E.U. to pay Rwanda to host migrants in what some see as a morally perilous policy.

For three years, the European Union has been paying other countries to keep asylum seekers away from Europe rife with populist and anti-migrant parties.

It has paid Turkey billions  to keep refugees from crossing to Greece. It has funded the Libyan Coast Guard to catch and return migrants boats to North Africa. It has set up centers in in distant Niger to process asylum seekers, if they ever make it that far. Most don't.

Even as that arm's-length network comes under criticism on humanitarian grounds, it is overwhelmed that the  European Union is seeking to expand it, as the bloc aims to buttress an approach that has drastically cut the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean.

It is now preparing to finish a deal, this time in Rwanda, to create yet another node that hopes will alleviate some of the mounting strains on its outsourcing network. 

Critics say the Rwanda deal will deepen a morally perilous policy, even as it underscores how precarious the European Union's teetering system for handling the migrant crisis has become.

Tens of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers remain trapped in Libya, where where a patchwork of of militias control detention centers and migrants have been sold as  slaves or  into prostitution and kept in facilities so packed that there is not even enough floor space to sleep on.

A bombing of a migrant detention center in July left 40 dead, and it has continued to operate in the months since, even though part of the facility was reduced to rubble.

Even as the system falters, few in the West seem to be paying much attention, and critics say that is also part of the aim - to keep the problem that has roiled European politics on the other side of the Mediterranean, out of sight and out of mind.

Screening asylum seekers in safe, remote locations - where they can qualify as refugees without undertaking perilous journeys to Europe - has long been promoted in Brussels as a way to dismantle smugglers networks while giving vulnerable people a fair chance of a new Life.

But the application  by the European Union has highlighted its fundamental flaws : The offshore centers are too small and the pledges of refugee resettlement too  few.

The honor ans serving of this grave refugee problem. continues. The World Students Society thanks author and researcher Matina Stevis-Gridneff.


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