Very recently we had a conference in Lorca called migration crisis, and I was asked to talk about this issue. What I did I stand up and firmly claimed that we do not have a migration crisis!
Is migration a Human Right?
While preparing for the conference I asked myself if there is a human right that grants us the possibility to move and/or migrate. I did not really remember what is stated in the official European and International documents, and as well my thoughts were kind of divided on this issue. First of all my pragmatic mind was telling me how we can have the right to migration, if this is almost impossible to achieve, having boarders, visas, with the nationalism raising, and controls and fans on the European boarders being even more protected that the ones in prisons. On the other hand side I felt that that there must be a freedom to move. If not because of the direct Human Right to migrate, at least as a possibility to guarantee many of other Human Rights – right to education, housing, employment, or being safe. And then my mind started going crazy and thinking what about the people who need to move to be able to realize their dreams, make possible their dreamed employment or who are in love. Just think about the young person who lives in the big city and their dream job is to be a fisherman, or archeologist or any other employment that is related with the specific geographical condition. Should those people have the possibility to follow their dreams? And what about the case of falling in love, that let´s be honest it is happening quite a lot around the world, let´s just take a famous number of 1 000 000 Erasmus children that already has been born. Shouldn´t we have the right to fall in love and be with a person of our choice wherever it is?
So I have checked the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and this is what I have found:
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
I am still feeling confused.
Migration is not a problem but it shows the problem!
Currently we have about 244 millions of people who live outside of their country of origin. Why those people migrated? There are many possible reasons for this, and among them we can find economic factors like unemployment, poverty or hazardous working conditions, social factors like poor services (lack of education, medical care), or unsafely because of sexism, racism, state religion etc; we have as well political factors among them oppression, persecution, conflicts; and environmental ones like natural disasters, pollution, lack of resources. And there is as well a small group who decided to move because they fell in love, or they prefer to have a warmer climate, but this group will not be a subject of our analysis.
I am asking myself if we would be calling migration as crisis in the hypothetical case of the push factors mentioned above of migrations would not exist? I mean with the simple words if people´s rights will be guaranteed and they would be satisfied and safe in the places where they were born? And saying it with the other words – if the global problems of poverty, unemployment, conflicts would not exist?
I guess that most of you said that in this case we would not be calling migration a crisis, and most probably not that many people would be moving. So actually the problem might not be really in migration? And we should not focus on migration but rather solving other challenges that we have around the world?
What are the causes of thinking that there is migration crisis?
And here comes for me the most important aspect – the human aspect of migration. Whenever we are talking about the crisis, that is very much linked with all the negative feelings, especially fear from the autochthonous population to loose their privileges. For example fear to have more competition on the labour market, fear that the subsidies that exists will need to be divided among more people, and even very famous fear of being invaded by the different culture.
If we talk about the migration as a crisis, we are supporting this feeling of negativity around migration, which can very easily lead to blame the migrant population for all the negative things that are happening in the hosting societies which might be or might be not caused by the migration. This negativity leads to many serious consequences in the society starting from the human aspect of division between people, quite often leading to racism, consequences that create challenges for the migrant communities, who already went through a lot, to have more problems to integrate.
Finally the negative environment within the society towards migrations might challenge the creation of the pro-migrant policies where the migrants are in the centre of attention, and which should support as well their rights. Simply if the society has the negative feelings and fears, political parties will not even try to pass some policies, being afraid to loose the voters (of course if there is a political will to do so).
So my message to everybody is to stop thinking about migration as a crisis, since there is no crisis of migration, but in my opinion we have crisis of Human Rights!