Migrant and refugee crisis: we need to address its root causes (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Seeking solutions to the problem of migrants and refugees, fleeing their homes due to wars and domestic armed conflicts, is one of the pressing issues on the international agenda. We share the common opinion that the most reliable way to successfully resolve the refugee crisis is to address the causes. A successful response to migration challenges requires, first of all, prevention and settlement of conflicts through political means, coordinated efforts of the global community in political, socio-economic, humanitarian and other areas, as well as building interaction between humanitarian aid and development assistance. It is necessary to exclude external interference in internal issues by other countries, which turns civil conflicts into proxy wars.

The current refugee crisis in Europe is a result of irresponsible intrusion into the domestic affairs of the sovereign states in the Middle East and North Africa. Such interference brought about a collapse of states, humanitarian disasters, civil wars and a rise of terrorism. As a result, there is a massive flow of refugees and migrants to the European continent.

Russia believes that a solution to the refugee crisis in Europe can be found through political settlement in the countries from which the refugees are fleeing, as well as through development assistance and state-building. This means a cessation of hostilities in Syria, Libya and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa, while combating terrorists throughout the region.

In this respect, the concept of “shared responsibility” seems to be an attempt to shift the responsibility. Those whose actions, including Libya five years ago, brought about this crisis must bear the responsibility for providing help to the refugees and displaced persons. For its part, Russia provides political support and donations to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), supplies substantial amounts of humanitarian aid to the source countries, and accepts and assists in the settlement of the refugees in our territory, including over a million displaced persons from Ukraine.

We believe that to stabilise the situation it is also necessary to ensure proper control over the migration flows, prevent criminal activity by migrants, improve the readmission procedure, build new pathways for legal immigration, and secure their borders.

Everything must be done to prevent terrorists from infiltrating the countries accepting refugees, those who are really in need of help. It is unacceptable that refugees be subject to political manipulation by parties inciting ethnic, religious and social hatred – even more so that refugee camps be used for recruiting and training militants.

We assume that the approaches to the resolution of the migration issues must not violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of any states and be imposed without the consent of those countries where they are exercised. The 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol are the international legal foundation of this activity.