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Give migrants reasons to stay home

Published: 
Sunday, April 29, 2018

I interpret data produced by the United Nations, and from my general observations, to conclude that behind the mass movements of people in our times are the outstanding and continuing failures of political and economic systems and institutions to meet the basic needs of large groups of people.

It follows that finding solutions to eliminate, even attenuate the problems that drive migration in all its forms, will require new thinking and structural changes, accompanied by transformed attitudes and personal beliefs by you and me to find new ways through which resources are accumulated and distributed.

The 2017 United Nations Report on Global Migration estimates that 258 million people moved in 2017; it’s a surge that has been growing for the last 17 years. The UN data shows that “high-income countries host almost two-thirds of all international migrants. As of 2017, 64 per cent of all international migrants worldwide—equal to 165 million international migrants—lived in high-income countries.”

The large majority of the migrants come from Asia (106 million), Europe (61 million), Latin America and the Caribbean and eduAfrica (36) million. Stranded in societies/countries not able to provide a comfortable living for them, and/or politically harassed by brutal leaders uncaring of their needs, people find what they perceive as a way out of their suffering, and so join the hordes seeking a new life elsewhere.

The economic and social inequity has been created and deepened by systems which allow for the exploration, production, and trading of resources at advantageous terms to the major exporting nations; by unequal access to human development opportunities to allow peoples generally from the South to achieve their full potential; inequity in the sharing of the benefits of development and trade even within industrialised countries—with the infamous one and ten per cent making off with the booty.

Entrenched international and national political systems which sustain the order of inequity are also among the reasons behind the flow of immigrants out of under and undeveloped countries to the “light”.

Religious persecution and violence are other powerful reasons why people flee en masse from countries and regions of the world.

In the instance of one group of migrants, refugees, the UN data shows that the use and abuse of political and coercive force of the State accounted in 2016 for 25.9 million, ten per cent of the migrants fleeing from their homelands.

One way of staunching the flow of migrants would be for the industrial world to genuinely work with developing countries to ensure that national economies and people in the underdeveloped world have reasons to stay at home.

In contemporary times, the world is faced with the “white is right and white has the right to dominate others” philosophy which reaches its apogee in Donald Trump. Following the Brexit vote by the British electorate to separate from and prevent unwanted Europeans and others, including the children and grandchildren of the Windrush generation, Theresa May as UK Home Affairs Minister developed the legal approach. As Prime Minister, May presided over the contemporary attempt to push the English-born of the Windrush generation out of the UK.

Her government now has to fulfil its promise to compensate and give legal status to the children and grandchildren of the Windrush generation.

Transformation of the dominant international economic, political, and military systems is a long-term ideal; previous efforts at non-alignment and the de-linking from the exploitative Euro-American economic systems have not achieved the objectives.

Hope lies, at least for amelioration, in the adoption of a “global migration compact” at the UN’s Inter-governmental Conference on international migration in December this year.

At home, you and I, and the Government face the challenge of the rush of thousands of Venezuelans seeking rescue from the conditions in their country. We cannot expect transformed behaviours of the large industrial countries to our own immigrants while we remain indifferent to the plight of others.

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