A truly excellent novel, now long-listed for the Booker Prize, about how the world could adapt to global mobility, and how individuals strive creatively when given mobility opportunities.
“Today, there are over 65.3 million forcibly displaced people worldwide. Of those, over 21 million are refugees. 21 million individuals have been forced to move from their homes in search of safety elsewhere. In our world today, refugees move through borders and swim through oceans; in Mohsin Hamid’s world in Exit West, refugees move by stepping through doors. Hamid offers readers (and perhaps even refugees themselves) a new lens through which to view and understand refugees: agency. The thread of agency is apparent throughout the novel – from the choices the characters make about their clothes and lifestyle, to decisions about the kind of life they want to live. However, the more apparent fact is that agency is dependent on mobility; refugees need mobility to exercise agency over their lives.”
To access the full article, please click here
South African soldiers apprehend irregular migrants from Zimbabwe. Photo Credit: Guy Oliver/IRIN
Seeing Europe export to Africa its worst border policies – based on repression, detention, expulsion and separation of families, considered as an appropriate deterrent for undocumented migration – and spending “development” funds for capacity building of African “integrated border management” systems is tragic. So much money, time and energy spent for naught, and such a toxic discourse being “adapted” to the African context!
Africa certainly has difficulties guaranteeing the rights of undocumented migrant workers, but it is not through repression that their situation will be made better. It is through regularisation processes which will empower them to claim their rights and through the availability of many more regular, safe, affordable and accessible mobility options, such as electronic travel authorisation mechanisms, visa liberalisation agreements (with dispense of short term visas) and visa facilitation for all kinds of visas (family reunification, student, retiree, internships, au pair, work permit, looking for work, etc.) which will allow most of them to circulate regularly and avoid finding themselves trapped in the vicious circle of migrant smuggling and underground labour markets.
Exporting one’s mobility problems to another continent by encouraging them to do what has utterly failed at home is not a solution. It will neither produce development in Africa, nor will it reduce unauthorised mobility to Europe. It will increase the precariousness of migrant workers everywhere, and push them further in the underground, in the hands of smugglers, unscrupulous recruiters and exploitative employers. And it will encourage authoritarian regimes to use anti-terrorism, anti-smuggling and anti-trafficking rhetoric to justify abhorrent human rights and labour rights violations.
One would expect much better from a continent that “invented” the human rights doctrine.
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“Understanding public attitudes towards refugees and migrants within their host communities is an increasingly important task. This working paper is intended as a primer – outlining current global polling data on public attitudes, and analysing what the literature has to say about the drivers influencing these attitudes.
This large evidence base has a number of implications for those working on refugee and migration issues:
- Engaging effectively with public attitudes towards refugees and migrants requires understanding the real world concerns, emotions and values around which attitudes are formed.
- These efforts work best when clearly rooted in national and local contexts, and the nuances of public attitudes within them.
- Traditional approaches to public engagement, such as ‘myth-busting’, may have exacerbated negativity and are unlikely to resonate beyond those who are already supportive. While evidence remains important in influencing policy debates, strategies must acknowledge its limitations as a persuasive tool.
- Emotive and value-driven arguments may have more traction than facts and evidence. Successful strategies might highlight the manageability of the situation, while emphasising shared values.”
To access the working paper, please click here
Rescued migrants on the deck of the Iuventa of the NGO Jugend Rettet during the Easter Weekend 2017 operations. Despite a nominal capacity of no more than 100 people, the Iuventa had to take on board hundreds of people to make up for the absence of state-led SAR assets. Photo Credit: Giulia Bertoluzzi.
Please see this new report on how NGOs are being accused by certain European politicians to collaborate with the smugglers, when they are helping rescue migrants off the coast of Libya. This is very serious research work.
“Aiming to deter migrants from crossing the Mediterranean, the EU and its member states pulled back from rescue at sea at the end of 2014, leading to record numbers of deaths. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were forced to deploy their own rescue missions in a desperate attempt to fill this gap and reduce casualties. Today, NGOs are under attack, wrongly accused of ‘colluding with smugglers’, ‘constituting a pull-factor’ and ultimately endangering migrants. This report refutes these accusations through empirical analysis. It is written to avert a looming catastrophe: if NGOs are forced to stop or reduce their operations, many more lives will be lost to the sea.”
To access the full report, please click here