‘Camps That Are Becoming Cities – Cities That Are Becoming Camps : The Case of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon and Jordan
The Power of Life Stories : Situating the Narratives of Migrants and Refugees within the Context of the Law
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. »
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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. »
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The so-called “migration crisis” is policy-driven. Migration itself is a natural part of human existence ; it is neither a crime nor a problem, and it has the potential to be a remedy for many social ills. The collective response to date of placing restrictions on mobility is part of the problem, not of the solution…
With this in mind, I propose two axes of solutions to human mobility and eight goals to aim for.
The first axis consists in developing refugee settlement programs to serve more refugees than the current 1 percent. Private sponsorship of refugees should be included in these programs, because it progressively builds a constituency of nationals who are in favor of welcoming refugees.
The second axis consists in recognizing real labor needs and opening up considerably more visa opportunities or visa-free travel programs for migrant workers at all skill levels. With appropriate selection and organization, the numbers would be entirely manageable…
A 2035 agenda for facilitating human mobility would translate the existing 2030 agenda for sustainable development into “bite-sized” and achievable goals, targets and indicators. I suggest the following goals :
Goal 1. Offer regular, safe, accessible and affordable mobility solutions to all migrants, regardless of status or skill level.
Goal 2. Protect the labor and human rights of all migrant workers, regardless of status and circumstances.
Goal 3. Ensure respect for human rights at border controls, including return, readmission and post-return monitoring, and establish accountability mechanisms.
Goal 4. End the use of detention as a border-management and deterrence tool against migrants.
Goal 5. Provide effective access to justice for all migrants.
Goal 6. Ensure easy access for all migrants to basic services, including education and health.
Goal 7. Protect all migrants from all forms of discrimination and violence, including racism, xenophobia, sexual and gender-based violence and hate speech.
Goal 8. Increase the collection and analysis of disaggregated data on migration and mobility.
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