JWG via DTN 15 January 2023 JT and Rae have been reading the tar baby saga and are trying hard…
UNHCR Mid-Year Trends 2014
Where We’re From
Interactive app tracks migrants around the world.
This application is now being hosted by IOM.int.
The underlying data for the map was published by the World Bank in 2010.
BBC Archive: Migrant crises through history
This migrant crisis is different from all others
(BBC) For 100 years, waves of displaced and frightened people have broken over Europe again and again and the images have been strikingly similar each time.
Yet there is one major difference between these waves of migrants in the past and the one we have seen in 2015.
Professor Alex Betts, director of the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University, explains: “What’s dramatic about today is that this is the first time Europe has faced people coming in from the outside in large numbers as refugees.
“The fact that many are Muslims is perceived as challenging Europe’s identity.”
European societies are changing very fast indeed as a result of immigration.
In London, for instance, more than 300 languages are now spoken, according to a recent academic study and the city’s mayor, Boris Johnson.
The influx of migrants reinforces people’s sense that their identity is under threat.
But how can the world deal conclusively with the problem?
The former UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, Sir John Holmes, blames poor global governance.
“Other powers are rising,” he says. “And the United States doesn’t have the influence it once did – Syria is an example of this – so the problem’s not being fixed, no-one’s waving the big stick and we’re having to pick up the pieces.”
We have endured an entire century of exile and homelessness and the cause is almost always the same – conflict and bad government.
Unless these are dealt with, the flow of migrants will never be stopped.
“One million” migrants have entered Europe this year. The milestone represents a four-fold increase in the number of arrivals compared with 2014, according to data from the International Organization for Migration—and almost half are from Syria. More than 3,500 either drowned or went missing on their journey.
The symbolic milestone was passed on Monday, the IOM said, with the total for land and sea reaching more than 1,006,000.
The figure covers entries via six European Union nations – Greece, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, Malta and Cyprus.
A UN report also last week warned that the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide would “far surpass” 60 million this year.
French President, unlike the Republican Party, refuses to appease ISIS and will take 30,000 refugees
(Daily Kos) Since Friday’s horrific attacks in Paris, the Republican Party has delighted ISIS by tripping over themselves to declare that the United States shouldn’t take in Syrian refugees because … uh … well, because even if they didn’t have anything to do with the attacks, they are Muslims, so why not equate all of them with the terrorists who murdered at least 129 people last week?
Why Syrian refugee passport found at Paris attack scene must be treated with caution
(The Guardian) … a wider debate has now begun about the wisdom of letting so many unknown migrants enter Europe through its southern borders, and being allowed to move onwards through the continent with few restrictions. Already, there are calls to step up the policing of Greece’s maritime border with Turkey, and to block the passage of refugees entirely. … a more logical response would be to create an organised system of mass-resettlement from the Middle East itself.
… it would formalise rather than end the continent’s biggest wave of mass migration since the second world war. But it would enable Europe to screen refugees before they arrive; work out who they are and where they’re from; and decide where they should go, and when they should get there. If such a process can be completed for a large enough group of people, and in a swift enough fashion, it would help deter a majority of refugees from traipsing through Europe in the current chaotic way. It would also give European governments a better chance of weeding out potential bombers – a fact that some Syrian refugees have acknowledged themselves.
Such a strategy seems likely to fail. Europe is not nearly as isolated as Australia. An Australian-style policy of turning back boats would be impossible to enforce because Europe’s eastern shores lie less than six miles from where refugees set sail, rather than dozens. Instead, a more logical response would be to create an organised system of mass-resettlement from the Middle East itself.
Do Syrian refugees pose a terrorism threat?
Daniel Byman claims that security risks are low unless the crisis is handled poorly, saying, “The worst thing European countries could do would be to invite in hundreds of thousands of refugees in a fit of sympathy and then lose interest or become hostile, starving them of support and vilifying them politically, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
(Brookings) Syrians and Iraqis have been fleeing their countries’ civil wars for years, but the refugee crisis grabbed international headlines last month when it forced itself on the European scene. Over 500,000 Syrian asylum seekers and thousands of Iraqis have gone to Europe as of September 2015, and that number is expected to climb dramatically. Some European governments reacted harshly, barring refugees from entering and restricting their transit, while others, notably Germany, are welcoming them with open arms – at least for now.
Debate about the refugees, both in Europe and the United States, often focuses on the question of terrorism: with the Islamic State raping and beheading with numbing regularity in Iraq and Syria, the fear is that admitting refugees from this part of the world will open the door to more terrorism and violence in Europe. Conservative voices in Europe have invoked the specter of Europe being flooded with “half a million” Islamic State fighters, while humanitarians dismiss predictions of a terrorism epidemic.
Both sides have it wrong. Concerns about terrorism and the refugees are legitimate, but the fears being voiced are usually exaggerated and the concerns raised often the wrong ones
Marco Morosini: We Are Creating Tomorrow’s Environmental Refugee Crisis
Colonialism has manifested through military occupation, political domination, slavery, exploitation of natural resources, capitalizing on ethnic conflicts, arbitrary demarcation and nation-building, and the development of economical structures that service European cities. The repercussions of those crimes still linger today.
(World Post) Demographers speculate that the current stream of refugees to Europe is nothing compared to to the looming migration of millions of environmental refugees. Indeed, the burning of fossil fuels –and the release of CO2– is playing a major role in climate change. As a result, many countries –especially the poorer ones– face threats of drought, desertification, livestock mortality, and the perishing of water resources, among other disasters. …
Environmental refugees have no legal protection under the Geneva Convention of 1951. In an effort to change that, representatives from more than 100 governments met in Geneva to hold a Global Consultation on October 12 and October 13, 2015. They came up with an “Agenda for the Protection of Cross-Border Displaced Persons in the Context of Disasters and Climate Change.” The event was organized by the Nansen Initiative, which was launched in 2012 by Switzerland and Norway to address the needs of people displaced due to natural disasters and climate change.
Foraus, a Swiss think tank calls on Switzerland to continue its work with the Nansen Initiative, and to commit to the recognition of legal protection for environmental refugees. Foraus also calls for a new understanding of migration as a multi-causal phenomenon: it’s often a result of a combination of social, economic, political and environmental factors.
Much ado about nothing? The economic impact of refugee ‘invasions’
(Brookings) To those European Union citizens who think that the ongoing “refugee invasion” into the EU is quickly becoming economically unsustainable: If the experience of Syria’s neighbors is anything to go by, you may need to think again.
Let’s first put things into perspective. This year up until July the EU received 513,580 applications for asylum (including Syrians and others). Since January 2012 the number has been 1.9 million, which makes the size of the “swarms” and “invasion” of “marauder” asylum seekers equivalent to a mere 0.37 percent of the EU population. Over the same period, Lebanon—a country with many institutional and political challenges of its own—has registered 1.1 million Syrian refugees. Without including the tens of thousands of unregistered refugees, this figure is still a quarter of Lebanon’s population, comparable to the EU taking in 127 million refugees. Even if the EU were to follow Turkey’s example and take in “just” 2.6 percent of its own population as refugees, it would pretty much single-handedly solve the global refugee crisis by absorbing 13 of the 14.4 million refugees registered with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). …
While the fear of economic collapse does not withstand serious scrutiny, a more founded concern may be that not everyone in the host economy will benefit from a large influx of refugees. A lot more refugees competing for jobs can reduce employment opportunities and/or wages for the host community’s residents. Again, a closer look at the data dispels most of these fears. Recent research finds that while Syrian refugees in Turkey—the majority of whom have no formal work permits—have displaced unskilled informal and part-time workers, they have also generated more formal non-agricultural jobs and an increase in average wages for Turkish workers. In addition, many of the displaced workers have gone back to school and may well increase their wages once they return to the labor market.
EU Countries Struggle To Reach Consensus On Refugee Relocation
“A majority of the member states are ready to move forward but not all of them.”
The European Council agreed “in principle” Monday to relocate 160,000 refugees across EU member states, but Slovakia and the Czech Republic still vehemently oppose the deal.
A final deal on a more ambitious proposal of relocating 120,000 refugees remained out of reach due to disagreements between French and Slovakian interior ministers, sources told Politico EU.
The council, which comprises the heads of state of European Union member nations, first agreed in June to an emergency measure calling for the relocation of 40,000 people, but that has yet to be implemented. Last week, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker submitted a larger-scale quota proposal that would add 120,000 people to the plan.
Even though all member states agreed to the idea that the 160,000 people should be relocated, Slovakia and the Czech Republic want their participation in the process to be voluntary. Other members think it should be mandatory. … Each country that agrees to participate will receive a lump sum of 6,000 euros per relocated person. Denmark and the United Kingdom have opted out of participating.
#Whoarethey: Europe’s asylum-seekers come from all walks of life, abilities
By Nahlah Ayed
Complex mix of asylum seekers runs gamut, from tiny children to elderly
Miguel Urbán: When Will Europe Stop Passing The Buck?
(World Post) The war in Syria didn’t start yesterday. Neither did the mass exodus of refugees fleeing violence, bombs, gunfire and the Islamic State. It shouldn’t have been very difficult to guess that the more than two million displaced persons in Lebanon and Turkey weren’t going to stay there permanently. And it should have been obvious that their final destination was always going to be Europe
The war in Syria didn’t start yesterday. Neither did the mass exodus of refugees fleeing violence, bombs, gunfire and the Islamic State. It shouldn’t have been very difficult to guess that the more than two million displaced persons in Lebanon and Turkey weren’t going to stay there permanently. And it should have been obvious that their final destination was always going to be Europe. However, the European Union watched from the sidelines, as if these issues were none of their concern. Recurring news coverage from countries like Bosnia, Macedonia and Serbia, and the reports from Human Rights organizations in the Balkans, have not been able to draw the E.U.’s attention to the fact that, since this past spring, the number of refugees crossing these territories towards central Europe has been steadily increasing. Until, of course, those refugees finally arrived.
After arriving in Greece, the refugees had to go through the Balkans, to reach the 175-km long razor-wire fence that the Hungarian government erected along its border with Serbia, or to camp in front of the central train station of Budapest (around which much conversation centers today).
Migrant Crisis: Where Have the Gulf States Been?
(The Atlantic) Why a region with $2 trillion in annual income can’t seem to spare much for the neighbors
Migrant crisis: Why the Gulf states are not letting Syrians in
(BBC) In 2012 as the war with Bashar al-Assad began to become a more clearly established competition between Sunni Gulf Arab interests and Iranian aligned allies, deep fears began to pervade the Gulf states that Syrians loyal to Mr Assad would seek to infiltrate the Gulf to exact revenge.
Screening of Syrian travellers to the Gulf began apace, and it became markedly more difficult for Syrians to receive work permits or renew existing permits.
The policy has not yet changed, with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE in particular extremely concerned about the potential for Assad loyalists to strike back.
Rumours have persisted in the Gulf for the past three years of cells of terrorist suspects being rounded up quietly and detained, although no direct proof of a plot by Assad supporters has ever come to light in public.
Additionally, the influx of thousands of Syrians at once would threaten to overturn a highly delicate demographic balance that the Gulf states rely on to keep functioning.
… So the idea of thousands of foreigners coming in, without employment or any definite return date, is deeply uncomfortable for Gulf states.
There is no precedent (not even the Palestinian exodus of 1948) that matches the scale of the demographic threat Syrian refugees pose to Gulf identity and social composition. And the Gulf states simply have no response to questions the Syrian refugee crisis poses.
The Guardian view on Hungary and the refugee crisis: Orbán the awful
After years of disdain for democracy and European solidarity, Budapest is making life harder for desperate people fleeing war zones. The rest of the continent must stand up against this rotten regime
In a refugee crisis of unprecedented proportions, Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, has set himself up as a bulwark against a generous-spirited, pan-European approach. Desperate people, mostly from Syria, have been blocked from trains in Budapest’s Keleti station, and have been hounded by policemen ready to spray them with tear gas. Refugees have been told that they are at last to be transported further west, only to discover with despair that they are instead being taken to a makeshift camp for registration. Some of these measures appeared to be lifted over the weekend, but as thousands trudged or bussed their way towards Austria and then Germany, the dismal scenes in Hungary will stain one administration’s human rights record – and perhaps the reputation of a nation.
It is important to distinguish between the callousness of this government and Hungary as whole: recent days have also seen volunteers distributing aid in Budapest, and one former Hungarian prime minister welcoming a dozen refugees into his home.
The Arab world’s wealthiest nations are doing next to nothing for Syria’s refugees
(WaPost) As Amnesty International recently pointed out, the “six Gulf countries — Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain — have offered zero resettlement places to Syrian refugees.”
Glavin: Little Alan Kurdi, and the one photograph that mattered
(Ottawa Citizen) … they never had a chance, and the plan was doomed long before it even appeared as part of a meticulously developed plan contained in a carefully constructed, elaborate submission, with appendices, drafted by the smart young Coquitlam-Port Moody New Democratic Party MP Fin Donnelly and submitted directly to Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander. They were all going to make it to Canada by way of a “G5” private-sponsorship application for refugee resettlement in Canada. …
The villainy, if that it what is, is to be found mostly in Turkey’s exemption from certain provisions of the 1951 Refugee Convention.
The United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees does not register asylum seekers in Turkey. Turkey does not issue exit visas to refugees who do not possess referrals from the UNHCR. In Turkey, there are no “refugee camps.” There are Turkish “temporary protection shelters.” The Kurdis had no papers, no UNHCR refugee designations, and no passports, and therefore did not qualify for exit visas.
That is why the Kurdis’ plans to obtain G5 refugee-resettlement approvals from Citizenship and Immigration Canada were doomed from the start, and it is why Alan and Ghalib and their parents ended up boarding that boat.
Hungarian PM: We don’t want more Muslims
Viktor Orban’s comments come as refugees are forced off train headed towards Austria and taken to refugee camp.
Icelanders offer up homes to Syrian refugees
Facebook users offer help after government says it will take 50 refugees over two years
THE MIGRANT CRISIS: HERE’S WHY IT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK
(Globe & Mail) European nations are tightening their borders, shutting down trains and ramping up rhetoric to stop a surge of refugees from reaching their shores. But myths about the European tide are misleading policy makers about how bad the crisis is and why it’s happening – and that could have deadly consequences for asylum seekers. Doug Saunders does a reality check
What has reduced boat-migrant numbers is the opening of legal channels for trans-Mediterranean migration, as Spain did in the 2000s. Even if only a few hundred people are admitted through legal, visa-driven entry regimes, countries have found that the existence of such programs causes the numbers of illegal migrants to fall to negligible numbers.
(Globe editorial) Migrant crisis? No, Europe is facing a moral crisis
There is no simple solution to the crisis. But one thing at least has become clear: Europe is mishandling it, badly. The European Union can no longer reconcile labour mobility inside the open-borders, passport-free Schengen zone with the Dublin Regulation, the rule that an asylum-seeker must make his application in the EU country where he first arrived – and normally must stay there until his case is resolved. Bankrupt and depression-ridden Greece, where many refugees are landing, cannot afford for them to stay. And Greece is not their destination.
The Dublin Regulation has to give way. It needs to be repealed or replaced. There should be no attempt to confine large numbers of asylum seekers to Mediterranean Europe, where unemployment is high and society itself is already strained. This is a European problem, and it needs a European solution. Countries on the EU periphery can’t handle it themselves, and shouldn’t be forced to.
At the same time, a continent that is working itself into a panic over the idea that it is being swamped by a human tidal wave needs to get a grip, and put the situation in perspective. The human beings trying to enter Europe are clearly in crisis – but why must Europe act as if it is in crisis? Yes, in the first half of 2015, more than 300,000 migrants arrived in Europe. But that’s only about 0.1 per cent of the EU’s population. Canada takes in close to 1 per cent of its population each and every year, in the form of immigrants and refugees. Canada is not in crisis as a result. Quite the opposite.
The Greeks, to their credit, have exposed the nonsensical character of Europe’s stay-where-you-land Dublin rules. They have simply let migrants keep on moving into Macedonia, and thence to points farther north, if they can.
Admirably, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany has made clear that her country could comfortably absorb as many as 800,000 migrants – which would help an aging labour force from shrinking. But Germany cannot and should not bear the whole burden.
Shocking images of drowned Syrian boy show tragic plight of refugees
Young boy found lying face-down on a beach near Turkish resort of Bodrum was one of at least 12 Syrians who drowned attempting to reach Greece
(The Guardian) Conditions on islands have become increasingly chaotic with local officials voicing fears over the outbreak of disease amid rising levels of squalor.
“The problem is very big,” said Mouzalas, a doctor who is also a member of the Doctors of the World aid organisation. “If the European Union doesn’t intervene quickly to absorb the populations … if the issue isn’t internationalised on a UN level, every so often we will be discussing how to avoid the crisis,” he told reporters, insisting that the thousands risking their lives to flee conflict were refugees.
“There is no migration issue, remove that – it is a refugee issue,” he said.
Refugee Rights Group Wants Iceland To Drop Dublin Regulation
Iceland should stop using the Dublin Regulation – a European law that gives signatory nations the right to deport asylum seekers back to their previous point of departure. The law is a controversial one, as it has created bottlenecks at asylum seeker entry points. Most recently, Germany opted to stop using the regulation against Syrian refugees.
Migration crisis: bid for united EU response fraying over quota demands
Governments divided over how to deal with unprecedented migration to the EU, with states increasingly blaming each other
(The Guardian) Europe’s fragmented attempts to get to grips with its worst ever migration crisis are disintegrating into a slanging match between national capitals ahead of what is shaping up to be a major clash between eastern and western Europe over a common response.
Berlin has won plaudits for seizing the moral high ground and opening its doors unconditionally to Syrian refugees but Austria and Hungary attacked it on Tuesday for stoking chaos at their railway stations, on their roads and at their borders as thousands of people seek transit to Germany.
Refugee Crisis Hits Sweden as Voters React to Sudden Influx
The surge in the importance of immigration, which could be interpreted as both pro and against, comes as thousands of refugees seek to enter Europe from mainly Syria, with Sweden as one of their main destinations. The Nordic country has accepted the most refugees per capita in the European Union, and expects an influx of 74,000 this year, straining its budget and long-tradition of tolerance.
That migration has become the biggest issue for voters, before jobs, schools and health care “creates big problems for the established parties,” Peter Santesson, head of opinion at Demoskop, said in an e-mail. “Voters have for a long time been more skeptical of immigration than the established parties.”
Migrant crisis: Five obstacles to an EU deal
(BBC) Europe is struggling with its biggest migration crisis since World War Two, with unprecedented numbers of refugees and other migrants seeking asylum in the EU.
The 28 EU interior ministers will hold an emergency meeting on the crisis on 14 September. July was a record month, with more than 100,000 reaching the EU’s borders.
But it is proving difficult to get agreement on joint action, as migration pressure varies from country to country. What are the biggest obstacles to a solution?
The International Day of the Disappeared: What happens to those who go missing through disaster and migration?
On 30 August, their plight of the disappeared is commemorated for those who have gone missing without a trace in situations of violence and armed conflict. The impulse for the day came from the Latin American Federation of Associations for Relatives of Detained-Disappeared, a non-governmental organisation founded in 1981 in Costa Rica.
The international humanitarian movement has launched a new online tool to help reunite families separated along migration routes to Europe.
Trace the Face allows separated family members to search for each other by posting a picture of themselves to publicise their search, and ask for assistance. Participating in the programme which launches on International Day of the Disappeared are 23 Red Cross and Red Crescent societies.
Most seeking asylum in Europe are refugees, not mere migrants: Nahlah Ayed
Word ‘migrant’ at milder end of lexicon that aims to diminish suffering caused by Syrian war
Early Tuesday morning, a Periscope broadcast courtesy of a journalist for the German Bild magazine captured video of a group of Syrian youth as they set foot in Germany after an arduous journey from Aleppo, their broad smiles beamed to us live.
- ANALYSIS | How one Iraqi migrant achieved his ‘dream’ of reaching England: Margaret Evans
- Should Canada accept more of the migrants escaping across the Mediterranean to Europe?
- ANALYSIS | EU’s response to migrant crisis all too familiar: Margaret Evans
“I’m very very happy, it’s a dream coming true,” said Feras, one of the disheveled youth who’d left Aleppo, traversing Turkey, the Mediterranean, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary and Austria to eventually walk across the German border on Tuesday morning.
You listen and watch him, and suddenly the word “migrant” makes no sense, when it’s clear he and his friends are refugees.
UNHCR viewpoint: ‘Refugee’ or ‘migrant’ – Which is right?
(UNHCR) – With almost 60 million people forcibly displaced globally and boat crossings of the Mediterranean in the headlines almost daily, it is becoming increasingly common to see the terms ‘refugee’ and ‘migrant’ being used interchangeably in media and public discourse. But is there a difference between the two, and does it matter?
Yes, there is a difference, and it does matter. The two terms have distinct and different meanings, and confusing them leads to problems for both populations. Here’s why:
Refugees are persons fleeing armed conflict or persecution. Their situation is often so perilous and intolerable that they cross national borders to seek safety in nearby countries, and thus become internationally recognized as “refugees” with access to assistance from States, UNHCR, and other organizations. They are so recognized precisely because it is too dangerous for them to return home, and they need sanctuary elsewhere. These are people for whom denial of asylum has potentially deadly consequences.
Refugees are defined and protected in international law. The 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol as well as other legal texts, such as the 1969 OAU Refugee Convention, remain the cornerstone of modern refugee protection. The legal principles they enshrine have permeated into countless other international, regional, and national laws and practices. The 1951 Convention defines who is a refugee and outlines the basic rights which States should afford to refugees. One of the most fundamental principles laid down in international law is that refugees should not be expelled or returned to situations where their life and freedom would be under threat.
The protection of refugees has many aspects. These include safety from being returned to the dangers they have fled; access to asylum procedures that are fair and efficient; and measures to ensure that their basic human rights are respected to allow them to live in dignity and safety while helping them to find a longer-term solution. States bear the primary responsibility for this protection. UNHCR therefore works closely with governments, advising and supporting them as needed to implement their responsibilities.
Migrants choose to move not because of a direct threat of persecution or death, but mainly to improve their lives by finding work, or in some cases for education, family reunion, or other reasons. Unlike refugees who cannot safely return home, migrants face no such impediment to return. If they choose to return home, they will continue to receive the protection of their government.
Abandoned at Sea
Smugglers cast 5,000 desperate souls adrift on the Andaman Sea. Survivors spoke to UNHCR about their terrifying ordeal.
(UNHCR) In May of this year, at least 5,000 refugees and migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh found themselves stranded at sea when the people smugglers and ship crews who had promised to take them to Malaysia abandoned them en masse in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.
Despite everything – the increased scrutiny by authorities, the widespread media coverage, the haunting images of starving people stranded in the ocean – little has changed. The number of Rohingya and Bangladeshis leaving their homelands by boat dropped dramatically in May, once the crisis unfolded, but that is what happens every May, when the rains begin. And every year, after a lull during these monsoon months, the traffic picks up again in September and October. Last October, an estimated 13,000 people embarked on smugglers’ boats in the Bay of Bengal, the most ever recorded in one month.
In late June, UNHCR met with Rohingya community leaders in Malaysia to get their sense of how, if at all, the boat movements had been affected by all the attention they had received. There was a general consensus that although the movements had been shut down temporarily, their re-emergence was inevitable, possibly as soon as this September. A couple of contacts had heard that smugglers were already recruiting new passengers in Maungdaw.
Europe’s migrant crisis will not slow and EU nations must share duties, says UN
Refugee agency expects up to 3,000 people per day to cross Mediterranean to southern Europe despite efforts of Macedonian and Hungarian governments
(The Guardian) Migrants will continue to arrive in southern Europe at the rate of 3,000 a day until November, the UN’s refugee agency has predicted, as record numbers of people crossed into Hungary.
According to the UNHCR, nearly 300,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean so far this year – 181,500 to Greece and 108,500 to Italy. About 10,000 migrants arrived in Macedonia from Greece over the weekend despite the Macedonian authorities’ attempts to stop them.
The latest bottleneck is in Hungary, where refugees were continuing their journey north despite efforts by the government to stop them. According to police data, 2,093 migrants were detained on Monday, the highest figure so far this year. Over the past week the daily average has been 1,493.
Climate change and the growing challenges of migration
(Brookings) Every year, in early July in Aix-en-Provence, the Cercle des Economistes organizes a forum, the “Rencontres Economiques.” This year the focus was on the changing nature of work. One panel focused on the challenges and opportunities of increased migration for migrants, and for the host and sending countries. In a discussion that largely focused on the benefits of expanding the mobility of the young, one of the most striking observations highlighted that, in spite of the surge of asylum seekers landing on our shores, immigration of humanitarian origin (conflicts and natural disasters) are only around 10-15 percent of migrant flows. Yet, since early July, the situation has only gotten worse with a quarter of a million refugees having crossed the Mediterranean at mid-year, more than all last year while Turkey is hosting close to 2 million Syrian refugees. Certainly, the disintegration of states resulting from political, ethnic, and religious conflicts are the proximate causes of this migration surge, but evidence from the new climate-economy literature suggests that weather has also played a role and will certainly play a growing role as our planet warms. …
while the ongoing Syrian civil war has many contributing factors (political conflicts, a policy of food self-sufficiency relying on water-intensive wheat crop, inadequate urban policies, and refugees from Syria), the exceptionally long five-year drought linked to rising mean temperatures in the Eastern Mediterranean has contributed to civil unrest. Iraqi refugees added on to the 1.5 million internally displaced persons in Syria (see Figure 2). These migrations amounted to 20 percent of urban population in Syria, which increased by 50 percent in eight years. Had misguided agricultural policies been avoided, the supply of groundwater would have provided a cushion during this exceptionally long drought and, according to the accumulating evidence of the new climate-economy literature, social tensions would have been less.
The Global Refugee Crisis: Can We Ignore It Much Longer?
Conflict, persecution, and human rights violations have forcibly displaced an unprecedented 59.5 million people worldwide at the end of 2014, according to a recent UNHCR report.
The global forced migration crisis is perhaps the most under-reported and disturbing development facing the world today. Even more troubling than the staggering figures are the tragedy’s human dimensions and governments’ hesitance to address the plight of refugees stranded in horrific conditions along coastlines and borders worldwide. This year, an estimated 1,750 migrants have died crossing the Mediterranean Sea, over 30 times more than during the same period last year. Meanwhile, in Southeast Asia, over 100,000 Rohingya have fled persecution and apartheid-like conditions in Myanmar. Many have endured starvation and brutality aboard overcrowded boats as they are ping-ponged between nations refusing to accept them. Others have suffered imprisonment, torture and death at the hands of Thai traffickers with alleged government complicity.
The international community’s response to this humanitarian crisis has been anemic at best and morally negligent at worst.
The Dominican Republic Wants To Deport 60,000 Stateless Kids
(World Post) A series of Dominican legal developments since 2004 have eliminated the concept of birthright citizenship here. A 2013 decision by the Constitutional Court applied the new standard retroactively, effectively stripping thousands of Dominican-born people of their citizenship.
Dominican officials have staunchly defended their widely criticized efforts to codify citizenship standards that exclude people born in the country to undocumented parents, arguing that sovereign countries have the right to decide their own citizenship laws
World Refugee Day: stories of everyday heroes helping Syrian refugees
In Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq, local communities and refugees are banding together. A new campaign pays tribute to their generosity
(The Guardian) With nearly four million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq, a heavy toll has been placed on local populations. Basic infrastructure, including schools, hospitals and water supplies, has been placed under enormous strain.
But despite the pressures, many local communities have stepped in to help new arrivals. Refugees have also banded together to support each other. To mark World Refugee Day, the European commission’s humanitarian aid and civil protection department (Echo) has partnered with the Danish Refugee Council to pay tribute to the everyday heroes supporting Syrian refugees.
UN: 2014 saw record number of world refugees
In 2014 a record 59.5 million people were refugees, asylum seekers or displaced due to conflict, violence or war, says an annual global trends report by the United Nations refugee agency. That total figure is up 16% from 2013 and 59% from 2004, says the report, which was released in advance of World Refugee Day on Saturday. The Guardian (London) (6/18), The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (6/18), Voice of America (6/18), Voice of America (6/18)
‘It Felt Like War’
Decades after Mandela promised unity, xenophobia is tearing South Africa apart.
Of course, on a planet where thousands of Rohingya Muslims sail from country to country hoping one will agree to take them in and boats of African migrants repeatedly capsize in the Mediterranean, South Africa’s xenophobia woes can seem small by comparison. But they are not. Indeed, South Africa stands among the largest receivers of asylum seekers in the world—nearly 70,000 per year—who pour across its borders from nearby Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi, but also as far away as Nigeria, Somalia and Bangladesh.
(Politico magazine) The diagnoses of the problem that bring about these attacks rarely vary. The experts I call for my stories could repeat them in their sleep: too few jobs, too much poverty, the desperation of local politicians, and of course, the rattling bones of a long history of violence and exclusion.
But far less attention is paid to those moments between attacks, or to the xenophobia that is stitched into nearly every public institution a migrant encounters in this country, from immigration services to the police to the hospitals.
Qatar Is Treating Its World Cup Workers Like Slaves: Nepal Earthquake Edition
(Mother Jones) The latest Guardian report adds to the mounting criticism from human rights organizations, corporate sponsors, and foreign officials on Qatar’s World Cup preparations. A 2013 Guardian investigation estimated that at least 4,000 migrant workers, who face dire working and living conditions and meager pay, will die before kickoff in 2022. Squalid conditions already have led to more than 1,200 worker deaths since Qatar won its 2010 bid to host the World Cup, including at least 157 Nepali workers in 2014. (Nepali workers have died at a rate of one every two days.)
Malaysia finds mass graves of suspected migrants
Police discover 30 large graves containing remains of hundreds of people near human trafficking detention camps.
Breakthrough in Asian migrant crisis as Indonesia and Malaysia agree to help
Two countries agree to offer temporary shelter for thousands of refugees and economic migrants who have been trapped on boats on south-east Asian seas
The announcement was made on Wednesday by the Malaysian foreign minister, Anifah Aman, after a meeting with his counterpart from Indonesia and Thailand to address the plight of the migrants.
Most of them are the long-persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar and others are Bangladeshis fleeing poverty.
Anifah said the two countries agreed to give the estimated 7,000 stranded migrants temporary shelter “provided that the resettlement and repatriation process will be done in one year by the international community”.
The breakthrough came as hundreds more starving people were rescued off the Indonesian coast on Wednesday and Burma for the first time offered to help in the crisis which has been blamed in part on its treatment of the ethnic Rohingya minority.
EU plan for migrant quotas hits rocks after France and Spain object
French president François Hollande says quotas are ‘out of the question’ 24 hours after Spanish foreign minister flatly rejects proposal
An EU plan to impose migrant quotas on member states – stipulating how many refugees each country should accept – appeared close to collapse on Tuesday after France and Spain withdrew their support.
The UK said last week it would opt out of the scheme, saying it opposed compulsory quotas for immigrants on principle, but insisting it would continue to accept asylum seekers.
Now the future of the plan, part of a package of proposals for addressing the Mediterranean migrant crisis drawn up by the European commission, is in doubt.
The package also includes potential military action against smuggling networks, including the destruction of smugglers’ boats. The EU is awaiting approval from the UN security council for such action.
NYT Editorial: The Rohingya Refugees, Adrift
While governments are finally taking steps against human traffickers, they have shown little mercy or concern for their victims.
Nicholas Kristof: Crisis at Sea
A mass atrocity is unfolding in Asia: boat people are fleeing concentration camps in Myanmar, and now other countries are pushing their boats back out to open sea so that they drown in open ocean–something close to mass murder. The Obama administration, which prefers to see Myanmar as a success, is silent. This is just unconscionable and urgent–so help spread the word!
Governments are probably uninterested in rescuing refugees for fear that they would then have to take them in. Thailand has long had a policy of sending refugee boats on their way, and Indonesia this week pushed two ships carrying hundreds of Rohingya back to sea. As for Malaysia, “we won’t let any foreign boats come in,” an admiral said.
Europe also has a refugee crisis, but at least European countries are mounting search-and-rescue operations to try to save lives. What Southeast Asian governments are doing is the opposite.
(Quartz) Europe proposes solutions on migrants. The EU will suggest countries take in refugees according to a quota system based on the size of the country and other factors. The EU’s foreign-policy chief will lay out a plan at the UN security council to use EU ships to attack vessels in Libyan waters before they can smuggle migrants across the Mediterranean. Libya’s government has rejected the plan.
Thousands of migrants were rescued off Indonesia. Several boats carrying Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar and other refugees were towed to safety by Indonesian fishing boats after smugglers abandoned them at sea without food or water. Many are feared dead from dehydration or starvation. ‘Thousands’ of Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants stranded at sea
Kenneth Rogoff: Inequality, Immigration, and Hypocrisy
Europe’s migration crisis exposes a fundamental flaw, if not towering hypocrisy, in the ongoing debate about economic inequality. Wouldn’t a true progressive support equal opportunity for all people on the planet, rather than just for those of us lucky enough to have been born and raised in rich countries?
Many thought leaders in advanced economies advocate an entitlement mentality. But the entitlement stops at the border: though they regard greater redistribution within individual countries as an absolute imperative, people who live in emerging markets or developing countries are left out. …
Allowing freer flows of people across borders would equalize opportunities even faster than trade, but resistance is fierce. Anti-immigration political parties have made large inroads in countries like France and the United Kingdom, and are a major force in many other countries as well.
Of course, millions of desperate people who live in war zones and failed states have little choice but to seek asylum in rich countries, whatever the risk. Wars in Syria, Eritrea, Libya, and Mali have been a huge factor in driving the current surge of refugees seeking to reach Europe. Even if these countries were to stabilize, instability in other regions would most likely take their place.
Blog: Desperate measures for African migrants
People across the continent are risking death through conflict and dangerous boat journeys to escape poverty at home.
Weekend Roundup: ‘The Wretched of the Earth’ Are on the Move as Migrants
(World Post) Military action against human traffickers and beefed up humanitarian rescue operations are the urgent order of the day. And, yes, a history of colonial oppression, the unintended consequences of recent Western interventions and, in the case of the Americas, insatiable demand for drugs, bear responsibility. But in the end, bad governance in the migrants’ countries of origin is the chief culprit.
Governance is destiny. It determines whether a society goes forward or backward. China rebounded from the opium trade and colonial occupation, created order and stability and lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty. Singapore wasn’t even a country 50 years ago but managed to vault from the Third to the First World by smartly governing itself. Rwanda has recovered from the wounds of genocide and is a beacon of progress. All have succeeded by taking charge of their own fates, not blaming others or relying on the kindness of strangers.
Security Council is worried by migrant smuggling
The United Nations Security Council on Tuesday expressed concern about the loss of life and possible regional destabilization from illegal transport of migrants across the Mediterranean. Separately, Francois Crepeau, the UN special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, says planned resettlement and migration would help people and alleviate illegal migration. Reuters (4/22), The Guardian (London) (4/22)
U.N. refugee chief to visit Kenya to plan return of Somali refugees
The head of the U.N. refugee agency will visit Kenya in early May to discuss plans to repatriate more than 335,800 Somali refugees following a massacre by Somali Islamists at a Kenyan university.
Kenya has given the United Nations three months to close Dadaab refugee camp, one of the largest in the world.
Kenya has said in the past that al Shabaab militants use the camp as a hideout.
EU Promises To Act Over Migrant Crisis After Mediterranean Disaster
(Reuters) – EU foreign ministers promised on Monday to do more to stop migrant deaths in the Mediterranean by increasing rescues and catching traffickers, stung by a weekend tragedy that killed up to 700 people off the Libyan coast.
Many European governments have long been reluctant to fund rescue operations in the Mediterranean for fear of encouraging more people to make the crossing in search of a better life in Europe, but they now face outrage over the refugee deaths.
The ongoing tragedy of migrants and the Mediterranean
Thousands of desperate people risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean to reach Italy. Many never make it.
(Foreign Policy) Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has asked that European leaders discuss irregular migration at a meeting in Brussels. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said that Europe has a “moral duty” to solve the crisis. Pope Francis appealed to the international community “react decisively and quickly to see to it that such tragedies are not repeated.
IOM Calls for Action to Combat Violence Against Migrants in South Africa
IOM has expressed deep concern over the resurgence of attacks against migrants that are ongoing and continue to spread throughout Durban and other parts of South Africa over the past two weeks.
Strongly condemning the violence which has already seen more than 2,000 migrants flee their homes, IOM called for urgent collective interventions by the government, media and civil society to prevent violence against migrants in the country, and asked civil society organizations to work closely with the law enforcement authorities and report cases of violence and planned attacks.
Italy phases out sea rescues to save migrants
(AP) — Italy insisted Friday that lives won’t be sacrificed as it ended its costly Mediterranean Sea rescue operation and shifted over to a less ambitious joint patrol with the European Union.
Italy launched the Mare Nostrum (Our Sea) operation last year after 366 would-be migrants drowned off Sicily. Italian ships and aircraft involved in the 9.5 million-euro ($11.9 million) per month mission patrolled close to the Libyan coast, rescuing over 100,000 people who had paid smugglers to bring them to Europe.
Italy had long insisted that Europe must do more to shoulder the burden of rescuing migrants. Rome successfully lobbied to have the EU’s Frontex border control agency launch a new operation, Tritone, which begins Saturday. … [but] while Mare Nostrum “almost reached the North African coast,” Frontex will be patrolling Europe’s borders, not Libya’s.
Some 21 EU nations have said they would be willing to contribute ships, aircraft and personnel to the Tritone mission, which has a budget of 2.9 million euros ($3.6 million) a month, the European Commission said.
UN warns Spain against migrant deportations
(AFP) – The UN on Tuesday warned Spain over plans to instantly deport migrants who clamber over the border fence into its north African territories, saying Madrid could end up breaking international law.
“UNHCR is concerned over a proposal by Spain to legalise automatic returns of people trying to cross border fences into its enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla,” said the UN refugee agency’s spokesman William Spindler.
Spindler told reporters that UNHCR understood the “complexity” of border management in the two enclaves, which are tucked into Morocco’s Mediterranean coast.
But blanket, on the spot deportations could fall foul of the 1951 Refugee Convention, an international treaty protecting people who flee their homelands, he said. Hundreds of Migrants Storm Morocco-Spain Border Just three of the migrants who charged towards the seven-metre (23-foot) fence in separate locations at dawn made it into the territory of Melilla, the Spanish government delegation there said in a statement.
Italy Could Close Down Its Rescue Program For Migrants Crossing The Mediterranean
(AFP) – The EU will launch a patrol mission in the Mediterranean on Saturday amid warnings the number of boat migrant deaths could rise with Italy mulling pulling the plug on its own rescue mission.
To complicate matters further, Britain said Tuesday it won’t support the planned EU search and rescue operation, arguing it will create an unintended “pull factor” for more migrants to attempt the dangerous sea crossings.
Europe’s worsening migrant crisis – the Guardian briefing
The news of 700 would-be illegal migrants, possibly more, feared drowned after traffickers rammed their boat off Malta has brought the issue of migration into Europe to a head. But what can be done about it?
Migrants from Africa and the Middle East risking increasingly perilous journeys into Europe has been propelled to tragic prominence with the news that around 700 people, possibly more, are feared drowned after two migrant boats sank. About 500 of those were seemingly murdered when traffickers rammed their vessel off Malta. According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), almost 3,000 would-be migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean this year so far, against 700 for all of 2013. In parallel, the agency that monitors the EU’s external borders, Frontex, says more people are set to risk undocumented passage into Europe this year than at the height of the Arab Spring, with almost 140,000 illegal border crossing detected up to mid-July 2014, among them large numbers fleeing the violent chaos in Syria and Libya.
African migrants suffocate on voyage to Italy
Italian rescuers find bodies of 18 people, believed killed by engine fumes, on migrant boat carrying 600 people.
Migrants in Italy: Arrival and survival
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
(Al Jazeera) In the first six months of 2014, 63,884 people have arrived in Italy from ships sailing from Libya, flooding a system that is not funded to deal with them. Most are from African countries, especially Eritrea, Somalia, Mali, and Ghana.
Italy has asked the European Union for help in dealing with the influx of migrants and the EU, in turn, has criticised the conditions of some of the centres, saying Italy has broken EU rules on granting asylum.
Child Migrants Have Been Coming to America Alone Since Ellis Island
And no, we didn’t just send them packing.
(Mother Jones) An unaccompanied child migrant was the first person in line on opening day of the new immigration station at Ellis Island. Her name was Annie Moore, and that day, January 1, 1892, happened to be her 15th birthday. She had traveled with her two little brothers from Cork County, Ireland, and when they walked off the gangplank, she was awarded a certificate and a $10 gold coin for being the first to register. Today, a statue of Annie stands on the island, a testament to the courage of millions of children who passed through those same doors, often traveling without an older family member to help them along.
An op-ed piece in the NYT on July 11th entitled Break the Immigration Impasse, co-authored by three prominent Americans, concluded “Signs of a more productive attitude in Washington – which passage of a well-designed immigration bill would provide – might well uplift spirits and thereby stimulate the economy. It’s time for 535 of America’s citizens to remember what they owe to the 318 million who employ them – Two of the co-authors, Warren Buffett & Bill Gates, are people whom one could easily associate with such civic duty expectations but the third, Sheldon Adelson, is more of a puzzler. Almost, but not quite, as rich as the other two, he is a gambling casino magnate & a major financial backer of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who in the 2012 Presidential election first heavily underwrote Newt Gingrich’s unsuccessful run in the Presidential primary & then, after he flamed out, did the same for Mitt Romney. And in contrast to the others, he is well to the right in his political leanings
Frontex publishes Eastern European Borders Annual Risk Analysis 2014
Illegal immigration – A global problem
(Borderzine) [I]n Europe there has been an upsurge in illegal immigration going back many years where impoverished and persecuted peoples from Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and former Soviet Union countries have made the often perilous treks to enter Europe in hopes of finding a better life. Many arrive by inland routes crossing into Eastern Europe via Albania, Greece, Turkey and other eastern European borders, coming from such countries as Georgia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Syria, and Bangladesh. Others take sea routes from Africa in the Western and Central Mediterranean, with refugees fleeing the poverty and violence in Syria, Libya, Tunisia, Somalia, Eritrea and elsewhere. Latest figures show at least 103,000 people illegally entered the EU in 2013, literally risking their lives, hoping to find economic opportunity and the security lacking in their home countries. Those numbers have only grown as refugees have fled from growing violence in Syria, Somalia, and elsewhere in the Middle East and Africa. …
Spain faces similar issues given only the roughly 30 miles between its southern coast and the North African nation of Tunisia. In fact to enter Spain, Tunisian and other African refugees need not even set sail in the perilous Mediterranean Sea. They simply can cross into the Spanish African enclaves of Melilla or Ceuta bordered with Morocco.
Most modern-day immigrants arrive in Australia by air, are documented, and can be processed through the government’s normal immigrant and asylum procedures. Beginning with the end of the Vietnam war and through today’s turmoils in Afghanistan, Indonesia and elsewhere in Southeast Asia a, number of refugees began to arrive by sea, the majority (greater than 85%) because of the manner in which they were forced to flee from their home countries without proper documentation or visas. … this past year a new government has instituted mandatory detentionof “unauthorized” arrivals by boat, stipulating that such “illegal” immigrants would never receive legal status in Australia and stripping them of rights under Australia’s Special Humanitarian Program. The “illegal” immigrants are instead now sent to detention centers outside of Australia, under agreements with Australian-administered territories of Nauru and Papua, New Guinea. Since December of 2013 no new arrivals by boat people have been allowed or even acknowledged, and an unknown number of boats were forced to return to their countries of origin, even those who actually reached Australian waters.
Illegal immigration to Europe shows sharp rise
(Telegraph UK) The number of illegal migrants reaching Europe’s border has jumped sharply in the first four months of this year, suggesting this year’s total could be on track to overtake the 140,000 refugees who arrived during the 2011 Arab Spring, according to new figures.
Frontex, the European Union border agency, said 42,000 illegal immigrants reached the EU between January and April this year, a four-fold increase on the same period last year.
Waves of immigrant minors present crisis for Obama, Congress
(Reuters) – Tens of thousands of children unaccompanied by parents or relatives are flooding across the southern U.S. border illegally, forcing the Obama administration and Congress to grapple with both a humanitarian crisis and a budget dilemma.
An estimated 60,000 such children will pour into the United States this year, according to the administration, up from about 6,000 in 2011. Now, Washington is trying to figure out how to pay for their food, housing and transportation once they are taken into custody.
The flow is expected to grow. The number of unaccompanied, undocumented immigrants who are under 18 will likely double in 2015 to nearly 130,000 and cost U.S. taxpayers $2 billion, up from $868 million this year, according to administration estimates.
The shortage of housing for these children, some as young as 3, has already become so acute that an emergency shelter at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, has been opened and can accommodate 1,000 of them, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in an interview with Reuters.
Frontex Publishes Annual Risk Analysis 2014
Detections of illegal border crossing at the EU external borders increased sharply in 2013, rising to over 107,000 from 75,000 in 2012, with Syrians, Eritreans and Afghans being the most commonly detected nationalities.
Migration towards the EU in 2013 was characterised by three main phenomena: a significant increase in the number of Syrians arriving, a steady flow of migrants departing from North Africa and heading across the Mediterranean to Italy, and a sharp increase in detections of irregular migrants on the Western Balkan route. … At 19,000, the number of detections at the border between Hungary and Serbia was almost three times that of a year earlier and made the Western Balkan route the number-three hot spot for illegal border crossings in Europe. Full Report
International migration policies and data International Migration Outlook 2012
This publication analyses recent development in migration movements and policies in OECD countries and some non member countries. This edition’s special chapters cover renewing ageing workforce skills and Asia in international migration.
Fearing retribution, Syrian minorities keep low profile in exile
(Reuters) … as Syria’s conflict takes on an increasingly sectarian dimension, a growing number of those fleeing to Turkey are shunning the refugee camps on its southern border and venturing instead to its major cities, as far from the war as possible. … Turkey shelters more than a quarter of the 2 million people who have fled Syria’s war, 200,000 of them in the official camps dotted along its 900 km (560 mile) border. But twice that number live outside the camps, including almost all the refugees who have arrived over the past few months. While many have the means or family ties to find lodging, the numbers of those forced to sleep rough appear to be growing in cities, including Istanbul and Ankara.
Mediterranean ‘a cemetery’ – Maltese PM Muscat
Malta’s prime minister has said European waters close to Africa are turning into a cemetery, after another boat laden with migrants capsized. The loss of life has renewed the debate within EU member states on migration rules.
Fortress Europe: How the EU Turns Its Back on Refugees
(Spiegel) They come seeking refuge, but when asylum seekers cross into the European Union, they often find little compassion. In Greece, they are held in squalid detention camps, while in Italy they often end up on the street. Here is what they face at entry points across the EU.
EU Immigration: Only the Rich Are Welcome
(Spiegel) Hundreds of poverty-stricken refugees are drowning in the Mediterranean, while at the same time, many European Union member states issue residence permits to wealthy Chinese, Arabs and Russians. Anyone is welcome who can pay the asking price.
Money in exchange for a Schengen visa — governments in Greece, Spain and Hungary are using this offer to try and attract new investors from around the world. The model undermines Europe’s strict asylum and immigration laws. And the tragedy off Lampedusa, where more than 150 Africans drowned last week when their boat caught fire and sank, has shown how morally dubious it is
International migration continues to rise, UN study says
A United Nations study reports that global migration has continued since the global economic recession, underscoring people’s desire to seek work outside their country of origin. “Migration broadens the opportunities available to individuals and is a crucial means of broadening access to resources and reducing poverty,” says Wu Hongbo, UN undersecretary-general for economic and social affairs. Inter Press Service (9/11)
Peter Sutherland: The Responsibility to Protect Migrants
(Project Syndicate) Migrants face countless perils. Vicious mafias smuggle them across borders with reckless disregard for their lives. Rapacious recruiters fleece them of their earnings. Abusive employers exploit their labor. And, adding insult to injury, anti-immigrant sentiment erodes the political will to confront these challenges.
Yet, when it comes to protecting migrants’ well-being and rights, smart practices abound – and should be promoted more widely and implemented more frequently. With the number of international migrants on track nearly to double in the coming decades, such practices must become reference points for action.
The plight of migrants is particularly tragic when its source is violent conflict, like in Syria and Libya, or natural or manmade disasters. In crises like these, migrants’ lives and physical safety are jeopardized through no fault of their own. Yet the world has no clear guidelines for how to protect them.
World Refugee Day: housing refugees in durable homes, not tents
Public-private partnerships can improve housing facilities for refugees, offering better comfort and security to families seeking safety from conflicts
The current crisis in Syria has once again brought to the attention of the world the plight of refugees. Amid political upheaval in the Syrian state, people have been uprooted from their homes and are now either in, or awaiting placement in, refugee camps across the region. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated crisis, but one which is mirrored across the globe on a daily basis.
The refugee story does not stop once individuals and families have fled their homes. In fact, the average refugee spends 12 years in camps and often has to endure crowded, unfamiliar and sometimes unsafe surroundings on a daily basis.
There have been many important innovations over the years to help refugees, especially in the area of logistics. However, the way we house families hasn’t changed as dramatically as it perhaps should have.
With this in mind, the Ikea foundation, along with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and the Refugee Housing Unit have come together to develop a new refugee shelter which they hope will go a long way in improving the living standards and experiences of some of the world’s most vulnerable people. With the foundation’s belief that every child should have a safe place to call home, this partnership has recently launched a series of prototype shelters in Dollo Ado in Ethiopia.
Trapped in Apulia: Europe’s Deepening Refugee Crisis
(Spiegel) A young Liberian refugee arrives in Italy, where he is left to fend for himself and winds up homeless in a filthy slum. When he flees to Germany, the government there invokes EU asylum law and sends him back. It is a cycle of degradation faced by thousands of African refugees living in Europe today.
Climate changes will create a new kind of refugee
The Refugee Council of Australia is urging the government there to recognize the status of climate refugees. “There will be a need for people to be resettled because they have been displaced by climate change,” says Phil Glendenning of the Refugee Council. The Global Mail (Australia) (4/15), The Guardian (London) (4/16)
New solutions needed for victims of forced migration, Red Cross says
There are myriad reasons why more than 70 million people have been uprooted and are living as migrants: armed conflict, disasters, politics, development work, climate change. Whatever the reason, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says in a report that governments should do more to help forced migrants — whether it is issuing temporary work visas or granting new forms of citizenship. AlertNet (10/17), The Guardian (London) (10/16)
Refugee numbers are unlikely to decline, UN official says
António Guterres, the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, discusses the crises that have given rise to more than 40 million refugees and displaced people across the world. The problem — brought to the fore Wednesday in commemoration of World Refugee Day — is unlikely to diminish, Guterres said, as extreme weather patterns brought on by climate change continue to force millions from their homes. Newsweek (6/19)
In Search of Eldorado? Migration to Richer Countries Increases in Past Two Decades
(Times of India) An estimated 3.2 million migrants from Bangladesh stay in India, making it the single largest “bilateral stock” of international migrants residing in developing countries. India also figures in another major migration corridor – some 1.4 million international migrants from India are residing in Saudi Arabia. These latest estimates were released last week by the UN Population Division (UNPD).
The world’s largest international migration “corridor” is the one between the United States and Mexico. In 2010, the United States hosted some of the world’s largest stocks of international migrants, including from Mexico (12.2 million), mainland China (2 million), the Philippines (1.9 million) and India (1.6 million).
Revisiting the refugee convention 60 years on
Is the 1951 convention relating to the Status of Refugees relevant in today’s world? Millions of people are fleeing their countries for reasons the framers didn’t foresee 60 years ago, such as climate change, endemic food insecurity, overpopulation and terrorism. IRINNews.org (3/26)
Changing migration patterns
Welcome home: After three decades of migrating to the coast, the inland population is increasingly working closer to its roots
(The Economist) Recent changes in migration patterns, though they are only just beginning, may be more than temporary distortions caused by troubled Western markets. They reflect China’s evolving economy and its ageing population. Even deep in the interior, the days of an abundant and apparently endless supply of cheap, young labour are over. The number of 15- to 29-year-olds peaked last year, according to UN estimates, and the working-age population as a whole will begin to decline in a few years.
OECD International Migration Outlook 2011
Migration patterns are changing in response to economic changes, with many Europeans choosing to live and work in the developing world rather than their home country.
Europe’s ruinous debt crisis and job-sapping economic miseries are reshaping migration trends, with a generation of home-grown talent grabbing at the chance of economic rewards on continents once treated with disdain. Read more
Africa grapples with mixed migration
African countries are struggling to effectively manage protection and assistance for mixed influxes of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. Conflict in DR Congo, crisis in Zimbabwe and drought in the Horn of Africa are causing mass movements of people. IRINNews.org (9/28)
Aid group evolves as global migration spreads
The rapid spread of legal and illegal migration across the world has meant that the International Organization for Migration — described as “part research group, part handyman crew” — has become indispensable to its 132 member countries. Nearly all its work is carried out under tight constraints and financed on a project-by-project basis, giving donors even more control. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (8/30)
UN: Poor countries bear growing refugee burden
More people last year were forcibly displaced from their homes by conflict or persecution than at any time since 1985, according to a report released Monday by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Four out of five of the 43.7 million refugees — some 15.4 million of whom fled across borders, and 27.5 million of whom were uprooted within their own countries — are in developing countries, which UNHCR report says are “left having to pick up the burden.” Reuters (6/20), The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (6/19)
‘North Africa Needs a Marshall Plan’
(Spiegel) What to do with the thousands of North African refugees arriving in Italy and Malta? The issue has hopelessly divided the European Union’s member states. In Germany and France politicians are calling for greater border controls to keep out the latest wave of migrants. Most editorialists agree that new rules are required for sharing the burden.
Italy, which has received the lion’s share of immigrants, primarily from Tunisia, angered several other European nations when officials recently stated they would offer visas to immigrants who have landed on Italian shores since January and encouraged them to travel north to other European Union countries. More than 20,000 immigrants from North Africa have landed on the Italian island of Lampedusa since unrest started in the region in January.
Migration to nearly double by 2050, report says
The number of economic migrants could reach 405 million by 2050, according to a report released today. The increase, from about 214 million in 2009, will likely reflect the flight of people from developing countries because of the effects of climate change and a paucity of jobs. AlertNet/Reuters (11/29)
Migrant Population on Track to Hit 400 Million
By Sanjay Suri
MADRID, Nov 29, 2010 (IPS) – The population of migrants worldwide could rise above 400 million by 2050 if present rates of growth continue, says a report by the International Organisation for Migration released Monday.
The report says that “if the number of international migrants, estimated at 214 million in 2010, continues to grow at the same pace as during the last 20 years, it could reach 405 million by 2050.”
“The world itself is becoming a hotspot for migration,” Peter Schatzer, chief of staff of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), told IPS. “It’s no longer the traditional migration routes to Europe and the U.S. alone that will see pressure. Now the emerging economic powers also attract migration, such as Brazil, South Africa, India, China.”
Governments everywhere are ill prepared to deal with the new migration explosion, Schatzer cautioned.
“Most governments do not have a systemic and systematic approach, they do not have even a single ministry dealing with migration,” he said. “It may be the labour, health, interior ministry and so on. What we suggest is the need to coordinate and have a dialogue between countries that send migrants, transit countries, and destination countries in order to get a handle on this.”
The report warns that without such action the world “will be taken by surprise by the relentless pace of migration.”
The report, ‘The Future of Migration: Building Capacities for Change’, says demographics, economic needs and environmental change are driving the growing numbers of international migrants.
One of the reasons for this steep rise will be significant growth in the labour force in developing countries from 2.4 billion in 2005 to 3.6 billion in 2040, the report says. This could accentuate the global mismatch between labour supply and demand.
The economic crisis has hit migrants hard. Remittances to developing countries declined by 6.0 percent in 2009 due to the economic crisis, the report says, “although some countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Philippines benefited from an increase in remittances between 2008 and 2009.”
“In the developing world, between 2005 and 2014, 1.2 billion people will newly move into the labour market,” Schatzer told IPS. “At the same time in the developed world populations are aging. This requires new types of work that cannot be filled by jobs by the indigenous population, but clearly the developed world cannot offer more than a billion jobs to the developing world; most jobs have to be resolved in the countries of origin.”
The mismatch is becoming ever more serious, Schatzer said. “This is a tremendous challenge for countries of the South because young people today have a lot of information. The globalisation of information has also let a lot of people in the South know how one could live, what conditions exist in destination countries. Dealing with these expectations will be a major challenge for the governments in the South.”
“It is easy to say people should go away,” he added. “But people don’t necessarily follow that if they don’t see a future for themselves. We must give people a future in their own countries.”
Recent moves against migrants in several European countries could be excessive, Schatzer said. “Such actions are a reaction to a perceived or real malaise; they are also part of the response to an economic crisis where migrants are blamed, not necessarily justifiably, for competing for jobs with the local population.”
In the EU, Frontex has become the controversial strong arm of immigration control. Such organisations have a limited role to play, Schatzer said.
“Frontex is the European agency trying to help European governments control their borders better. It is an effort to coordinate these approaches, but border guards or walls cannot solve such problems because when one area is controlled, smugglers and traffickers move somewhere else.”
Beyond the headline-grabbing migration moves into Europe, South-South migration is becoming increasingly an issue, the report says.
“The emerging economies of Asia, Africa and Latin America are becoming ever more important countries of destination for labour migrants, emphasising increasing South-South movements of people and the need for those countries to invest in migration management programmes and policies.”
Not all new migration is for economic reasons. Emerging patterns of irregular migration involve “growing numbers of unaccompanied minors, asylum-seekers, victims of trafficking, or those seeking to escape the effects of environmental or climate change but for whom there is currently little international protection,” the report says.
“Investing and planning in the future of migration will help improve public perceptions of migrants, which have been particularly dented by the current economic downturn,” IOM director-general William Lacy Swing says in the report. “It will also help to lessen political pressure on governments to devise short-term responses to migration.”
The report identifies labour mobility, irregular migration, migration and development, integration, environmental change and migration governance as areas expected to undergo the greatest transformation in the coming years.