Human Rights over Politics

It is imperative in 2018 that the fundamental rights of a person must prevail over politics if there are to be improvements in the lives of migrants and refugees. This initiative has already been started in 2016.  The United Nations, with the support of its many members, hammered to form the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. The global consultations developed two agreements which are parallel to each other- migration and refugees. The aim of this effort is to put together an exhaustive approach towards international migration. The human rights of all migrants and refugees must be honored and the countries must increase cooperation among themselves. This may result in turning down the political heat presently linked with migration issues.

Two labels

There were a number of excellent reasons to build two global compacts. Making only one was not a pragmatic political and practical affair. The significant rise in the number of individuals moving to foreign countries for work and also the integration of International Organization for Migration to the United Nations system in 2016 brought migration into the UN coverage area for the first time. However, the refugees' particular rights and the obligations of the state to protect refugees as per the Refugee Convention translates into the fact they cannot be termed as migrants. The UN thus treats 'migrants' and the 'refugees' separately.

The problem is, in reality, the dividing line between a migrant and a refugee is blurred. Individuals jump from one category to another and sometimes multiple times. These happen automatically when people travel from one place to another searching for rights and securities for themselves and also for their families.

Human calamity

The problem with labels like migrants and refugees is that they are utilized to restrict and also contain the migration flows towards Europe. This was achieved by the creation of a two-tier system of assistance and protection. In such cases, the needs and rights of people who do not qualify under the refugee category have been practically disregarded. The focus, unfortunately, is on migration management and less than on rights.

A failure to protect refugee and migrant rights could increase the same problems the global bodies want to solve. One example of this faulty policy is smuggling. Most of the people who landed up in Europe wanted to travel by legal means- but cannot do so. Smugglers thus came into the picture, not by choice, but by compulsion.

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