As the global refugees’ crisis swells throughout the world, particularly in Europe, an international refugee advocate has written the President of the European Commission, Jean Claude-Juncker, noting that the leaders of Europe must rethink their approach in addressing the problems of African migration to Europe.
In his letter to the leaders of the EU addressed to Mr. Jean Claude-Juncker, President of the European Commission, Mr. Jones Nhinson Williams noted:
I write to urge the leaders of Europe and the European Commission not to send a promised 3.6 Billions euros ($3.8 Billion dollars) to Africa as a means of addressing the continent’s forced migration and refugee flow problems that negatively impact Europe. Apart from the fact that this policy decision or thought is a wasteful option, it is equally a very bad public policy approach and a disingenuous international cooperation framework to addressing the serious catastrophic that is fundamentally aided and abetted by some European and western nations. If European leaders and the European Commission are really serious about addressing the enigmas of forced migration, refugee flow and food insecurity plaguing Africa they must seriously consider holding African leaders and economic criminals on the continent fully accountable on issues of corruption, public theft and the abuse of power/bad governance.
The reason why young Africans are migrating to Europe and other western nations in droves is precisely because Swiss banks and others harbored stolen wealth that supposed to develop Africa, create jobs and wealth. It is clear and simple. This is one of the real problems in the equation that Europe must confront with honesty, or else, we are wasting time on the impractical and more Africans will continue to take the road to Europe nonstop.
Mr. President, here are the applicable and logical facts that make the current approach by the leaders of Europe counter-productive:
First and foremost, the forced migration to Europe and other developed nations by many decent young Africans will never stop unless Swiss and other western banks in Europe and around the world stop banking stolen wealth from African rulers and corrupt officials. In addition, African rulers, their families and corrupt officials must be forced to show credible proof of the sources of their wealth before they are allowed to purchase properties or own businesses in western nations.
Secondly, western lobbyists and consulting firms working to advance the agendas of bad and criminal-minded African rulers, officials and their families who suffocate their citizens to decades of poverty are also added quandary to the migration chaos at hand.
Thirdly, if the leaders of Europe and the European Commission are really serious about addressing the African migration quagmire, then they must support the blueprint that we have proposed, advocated for and which calls for the establishment of a United Nations-back International Tribunal on Public Corruption. Such a court would address corruption cases irrespective of regions and countries as well as hold economic and political criminals that create these untold hardship fully responsible under international and regional laws such as the U.S Foreign Corrupt Practice Act and that of the British.
Fourthly, the serious-minded leaders of Europe must begin to be honest about and also advocate against the purchase and shipment of arms and ammunitions by African nations and criminal-minded gangs by putting in place an enforceable inspectorate system that will monitor clandestine and unnecessary arms’ sales. The arms and ammunitions that fuel wars and sustain prolong conflicts in African countries are dumped on the continent by European, Asian and other western arms manufacturers as well as gun-runners/dealers. These dangerous arms and ammunitions that fuel wars on the continent are not made in Africa, they are made in and by the West and/or in Asia. As such, the African forced migration problem in Europe is an opposite reaction, as physicist Isaac Newton would say: “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”.
Dumping money on Africa that will, in turn, be stolen in a minute by the very African rulers and corrupt officials and end up in Swiss and other foreign banks is not only an absolute waste of time and of European tax payers’ money; it is, at best, a shameless and naked affront to the suffering people of Africa. This approach will be an indirect economic stimulus for European banks since the money will end up there, any way.
Let me provide a classic case study Mr. President of the European Commission: Liberia, my country, is far richer in natural resources than Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Israel and your country, Luxembourg, where you were once a prime minister before taking on the European Commission’s presidency. In Liberia, we have a very rich and fertile land with heavy rainforest. The country also lies across the Atlantic Ocean in a sixteen-country region where some countries are landlocked. Liberia also has diamonds, gold, iron ore, and is most recently blessed with a serious oil find. Mr. President, neither Luxembourg nor Switzerland have these vast natural endowments. Yet, life is a million times better in those countries than Liberia. For the sake of argument, let us consider Singapore as well, a small and natural-resources deprived nation. Singapore is realistically considered more improved than every country in Africa. Should we agree to these principles or deductions, why would young Liberians want to migrate to Europe then? The answer is simple: widespread public corruption and the lack of accountability at all levels of the Liberian government. As a serious-minded Catholic educated philosopher and an American trained public policy Liberian professional and one who sacrificially restored the country from unending conflicts to relative governance, I can affirm that Liberia has no security threats other than ORGANIZED CORRUPTION which has stifled job and wealth creation for majority of the citizenry, distorted infrastructural and social development, deprived economic prosperity for most of its citizens, and induced abject poverty such that teen girls have become sex toys for Lebanese sex traffickers and young men have transitioned to male prostitution in a traditionally unethical manner that is generally un-Liberian at best.
Mr. President, do you honestly believe that sending a billion dollar to African rulers and countries, or Liberia in particular, where the national legislature requests for and accepts bribes to pass laws, approve legislations and foreign and local investments’ contracts will stop my young Liberian brothers and sisters from wanting to jump in the sea to get across to Europe? Since 2003 when the Liberian civil conflict ended, would you believe that there are thousands of Liberian refugees still in refugee camps in neighboring West African countries, in Europe, in the United States, Canada and Australia? Do you think these Liberians don’t want to return home after ten years of relative peace that each Liberian desire most? If leaders in Europe think otherwise then they must be on planet Mars. The young men and women who so bravely risks their lives at sea for a better life in Europe and other western nations are not criminals neither are they the problem. The forced migration problem is facilitated by Europe and the African rulers that some western nations, including those in Europe, protect and support, aid and abet. When a country like Liberia where kids die from starvation because of poverty is sucked out of millions of dollars annually by western international public relations firms in Washington, D.C., the UK, Brussels and most parts of Europe to promote the international image of a single individual or a small band of intertwined economic beneficiaries then you wonder why wouldn’t every poverty-stricken young man and woman in Liberia not risk dying in the ocean than living in hell in that country where the consequences of astronomical unemployment surpasses real life in hell. To understand what I am talking about, Mr. President, perhaps the leaders of Europe need to seek the counsel of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Norway since they have a 'good' metrics in throwing out Nobel Peace prizes just like that, even when it is underserved.
Since 2006, the amount of resources and capacity building efforts, including humanitarian and foreign investment assistance, the European Commission and western nations have provided to a small country like Liberia is more than $3 billion. For a population (about 4 million people) half of New York City (8.49 million), one would expect Liberia to have paved roads nationwide, good research and advanced hospitals, world-class educational system, a social service system that helps the poor, the elderly and sick, lower unemployment rate, a nationwide energy and 24/7 electricity system, good road and resounding infrastructures, admirable technological system as well as an advanced and vibrant manufacturing sector. I don’t need tell you more Mr. President since the deadly Ebola crisis that killed thousands of poor Liberians exposed Liberia’s weakness to every member-nation of the European Commission. During the crisis, Europe saw that Liberia did not have an ambulance at its public hospitals not mentioning an Emergency Management Technician system. Mr. President, where do you think the resources of Liberia go? Do you think Liberia is very poor such that it cannot be like Luxembourg? Let me tell you where most of Liberia’s wealth goes to: in the pockets of a few corrupt elected leaders and officials who in turn deposit the money in western banks including European banks. Therefore, the leaders of Europe must find a real solution to dealing with the forced migration problems rather than engineering a cosmetic antidote that only serves a good media strategy and emboldens African rulers to conduct more corrupt practices. Instead of rewarding African rulers with money for being corrupt and evil to their people, hold them accountable, sanction them ,and condemn them publicly.
As someone who has worked with global refugee programs and on poverty issues over the past decade (as general administrator of the U.S.- based Jewish Family Services International Refugee Program) and as an international advocate of events related to forced migration, refugee flow and food insecurity, I can honestly tell your Commission and the leaders of Europe that the solution advanced by Europe in addressing the forced migration crisis from Africa is categorically problematic, discernably unreasonable and squarely wrong when it comes to good public policy and international security cooperation. Europe should be glad that more young Africans are not engaged in destructive activities such as joining dangerous groups which extreme poverty, hardship and hopelessness compel some to do.
The principle reason why most Africans migrate is economical. And to be blunt, Africa’s economic problems result largely from corruption, which is by large, the most serious security threat on the continent than even ISIS and al Qaeda's insurrections in pockets of the continent. Liberia today is a perfect example of what I am inscribing about here. The people that pose the most security threat to Liberia are the country’s corrupt elected and appointed officials. You cannot send money to a bunch of African rulers, many of whom lack character and integrity, and expect a different result from what Europe is gravely concerned about today. No amount of money sent to Africa can and will stop the ongoing migration nightmare unless Europe rethinks its approach: Support the establishment of an International Tribunal on Corruption and hold African rulers and corrupt officials fully accountable and the problem will be solved, simple as that.
Jones Nhinson Williams
Jones Nhinson Williams
International Refugee Advocate