This year is on course to become the deadliest on record for refugees crossing the Mediterranean. Tragically, 2,000 people have drowned so far.
These deaths could have been avoided with an increase in funding for rescue boats. However, instead of committing to search and rescue operations, the EU has helped fund and train the Libyan coastguard to force refugees and migrants away from Europe.
Meanwhile the G20 summit met in Hamburg on the 7 and 8 July to discuss “issues of global significance.” The refugee crisis was a tiny part of it.
G20 countries account for more than four-fifths of gross world product, and three-quarters of global trade. They are home to almost two-thirds of the world’s population.
At the end of 2016 there were 65.6 million people in the world displaced because of war, poverty and repressive regimes, according to the UN Refugee Agency. That’s equivalent to the whole UK population.
Capitalist leaders are fast running out of excuses to tackle the crisis they created.
Across the globe the refugees are treated as criminals by capitalist governments, put in detention centres and falsely blamed for the lack of services those governments provide.
Life as a refugee makes people question their own existence and feel like they have lost their identity. Many also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and other problems requiring medical assistance.
The Hamburg summit made no decisions about concrete support for refugees, showing yet again that capitalist leaders are not serious about helping them.
Neither the G20 leaders nor any representatives of the capitalist system can solve the refugee crisis. Capitalism is driven by exploitation and inequality.
The only way forward is for refugees to get organised, alongside workers, building solidarity and fighting for their rights.
In Britain, the Refugee Rights campaign is one such group organising to do this. It’s run by refugees building support from workers’ and students’ organisations to demand fundamental rights. It is supported by Tamil Solidarity and the Socialist Party.
The campaign’s main demands are: allow refugees the right to work, close down the detention centres, and implement a £10 an hour minimum wage with no exemptions. Refugee Rights also supports Jeremy Cobryn’s anti-austerity policies, and his opposition to imperialist war.
The fight for the rights of the refugees must be linked to the workers’ movement across the globe – and with the struggle for a socialist society that puts lives of the majority above profit for the bosses.