitional government will need to take measure to build up the economy of Sudan to see some positive change in the country. Thus, it would take time for the council to clear the old system that Sudan is running on now, the people have high expectations from the council and it would be challenging for them to deliver results in such a situation.

Apart from these challenges, there is a need to remove all those who were loyal to Bashir in the armed forces, these people have caused unease among the people. Further, the security sector would have to undergo major changes.

The other question is to do with the doubt of whether the military will keep up to its part of the deal, although the protests have gone on to state that they would continue to mobilize street power to pressurise the military to uphold its commitment this remains uncertain.

Although there are a lot of challenges that are posed in front of the new council the measures taken and events leading up to now have put Sudan on the road headed for stability, thus it is in the hand of the leadership and the people of Sudan to cooperate to achieve this goal.

Abigail Miriam Fernandez is pursuing post-graduation in Stella Maris College, Chennai. She can be reached at fernandezabigail123@gmail.

Conflict Alerts # 7, 24 August 2019

Myanmar: Teenage girls traded as brides to China
Raakhavee Ramesh

 In the news

According to a recent Human Rights Watch report, an outsized number of women and teenage girls from the northern Shan and Kachin states of Myanmar are being trafficked as brides to the families in China since the Chinese and Myanmar Government failed. In the internally displaced people's camps of the Kachin state, agonies of the fortunate victims who escaped from China after years of being a sex slave and experiencing domestic violence can be witnessed.

Issues at large

The history of the trafficked victims speaks volumes about the pathetic condition of the women and teenage girls in Kachin and northern Shan states. The decade's prolonged and heightened ongoing ethnic conflict had created financial distress for the ethnic Kachin families and forced them to flee to china for work. These people, while in search of a better livelihood, get carried away by the brokers and the relative's false promises and eventually get trafficked as brides to the Chinese men. On the Chinese side, the practice of "one-child policy" from 1979 to 2015 and gender discriminating abortions had created a severe gender imbalance resulting in the state of certainly no women for marriage and maternity. Subsequently, to bridge the gap, they target low-income families and promise them the high probability of attaining good jobs in China. Since Shan and Kachin states have porous borders with China coupled with inactive state of the border police and lack of stringent laws, these areas are highly prone to trafficking.

In perspective

With China's demographic problem of ageing population unsolved and imbalance in the sex ratio combined with no strict laws in the borders questions the safety of thousands of women in Myanmar who are trafficked in large numbers.

Though the Kachin women's association mostly involve in rescuing the victims, there is still not sufficient international attention shown. Given that the ethnic groups are the collateral damage of the armed conflict, it results in the displacement of natives and pushes them to the state of economic desperation. Also, the Myanmar government's inability to overthrow Chinese dominance and act against them is highly criticized. Trafficking of girls is a type and result of discrimination which can be prevented by enforcing and regulating harsh laws, thereby protecting the rights of women and children. By and large, Myanmar government can support the victims by being inclusive, thus providing medical and legal assistance to the uplift the plight of the displaced people and victims.

Raakhavee Ramesh is pursuing post-graduation in Political Science from Madras Christian College, Chennai. She can be reached at raakhaveeramesh@gmail.com.

Conflict Alerts # 6, 17 August 2019

Moscow Protests: Thousands rally in Moscow
Parikshith Pradeep

In the news

Thousands of Muscovites have taken to streets in support of the protest demanding fair representation in the Duma city elections. This comes in the wake of the election machinery disqualifying independent and candidates from opposition parties from contesting the September 8th Duma Municipal elections. 

Authorities have detained a large chunk of opposition activists, students and pro-democracy supporters. Lyubov Sobol-a leading activist on hunger strike was detained amid protests. In what is seen as a radical move, hundreds and thousands of peaceful protesters have been arrested since late July. Reports and imagery also indicate the exercise of violence by police forces during the protests.

Issues at large

Apart from being a movement for electoral rights, the protests indicate people’s pulse in viewing Russia’s polity. Recent march by 50,000 protesters, as estimated by White Counter-an NGO that monitors crowds, is voluminous enough to legitimize the popular discontent. This also goes on to show civilian willingness to attain rational narratives in matters of governance. 

Parallel protests in St. Petersburg strongly points to civilian dissent. For protesters, political freedom has become a necessity for which they have started materializing the grand plan. Unruly methods of suppression, the disappearance of political opponents and violence against journalists have raised human security concerns.

Last year’s pension reforms gathered large crowds and widespread protests. This clearly shows the rocketing of social, economic and cultural protests into that of a political one. Minute irritants have started ballooning into more significant problems.

In perspective

Any lead up to the reduction of power is unlikely to favour Kremlin’s needs. While Putin looks to retain his political footprint in Moscow, legislative losses, in the long run, could potentially lead to leadership changes.

A case to relate to the growing protests in Moscow could be its slow growth rates and the problem of stagnant wages. Last year’s pension reforms met with a similar response by protesters. The influence of social media and expression of protests through mediums such as music festivals have given a new face to dissent. 

Surprisingly, protests have been peaceful and have often followed defined procedures. As reported, Moscow’s response to protests has not been humane. Similarly, the Chinese approach to handling negotiations and protests with the general public is unsatisfactory as witnessed in Hong Kong. This calls for devising an international system for governments to address mass conflicts and protests. 
Retaining political hold through means non-favourable to Russia’s population could very well erode the legitimacy of Putin. Russia must take a cue from the new narratives of protest to reform its outlook in managing affairs of the state.

Conflict Alerts # 5, 17 August 2019

Hong Kong: Protests in Hong Kong paralyses air traffic
Sukanya Bali

In the news

Hong Kong’s airport services were disrupted when over 1000 pro-democracy protesters marched at one of the world’s busiest airports, on Monday. The protestors arrived at the airport, to showcase the issues to a larger audience and also to protest against police violence in Hong-Kong. 

China deployed its paramilitary forces and tanks in Shenzhen city, 30 km away from Hong-Kong on Tuesday. The build-up of the Chinese military on Hong-Kong’s borders has raised people’s concern about their security and safety.

Issues at large

A protest without-a-leader has engaged people of Hong-Kong together against the government, which resulted in the arrest of more than 600 people, has entered to its 10th straight weekend. 

The protests began as an opposition to the Extradition Bill, which gives mainland China the authority to extradite Hong-Kong citizens, has drawn the attention of the global community. This is said to be the biggest challenge; China is facing since the 1997 handover. 
The protest has entered a new phase where protestors demand the complete withdrawal of the Bill, amnesty for all arrested and the resignation of the Chief executive over police brutality on protestors.

In perspective

Hong-Kong protests have divided the region into two parts, protestors and authorities. The protest escalated, be it flash mob or sit-in demonstrations, to preserve its autonomy, security and stability against Beijing interference. The ongoing protest has affected ordinary people’s life and the functioning of Hong-Kong’s economy. 

China has called the protestors ‘terrorists’, and the military build-up at Hong Kong’s border, indicate an upcoming crackdown on protestors. However, China’s iron hand on Hong Kong, a former British colony, could result in the involvement of the international community and may loosen up China’s existing control over the city. 

US-China trade war has already hit the economy of Hong Kong. The political unrest followed by Beijing’s interference may deteriorate business operations and investors confidence in Asia’s economic hub. Also, the US, in its broader geopolitics, could further use the Honk Kong crisis to its advantage to tarnish the image of China. Trump might use this opportunity to bring China on his terms to negotiate a trade deal, before the 2020 presidential elections.

Conflict Alerts # 4, 17 August 2019

Middle East: The Yemenis march in support of separatists
Lakshmi V Menon

In the news

On August 15, 2019 thousands of Yemenis marched in support of separatist fighters who seized Sanaa, the southern port city from loyalists of Yemen's internationally-recognised government. Khormaskar district saw rallies by south-loyalists waving flags of the former South Yemen state and banners of the separatist Southern Transitional Council, which pursues the secession of south of Yemen. 
The demonstrators demanded that the STC holds on to the positions in Aden which they had ceased from Yemen’s internationally recognized government. Meanwhile, Yemeni officials said they would not engage in negotiations until the UAE-backed forces withdrew from Aden. Consequently, on August 17, the STC withdrew from all government positions in Aden.

Before the protest, on August 14th, Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdullah al-Hadrami requested the STC to hand over arms to the exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government.

Issues at large

Since, the overthrow of Hadi government by Houthi rebels in 2014, Aden has been the de-facto capital of Yemen. On August 11, the Security Belt, a UAE-backed militia, allied with the STC seized the government military bases and effective control of Aden following four days of fighting with the troops loyal to Hadi. As per the United Nations, over 40 were killed in the clashes.

The Yemen war commenced in late 2014 with Houthis (supporters of the former President Ali Abdullah Saleh) captured much of Yemen and the capital Sanaa. In March 2015, with UAE-Saudi-led coalition launching a deadly air campaign, the conflict escalated. The coalition aimed to restore the internationally recognized Hadi government and defeat the rebels. Ever since tens of thousands have perished, over 85,000 children have died of starvation, and 24.1 million citizens need aid. Yemen war today is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

In perspective

The current escalation is a straightforward secession demand by the separatist, stemming from south becoming a minority post-unification of Yemen.

Current clashes have exposed divides between the UAE and Saudi Arabia regarding Yemen’s future. The difference in opinions of Saudis and Emiratis were evident with UAE effectively pulling out of Yemen during the previous months. It threatens to commence a new dimension in the multi-layered Yemen war. Abu Dhabi’s interest is in securing the strategic Bab el-Mandeb strait. For Riyadh, it is another proxy war with Iran. However, Saudi intentions in Yemen are becoming more muddled. 
Nevertheless, STC’s withdrawal from government positions in Aden is a clear signal of urgency to bring all parties of the “civil war within the civil war” onto the negotiating table. The developments may skew the Yemen conflict significantly.

Conflict Alerts # 3, 12 August 2019

Jordan Restores diplomatic ties with Qatar
Lakshmi V Menon

In the News

On July 10, 2019, Jordan and Qatar announced the complete restoration of diplomatic ties. Prior to the meeting, Qatar appointed a member of the ruling family, Sheikh Saud bin Nasser Al Thani as its ambassador to Jordan. In response, Zaid Al Louzi, a high-ranking diplomat was appointed as Jordan’s ambassador to Qatar.

Meanwhile, amidst soaring US-Iran tensions and the ongoing blockade, Qatar’s Emir met with US President Donald Trump in Washington to discuss security and economy. Trump appreciated investments made by Qatar in the US as “one of the largest in the world”.

The Emir’s visit comes soon after the Doha dialogue between Afghanistan and the Taliban.

Issue at large

In June 2017, a UAE-Saudi led coalition consisting of Bahrain and Egypt launched a historic air, land and maritime blockade against the gas-rich country Qatar. Jordan siding with the Saudi-UAE axis severed ties with Qatar. The anti-Qatar quartet, as the coalition was later known, aimed to strong-arm Qatar into complying with the “thirteen points”.

Demands included shutting down of Qatar based media outlet Al Jazeera, ousting Iranian military members from Qatar, financial compensation, ceasing of treacherous support to Houthis and Islamist organizations, handing over of information and so on. Doha did not succumb.

In perspective

In the two years of the blockade, both sides have claimed victory. However, Jordan’s current move sways the verdict in favour of the latter. It took Doha less than a week to resolve domestic difficulties caused by the blockade. The tiny but wealthy state launched a massive $1.75 billion PR campaign and emerged victorious; causing reputational setbacks to the quartet. Even Trump recognized Qatar’s progress regarding terror aiding and came down heavily on Riyadh.

Jordan’s current move reflects three concerns. Firstly, discontent with the Saudi-Emirati-Israeli alliance and their stand on the Israel-Palestine conflict. As Trump and Kushner move away from the two-state solution, thousands of Palestinians in Jordan would remain an economic burden to Jordan. Secondly, Amman has realized that keeping an economic powerhouse like Qatar away is imprudent. During the 2018 unrest and economic crisis in Jordan, Qatar offered 10,000 jobs for Jordanians and provided economic aid worth $500 million. Lastly, Jordan is wary of being bulldozed by the combined politico-economic-military might of the Saudis and Emiratis.

The Qatar-Jordan rapprochement comes at a time when Qatar is facing an economic dip in its construction-driven growth that began to peak in 2012. Post the blockade, Qatar’s only land link (which is with Saudi Arabia) has become redundant; making the last stretch of infrastructural developments for the 2022 FIFA World Cup challenging. Perhaps the state’s decision to pull out of OPEC and expand its LNG capacity will enable greater economic security and flexibility. For Qatar, the entente essentially means three things. First, a declaration of their victory; second, sending a strong political message to the anti-Qatar quartet; and third, increasing the state’s regional political mileage for future endeavours.

Conflict Alerts # 2, 30 July 2019

Afghanistan: Taliban talks peace, but continues with violence
Mahath Mangal

In the news

In July three explosions have claimed the lives of at least 15 people in the Afghan capital of Kabul. A bus carrying employees of the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum was one target. It took the lives of 8 employees and wounding 27 others. A magnetic bomb was pasted onto the bus. Another bomb exploded metres away from this spot killing at least seven and wounding at least 20. The attacker had blown himself up. The third blast was a car bomb. This attack alone was claimed responsibility for by the Taliban- which is contesting for control over the country against the government.

The other two explosions were later claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL also referred to as ISIS). While acts of showing power between terror outfits, the loss of lives have been tremendous and sadly, a common sight in the country today.

Issue at large

The country has been reeling from frequent attacks from the Taliban and ISIS. Afghanistan has been a stage for several conflicts for the last 18 years between the Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the US-led NATO’s intervention forces. The incidents of bombings in the country are very frequent. The number of terrorist organisations operating in Afghanistan has been a huge challenge to the security of the region.

Following the September 11 attacks, the Taliban was removed from power in Afghanistan in 2001 by the US for harbouring Al-Qaeda. Following which, a coalition of US-led NATO forces has been operating in the country with the aim of obliterating such terror outfits. The presence of westerners has also been a cause for much of the reactionary terrorism rising from the country.

While the US was successful in bringing democracy to the country in 2005, there was political turmoil between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah in 2014. While the condition was improving, the Obama Administration announced it would be pulling the forces out of Afghanistan in 2011.

With the withdrawing troops, the Taliban grew in their influence. Today controlling at least half of Afghanistan’s territory Taliban is a key player in the country. The US has been holding talks with the Taliban. Seven rounds in- the negotiations have become high level. though the aim is to expedite peace-bringing, it seems a distant reality today.

In perspective

The objective of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan is to remove the foreign forces from Afghan soil and reclaim power over the country ousting the current government. The Taliban refuses to negotiate with the US in presence of the Afghan Government citing they are mere puppets in the hands of the Westerners.

Having a sour history with each other, the peace talks have not made any significant result in the ground.

With the peace process on and the withdrawal deals are in the talks, the recent bombings in the country are acts to gain more leverage by the Taliban. With an escalation of tensions and display of their influence within the borders, the Taliban is showcasing in broad daylight that its grip over the country is deep and firm, also a gauge showing the weaker position of the legitimate government of Afghanistan.

Conflict Alerts # 1, 28 July 2019

150 Migrants from Libya drown while crossing the Mediterranean
Parikshith Pradeep

In news

During late July 2019, in a tragic event, two boats carrying 300 refugees and migrants including children and women, off the coast of Al Khums, Libya, capsized killing more than 150. While Libyan coast guards have recovered bodies off the coast, in an awful gesture, survivors were taken to the Libyan Detention centre that was bombed earlier this month accounting for more than 50 deaths. Reports have also indicated missing immigrants and traumatized survivors from the incident. Although not the first incident of migration along sea lines in the Mediterranean, Filippo Grandi, commissioner of UNHCR has termed this the “worst Mediterranean tragedy of the year’.

 

Issues at large

Another incident in July 2019, witnessed the death of at least 82 people after a boat carrying immigrants capsized off the Tunisian coast. 

This trend indicates the rising influx of migrants to Europe vis-à-vis the Mediterranean. There has been strong resentment from countries like Italy, which are facing the end of the influx. In this case, as uncertain arriving at a solution seems, the pressure on the north of the Mediterranean region must be staved off to avoid negative offsets away from Libya. A dive deeper in this regard also points out to nations returning refugees and migrants to Libya.

The UN Refugee Agency and the International Organization of Migration have advocated against this move and pushed for the resumption of rescue operations to relieve the Libyan burden in this regard. Libyan crisis unfolding since 2011 has witnessed a slew of violent events, consequently resulting in a direct and indirect humanitarian crisis. Political affiliations, military and monetary engagements in this region have aggravated the rift between the UN-recognized Government of National Accord(GNA) led by Fayez-Al-Sarraj and the Libyan National Army led by Khalifa Haftar. Turkey’s support to GNA and Haftar’s backing from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, France and the United Arab Emirates(UAE) makes it an uphill task to arriving at political solutions any sooner. The source of the Mediterranean migration crisis could be attributed to this tussle for power. 

 

In Perspective

Tragic incidents like these indicate absolute helplessness of civilians and lack of responsible establishments. Lack of geographical solidarity is a pressing factor that restricts humanitarian relief. Prolonged leadership crisis has already led to the development of stateless citizens. Loss of psychological allegiance to the land and rising anti-sentiments could irk civilians towards seeking conducive environments.

Looking forward, one could safely anticipate the emergence of violent non-state actors, wholly mimicking the rise of Arkan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) which could lead to newer equations of conflict. This establishes a risky precedent for victims of war and violence. The situation in the Mediterranean is a critical reminder of avoiding dreadful consequences. Furthermore, posing as an early indicator, governments and stakeholders should gradually shift focus from conventional narratives of security to regarding substantial prominence in matters of human security.