International Migrants Day & global migrant crisis

By Nithin Sridhar

December 18, i.e. today, is celebrated across the world as the ‘International Migrants Day’. The United Nations had adopted December 18 as the International Migrants Day back in 2000 to highlight the plight of migrants across the world, but today its relevance has increased manyfold.

Throughout history, people have always migrated from one place to another, often due to persecution or inimical social conditions. But the migrant crisis has reached its zenith in the last few years.

Europe has been the worst hit by the migration crisis in 2015. Following the rise of the Islamic State and other sectarian violence in the Middle East, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimated a migration of around 920,000 migrants into Europe through sea-routes alone. According to UN, the total number of international migrants all over the world has increased from 175 million in 2000 to 232 million persons today.

India has been witnessing mass immigrations from neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh for the last 6 decades. These migrants include people from minority Hindu communities who are fleeing persecution as well as people from majority Muslim communities who are illegally entering India looking for better livelihood.

International migration is a complicated issue that has elements of both human rights and global security. On one hand, people are forced to flee from their native lands due to persecution (Example- Hindu minorities fleeing Bangladesh), poverty, environmental calamities, and sometimes simply to have a better livelihood. Many migrants are forced to live and work in inhuman conditions (Example- Indian migrants in Saudi Arabia).

On the other hand, migrations in enormous volumes (Example, migration crisis in Europe) place huge social and economic burden on the host countries. It may further lead to ethnic clashes, riots, and disturbances. Then, there is the issue of terrorists infiltrating into host nations disguised as refugees, be it ISIS infiltrating Europe, or Bangladesh-based terrorists infiltrating India.

Without addressing both aspects of the issue, there cannot be a constructive solution to the growing migration crisis. It is high time that global leaders join hands to arrive at a constructive solution that will not only address the human rights of the migrants but will also take care of the concerns of the host countries. (Photo: nextyearcountrynews)