Wealthy western countries cannot wash their hands of refugees

The ugly truth behind the Channel deaths (Channel tragedy: ‘Smugglers tell their clients it’s just a lake – but it’s not’, 25 novembre) is a system of global governance that gives a few countries unequal power over international rules of trade, finance and security. Western governments prioritise their electorates, while the world’s majority are ignored. While our media spotlight desperate people on our shores, they ignore millions of refugees languishing in countries much poorer than ours.

Until we address the structural issues of minority rule to create an inclusive and equitable system of global governance, western electorates will demand higher fences and more draconian measures to protect their borders.

But the crisis will only deepen, as global heating drives more people from their homes. We need to focus on the structures that perpetuate global inequality. Kwame Anthony Appiah (A tale of two pandemics: the true cost of Covid in the global south, 23 novembre) makes the case for building an international community with “supple and inclusive global institutions”. Until we do, the tragedies will get worse.
Titus Alexander
Author, Unravelling Global Apartheid

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