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Migrants Crisis - Where is OIC ?

Europe is facing its worst migration crisis since World War II with no sign to an early resolution to the problem. More than 2,000 people have already died trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe this year. The perils of crossing the Mediterranean have been reinforced by news from  international relief officials that dozens of  people had drowned off western Libya after their boats sank on Thursday.

The exact toll is still unclear but potentially it is among the highest this summer for the desperate families trying to reach European shores. In another tragic incident, more than 80 migrants suffocated to death in a container where they hid themselves while trying to enter Austria the other day. The tragedy happened just kilometres away from where EU leaders were meeting to discuss the refugee crisis. 

The Mediterranean has become a “cemetery” for desperate migrants who come from world’s poorest and war-affected countries.  Italy and Greece accuse other countries of not doing enough to stop the flood of illegal immigrants. Britain, Italy and other European Union countries still have serious differences about how to tackle the refugee crisis. Only days ago some countries had decided not to  take part in any rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea to save the lives of illegal immigrants. These countries fear that rescue operations will encourage more people to opt for the dangerous sea journey in search of  a better life in European countries. 

According to statistics, 140,000 people have tried to reach Greece and other European countries this year alone. Those lucky to have reached their destination are waiting desperately for any good news about their future  in detention centres. Because of financial difficulties, Greece, Italy and some other EU countries find it hard to deal with such a large number of illegal immigrants. Thousands of people are confined in illegal detention centres in inhuman conditions. 

The flow of illegal migrants can never be stopped without solving  the fundamental  causes that have originally sparked it. Parts of the Mediterranean region have been under the grips of unrest and violence with the world community turning a blind eye to them. It is despair and insufferable living conditions that are forcing  thousands of people to flee their home countries.

As the majority of migrants belong to Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan and Iran, all Muslim-majority countries, forums like the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC) and Arab League should come forward and prepare a strategy to help solve the migrant crisis.

Khawaja Umer Farooq

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

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