Distinguished Lecture and Open Discussion with Prof. François Crépeau, Oppenheimer Professor of International Law at McGill University (Montreal) and UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants.
Prof. Crépeau contends that the Global North should adopt a human-rights-based framework for migration and mobility that would include a plan to resettle a large number of refugees and to facilitate and regulate migrant mobility. The first moral imperative is to save lives: search and rescue efforts at sea must be increased. Mobility must be facilitated for two categories of people: refugees and economic migrants. Millions of refugees – Syrians, Eritreans, Somalis, Afghanis – are presently based in the Middle East, where there’s no future for them or their children, as host countries do not allow them to settle, get permanent residence or citizenship and become active citizens and taxpayers. The inaction of Europe during the past four years is actually what creates the market for smugglers. Collective resettlement programmes and mechanisms are needed: the Global North should resettle at least one million refugees over the next five years, according to an agreed-upon distribution key. For migrants coming for lack of economic opportunities, we have to work on the pull factors, mainly through reducing underground labour markets in the Global North, such as in agriculture, caregiving, construction and hospitality. We must also create smart visa opportunities that allow people to come and look for work and to change their visas for a work permit when needed. Liberalising, facilitating, regulating and taxing mobility corresponds to the needs of the labour markets, reduces the market for smugglers and reclaims control of the borders.
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