New initiatives help African refugees resettled in France

African refugees (South Sudanese) in a bus headed to Alsace in eastern France

BRUSSELS, Belgium— France has accepted the first group of African refugees benefiting from a new initiative that brings those deemed to be expressly vulnerable directly to Europe.  On Monday, the first batch arrived in France.

The resettled refugees, 19 Sudanese, including 8 adults and 11 children, were chosen from a camp in Chad, where thousands of refugees escaping war have taken refuge.

According to a French Interior Ministry official, the resettled refugee family were put on a bus and taken to a convent in Alsace in eastern France after their arrival.  They are expected to stay there for four months before they will be moved to stable and permanent lodgings.

As part of an initiative, also involving Germany, Italy, and Spain, France pledged to welcome and host 3,000 migrants from Niger and Chad within two years.  France has also planned to bring in 7,000 non-African refugees to be resettled from points in the Middle East.

Sources say the new initiative establishes “protection missions” in Chad and Niger, two West African countries that migrants frequently use and where migrants can be selected for asylum in Europe.

The refugees are being transported through the auspices of the International Organization for Migration, a United Nations entity.

International migration and refugee policy analysts say the new program marks a change from preceding approaches, bypassing the typical practice for asylum bids. Presently, people seeking refuge in Europe must first apply in the country of initial arrival, a policy which has overloaded nations like Italy and Greece.

The aim of the initiative is to prevent African crossing the Mediterranean by putting themselves at risk as seen here.

While President Emmanuel Macron has indicated a more global approach and humane character to global issues, the initiative also implies a pre-selection that passes over potential economic migrants, which is something that the new French president is keen on cracking down on.

The French government, meanwhile, has said it expelled 14 percent more migrants in the first 11 months of 2017 than it did last year.

Gerard Collomb, the French Interior Minister said on RTL radio that the tougher policy “is the line of all French.”

Meanwhile, several African events observers speaking to Globe Afrique say most African leaders are irresponsible and dumb for the fact that they create an artificial crisis and suffering for their people.

Kim Johnston, a student in the UK says after fighting for separation and independence and pointing accusing fingers at Sudan, the instability in South Sudan indicates that the problem in the then United Sudan was not the fault of the Sudanese government of President Omar Bashir, but that of the empty-headed and greedy leaders of the south who cannot seem to unite.

Emma Wilson, a student in New York is urging the International Criminal Court to draw an indictment against the leaders of South Sudan, both the president and his sacked vice president.

Emile Pascal, a student in France is calling on the international community to freeze the assets of the leaders of South Sudan as well as levy a stiff travel ban on them and their immediate family, both in Africa and around the world.

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Ben Mabande

Ben Mabande is a researcher and senior contributing reporter with Globe Afrique Media.

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