Celine Schmitt from the UNHCR tweeted this powerful photograph of a refugee camp in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). These people are fleeing the Central African Republic (CAR). For more information on the situation on CAR see the BBC website and for details on the number of refugees/countries of origin in DRC click here.
The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford has published a report on how migration in represented in twenty British national newspapers (broadsheet and tabloid) for the period between the beginning of 2010 and the end of 2012. A quantitative analysis was undertaken on an extensive data-set – 58,000 newspaper articles of various forms.
The report goes through in detail the language used in conjunction with certain key words, namely: “migrants”, “immigrants”, “refugees”, and “asylum seekers”. One of the key findings is that the most common word to be used in combination with “immigrants” is “illegal”, while “failed” was the most common word to be used when referring to “asylum”. A number of other associations were also identified and these are detailed in the report.
Not only does this very comprehensive report offer an overall insight into how particular discourses of migration are disseminated into the UK public forum during this time-period, but it also offers a template for researching large corpus’ of data. It is far from an easy task to analyse 58,000 articles in a systematic manner. Therefore, this research and the methodologies employed here can inform research projects in other geographical locations.
The Economist has published a map depicting the current location of the Mexican-origin population in the US. This map is intriguing and enlightening as it also charts the 1848 border between Mexico and the US. Following the 1848 war, Mexico agreed to surrender half of its territory to the US. This included the present-day states of Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Texas (and parts of several other states).
Although the political border between these two countries changed 166 years ago, the population of those of Mexican descent living in these areas has remained high – this of course includes recent arrivals, but also includes those that can trace their origins back to before the “new” border was enforced. In many ways this map reveals the constructed nature of borders and reminds us that the historical context of any present-day issue is vital to a full understanding of a given situation.
The publishing house Verso have compiled a list of key readings for undergraduates (available here). The 24 books are inclusive of works by Marx, Harvey, Lukes, Zizek, Balibar, and Anderson. This list would also be helpful and informative for post-graduate students and academics alike.
Admittedly there are a number of these publications that I have not read as of yet, but I’m thankful to have discovered this list and to begin reading. I’ll probably start with “The Curios Enlightenment of Professor Caritat” by Steven Lukes. It sounds fascinating! Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life” by the Fields sisters is also now on my “to read” list.
Following on from my recent post, which relayed the top migration issues of 2013 (number 10 to 6); the Migration Information Source has now released issues number 5 to 1 (full details available here).
Issue 5: The multiple challenges associated with European migration
Issue 4: The Syrian refugee crisis
Issue 3: Selling citizenship to investors
Issue 2: Emerging economies amend their immigration policies
Issue 1: The increasing complexity of international migration
There is an ongoing campaign taking place in Canada against the long-term/indefinite detention of immigrants who were found to have an “illegal”/irregular/undocumented immigration status (including those that were denied asylum). These protests are being undertaken by 191 detainees of the Central East Correctional Center, Lindsay, Ontario (who are currently on hunger strike) and are they supported by the group “End Immigration Detention”. Their website documents the various events that they are undertaking in support of these migrants, from protests outside the detention centers to solidarity fasts.
The migrants and their supporters have called for the release of all migrant detainees who have been held for longer than 90 days. They argue that if the removal of migrant detainees from the State cannot happen within 90 days they must be released. Secondly, they argue that immigration detainees should not be held in maximum security provincial jails, they should have access to basic services, and be close to family members. Lastly, they call for the provision of full access to legal aid, bail programs, and pro bono representation.
The practice of detaining migrants indefinitely and forcing them to remain in a limbo-like-reality is unfortunately a common practice that occurs in many countries, including Ireland. In a similar vein, the Irish Refugee Council is currently calling for an end to the Direct Provision system in Ireland. Although these centers (where those claiming asylum reside) are not prisons, similar issues face these migrants in Ireland as those in Canada. These people must remain in these centers for many years awaiting a decision on their asylum application. The Irish Refugee Council are calling for the State to permit those that are in the country for more than 6 months permission to work and live independently.
Amnesty International has criticized EU Governments for failing to provide adequate humanitarian assistance to those displaced due to the ongoing Syrian conflict. The organization highlights that only a small number of people have been offered refugee protection (12,000 or 0.5% of those displaced) and many of those fleeing Syria are prevented entry to European countries at the border. Indeed, 97% of those displaced (2.3 million people) have fled to the neighboring countries of Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt.
Amnesty International calls on European States to act on a number of key issues:
(1) Significantly increase the number of resettlement and humanitarian admissions to those from Syria.
(2) Assist boats in distress in the Mediterranean sea and ensure that those rescued are treated with dignity and have access to asylum procedures.
(3) End unlawful push-back operations.
(4) Provide legal safe passage for Syrian asylum seekers wishing to travel to European member states.
(5) Continue to provide support to countries hosting the largest numbers of refugees, particularly Jordan and Lebanon.
The full report is available here. On page 13 we can see that like most EU countries, Ireland has only pledged a small number of places for resettlement (90). Germany has offered by far the most number of places – 10,000.