Syrian refugee and her baby. World Bank Photo Collection/Flickr

L’agonie et l’exode

BRUXELLES – L'exode tragique des habitants de la Syrie ravagée par la guerre et des pays voisins défie la raison et la sympathie du monde entier. Depuis 2011, pas moins de quatre millions de personnes ont fui la Syrie, et plusieurs autres millions sont en situation de déplacés à l’intérieur du pays. Les voisins de la Syrie – la Jordanie, le Liban et la Turquie – accueillent actuellement la grande majorité des personnes déplacées à l’étranger. Mais, avec l’aggravement de la crise, des centaines de milliers de réfugiés se sont dirigés vers l'Europe, la majorité en bravant les dangers extrêmes que présente la route maritime.

La nature et l'ampleur de cet exode ont rendu obsolètes toutes les hypothèses juridiques et politiques qui régnaient jusqu’alors à propos la migration. Dans le passé, le principal motif de migration était économique. Le débat auquel a donné lieu la migration économique opposait les libéraux, attachés au principe de la libre circulation des travailleurs, et les personnes qui appelaient à des restrictions de mouvement entre les pays afin de protéger les emplois, la culture et/ou la cohésion politique.

Lorsque le monde s’est remplit d'Etats-nations et les espaces vides se sont peuplés, la restriction a triomphé sur la libre circulation. Les contrôles sur l'immigration se sont généralisés après la Première Guerre mondiale. Tous les pays développèrent alors des politiques de gestion de la population.

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