No to colonization of "new" Europe!

Ivo Skoric ivo at reporters.net
Thu May 15 18:33:31 CEST 2003


Doesn't Britain have enough former colonies, protectorates, and 
dominions? Weren't once more than a quarter of world's population 
under her rule? Wasn't hers the empire on which the sun never 
set? Why would she need to detain her asylum seekers in other 
countries, particularly in countries that were never in her 
possession?

Was that what the lofty title "new europe" was meant to convey 
upon the countries recently liberated from the yarn of history of 
dark dictatorial regimes? That they will be accepted to the 
European Union as slaves and servants and hooded dungeon-
keepers?

Are dark, damp Enver Xoxha gulags to be used to house people 
who seek political asylum in England? Can something be made 
more distasteful?

And not to mention the logistics and security problems in these 
times ridden with insecurity and threat! Are they going to fly 
asylum seekers from the UK to Albania in shackles, like the US 
flew suspected Al Qaeda members from Afghanistan to 
Guantanamo Bay? Over France? Over Germany? I doubt either of 
those countries would permit such overflights.

While giving rent-free housing to airplane hi-jackers is moronic, it is 
equally deplorable to ship asylum seekers to another country. It 
cannot be legal under international law to ship asylum seekers 
from Albania back to a detention center in Albania "while their case 
is solved". The UN should move to make illegal dehumanizing 
practice of shipping asylum seekers to third countries. Because, 
what is next? Shipping Haitians to Sierra Leone?

On top of that, Britain found another little paradise on Adriatic 
coast for its unwanted immigrants: Croatia. That country really 
doesn't have enough problems of its own, after the devastating war 
in the last decade, so it should be burdened by the problems of the 
UK, the fourth largest economy on the planet. Isn't that such a 
splendid idea?

Racan, Croatian prime minister, should voice a decisive NO to that 
proposal, as adamant as Tito was in 1948 refusing to let 
Yugoslavia become yet another Stalin's satellite. It should be made 
clear to British government that this practice is not permissible in 
the interest of humanity.

ivo

> ***********************
>
> The Sunday Telegraph (London)
>
> Blunkett plans to send asylum seekers to Albania
> By Colin Brown and Francis Elliott
> (Filed: 09/March/2003), page 1
>
> All asylum seekers arriving in Britain will be sent to Albania, 
under new Government plans to curb the flow of economic migrants 
to this country.
>
> Ministers plan to fly incoming refugees to Albania, the poorest 
nation in Europe, which will house them in specially built detention 
centres while their claims are processed.
>
> Although the Home Office hopes to build the camps in 
conjunction with other European Union nations, ministers are 
determined to press ahead alone should they need to, in an effort 
to stem the tide of asylum seekers arriving in Britain.
>
> Last month the Home Office revealed that a record 110,000 
refugees had claimed asylum here in the past year. The 
Government's attempts to stem the influx were dealt a sharp blow 
last month when the High Court rejected new laws that would 
sharply curtail the availability of state benefits to asylum seekers.
>
> Ministers now hope that the threat of being flown to Albania, the
> former hardline Stalinist state which has a per capita GDP of 
764 and an unemployment rate of around 16 per cent, will have 
the desired effect.
>
> "We want to deter asylum seekers from coming to Britain and we 
would like to set up a processing centre in Albania to help achieve 
that," said a Whitehall official.
>
> If agreement is reached to pilot "designated centres" in Albania,
> other southern and eastern European countries will be 
approached. Plans are already being drawn up for processing 
camps in Croatia, which has struggled to restore its tourism 
business after the years of fighting that followed the break-up of 
Yugoslavia.
>
> It, too, has a relatively low GDP and might welcome the chance 
to earn foreign exchange by hosting asylum seekers while their 
claims are assessed.
>
> Proposals to pay eastern European countries to establish 
processing centres for asylum seekers will be put to European 
ministers at a meeting in Brussels on March 21.
>
> "We would prefer this to be an EU-wide scheme to which 
everybody contributes, but we are prepared to go it alone should 
we need to," the official added.
>
> Ministers believe that the scheme would be legal under Britain's
> international obligations, which do not require them to offer 
asylum seekers a home or social security but do prohibit "inhuman 
or degrading treatment" of refugees. Officials argue that as long as 
they are sending claimants to somewhere where they will not be 
persecuted and where they  will be provided with food and clothing, 
Britain will be fulfilling its  legal duties.
>
> The deterrent effect of sending asylum claimants to Albania is 
made clear on the Foreign Office's travel advisory website. "You 
should bear in mind the widespread ownership of firearms," states 
the warning, adding: "Driving can be very hazardous. We strongly 
advise visitors who drive to avoid reacting to provocative behaviour 
by other road users."
>
> Those hoping for access to the standards of healthcare available 
in  Britain also face a bitter disappointment. "We do not 
recommend using the dental facilities," states the official guidance. 
"Medical facilities are very poor."
>
> The plan could also help to stem the tide of asylum seekers and
> illegal immigrants into Britain from Albania, which is now 
notorious for organised criminals dealing in drugs and people-
smuggling. There were officially 1,065 asylum cases from Albania 
in 2001, but many more are thought to have gone undetected as 
Albanians often pretend to be from other eastern European 
countries when they arrive in Britain.
>
> Last month, David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, added Albania 
to a list of "safe" countries from which asylum applications will be
"presumed to be unfounded", as part of the Government's attempts 
to get on top of the asylum crisis.
>
> John Reid, the chairman of the Labour Party, last week told 
Labour MPs at a private briefing that asylum was the number one 
issue for the voters in the 
forthcoming local elections, according to the party's own polling. It came 
ahead of concern over petty crime, with concern about a war on Iraq low down 
the list, he said.
>
> Tony Blair, under fire for the chaos in Britain's asylum system, has ordered 
the total number of asylum seekers to be halved by September.  
However, the Prime Minister was accused last night of failing to 
deliver  on his Government's promises after it was revealed that 
nine Afghan  terrorists who hijacked an airliner before claiming 
asylum were still in Britain - seven of them living on benefits.
>
> Instead of being removed, as promised three years ago by Jack 
Straw, the  then Home Secretary, the hijackers have been resettled 
by the Home  Office. Along with 26 relatives, including wives and 
children, they have  been given rent-free houses in the London area.




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