Migration And Human Rights

Migration can be temporal or permanent, and it may be voluntary or forced. Migration is not a new thing — it is known historically, that people have always had migratory lifestyles. There is enough evidence that people have moved from faraway places to inhabit new areas.

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For example, Migrants from Asia ended up in North and South America over a period of time, via a land bridge over the Bering Strait. There has been several bulk movement of people in the history of humans, all of which were caused by some specific events during those times. The concept is very similar today. In fact, people find it easier to move because of the availability of efficient transport, way-finding technology, improved communications, media, and information, even though new policies, laws and controls in entry points are much more rigorous than ever before. Everyone wants to live happily and freely in a country where they get equal opportunities and with these opportunities they want to secure a better future for themselves and their families. There are two factors that influence migration

  1. Push Factors: Push factors are those that force the individual to move voluntarily, and in many cases, they are forced because the individual risk something if they stay. Push factors may include conflict, drought, famine, or extreme religious activity. Poor economic activity and lack of job opportunities are also strong push factors for migration. Other strong push factors include race and discriminating culture and political intolerance.
  2. Pull Factors: Pull factors are those factors in the destination country that attract the individual or group to leave their home. Those factors are known as place utility, which is the desirability of a place that attracts people. Better economic opportunities, more jobs, and the promise of a better life often pull people into new locations. Sometimes individuals have ideas and perceptions about places that are not necessarily correct, but are strong pull factors for that individual. As people grow older and retire, many look for places with warm weather, peaceful and comfortable locations to spend their retirement after a lifetime of hard work and savings. Such ideal places are pull factors too. Very often, people consider and prefer opportunities closer to their location than similar opportunities farther away. In the same vein, people often like to move to places with better cultural, political, climatic and general terrain in closer locations than locations farther away. It is rare to find people move over very long distances to settle in places that they have little knowledge of. These migrations normally occur due to the violation of human rights.

Since the beginning of mankind we have faced several changes in the principle of living life in a regular standard. Some changes were due to political and cultural progress and others varied from time to time due to protests, democracy and other remonstrations. Human rights first came in ideas during the early centuries after The Great Cyrus conquered Babylon and introduced a slavery free society for the first time. Then during the reign of Magna Carta people were given more and advanced rights and the rulers were subjected in the views of law. Although be definition of this age we know human rights as certain rights and norms that are said to be placed in order to maintain a peaceful and standard environment in the world among its people. There are primary rights that a person is supposed to be entitled inherently despite nationality, sex, age, culture, religion or anything that differentiates one person from another.

Nevertheless the advancements of human rights have always not been progressive. Some alterations took place due to economic tolerance of several places around the globe. During the middle of 16th century we have seen the first petition of right and after that at the late 17th century when the United States having declared its independence, the growth and the practice of basic rights seemed to bloom. During the devastating aftermath of the World War (II) the victorious nations came up and decided to form the United Nations to publish humanity and restore peace. Then one of the main pillars of human rights, “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights” was created. The first documentation of human rights consisted of 30 complete articles that protects the rights of an individual although not legally. It was a major and the most crucial step that towards forming the “International Bill of Human Rights” in 1966 effectively came into force in 1976.

The titles of the rights are as follows:

  1. The right to freedom
  2. The right not to be discriminated against
  3. The right to a life with security
  4. The right not to be enslaved
  5. The right not to be tortured
  6. The right to be recognized as a person
  7. The right to equality before the law
  8. The right not to be abused
  9. The right to fair treatment
  10. The right to an impartial trial
  11. The right to a justified punishment
  12. The right to privacy
  13. The right to move about freely
  14. The right to asylum in other countries
  15. The right to a nationality
  16. The right to marriage and a family
  17. The right to own property
  18. The right to freedom of thoughts
  19. The right to freedom of expression
  20. The right to peaceful meetings
  21. The right to democracy
  22. The right to human dignity
  23. The right to work
  24. The right to rest and recreation
  25. The right to an adequate living standard
  26. The right to education
  27. Copyright
  28. The right to a surrounding world
  29. The right to do one’s duty
  30. The right to human rights

1971 witnessed worst human influx from Bangladesh to neighboring India. Indian government reports that around 8-9 million migrants took shelter in 829 refugee camps. According to National Geographic, the estimated number of Bangladeshi refugees was 10. 0 million. Also, a large number of people were displaced within the country, estimated number was around 20 million (The UN in Bangladesh). To escape mass killing, rape and destruction, men, women and children defied many odds that took toll of untold sufferings and death. Then youth from all over the country crossed border to take arms training and join resistance as Freedom Fighters. Such a colossal influx had naturally been a huge burden on Indian economy and took India few months to give refugees logistic support in make shift refugee camps.

In Eastern province of Tripura, refugees outnumbered local inhabitants. In initial period, some refugees had to take shelter in subhuman conditions in abandoned drainage pipes at Salt Lake, Calcutta. Over crowded improvised living conditions in refugee camps lead to sickness and death. Beside government support, local people and some aid agencies helped to mitigate these sufferings. The humanitarian crisis caused by escalating violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State is causing suffering on a catastrophic scale. Extreme violence and discrimination have driven over 727,000 Rohingya refugees across the border into Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Not only has the pace of arrivals since 25 August made this the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world, the concentration of refugees in Cox’s Bazar is amongst the densest in the world. Refugees arriving in Bangladesh—mostly women and children—are traumatized, and some have arrived with injuries caused by gunshots, shrapnel, fire and landmines. Entire villages were burned to the ground, families were separated and killed, and women and girls were gang raped. Most of the people who escaped are now severely traumatized after witnessing unspeakable atrocities. These people found temporary shelter in refugee camps around Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, which is now home to the world’s largest refugee camp.

Refugees have access to the basics, such as food and health care, but they are still extremely vulnerable, living in highly challenging circumstances, exposed to the monsoon elements and dependent on aid. A major refugee crisis is taking place in the Middle East. More than 4. 2 million Iraqis have been displaced from their homes. More than 2 million refugees are in neighboring countries, including 1. 2 million in Syria and 800,000 in Jordan. The crisis represents the largest displacement in the region’s history since the Palestinian crisis and one of the largest caseloads ever dealt with by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The majority of these refugees represent ethnic and religious minorities, including formerly dominant Sunni tribes.

They are primarily scattered among poor urban areas of capitals like Damascus, Amman, Lebanon, and Cairo. Numerous reports highlight the appalling living conditions of displaced Iraqis—including reports of young girls resorting to sex work to survive and children forced into labor or other forms of exploitation. 3-6 Iraqis remain hidden within urban populations, with only certain family members venturing out to make a living in the informal economic sector. Although officially welcomed as “guests” in neighboring countries, the status of displaced Iraqis in their countries of asylum remains uncertain. Jordan, which began accepting Iraqi refugees 3 years ago, has closed its borders to most Iraqi migration. Syria’s long-standing tradition of open borders with Arab countries ceased in October 2007 when the government, burdened by the large influx of refugees, instituted a new visa system for Iraqis fleeing the conflict. Although a minority of wealthy Iraqis can secure residency visas in host countries, the majority have no legal status.

On the beaches of Greece, thousands of migrants landed every day. In the ports of Italy, thousands landed every week. Across the borders of Germany, Austria and Hungary, hundreds of thousands passed every month. But that was in 2015. Three years after the peak of Europe’s migration crisis, Greek beaches are comparatively calm. Since last August, the ports of Sicily have been fairly empty. And here on the remote island of Lampedusa — the southernmost point of Italy and once the front line of the crisis — the migrant detention center has been silent for long stretches. Visitors to the camp on Monday could hear only the sound of bird song. “It’s the quietest it’s been since 2011,” said the island’s mayor, Salvatore Martello. “The number of arrivals has dramatically reduced. ”It is the paradox of Europe’s migration crisis: The actual number of arriving migrants is back to its pre-2015 level, even as the politics of migration continue to shake the Continent. The above examples of migrations are basically migrations due to the unavailability of living conditions in the country the migrants migrating from. Mostly because of internal civil wars and political unrest. It is in the human rights of a person to seek a safer place to live. But in situations like this mass migration only happens illegally and this brings the question in legal arenas. Migration also occurs due to several external problems such as the availability of employment options in the host country. This is seen in countries that are in the European Union because of their free movement policy. Also in Greece after the inflation people are seeking for jobs and migrating to European countries with higher GDP. This essay is written to be submitted to YHRI with permission to publish.

11 February 2020

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