Rayhan Ahmed Topader:
Public perception of and opinions on human trafficking, human smuggling and the situation of migrants in general is in a state of flux; perceptions and opinions are heavily influenced by media depictions and highly dependent on the general political climate of a society. Political, public and even academic debates are often polarizing events that are characterized by stereotypical arguments. In the course of such debates, distinct phenomena such as trafficking and smuggling of humans are often mixed to the point that differences between the two become increasingly blurred.The treatment of migrants under international law is equally ambivalent. The two main phenomena of interest for criminal policy trafficking versus the smuggling of humans are addressed in the two amending Protocols to the 2000 UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime the Protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking, and the Protocol against the smuggling of migrants by land, sea and air. In the latter text, migrants are perceived as offenders rather than victims, in particular in the context of illegal smuggling. This is due to the fact that they represent the demand side of the illegal smuggling services, and it is this demand that is considered to be the main incentive for this branch of organised crime.Many powerful politicians and influential media might give the impression that rich countries, particularly in the West, are doing more than enough to help people fleeing war and persecution. But in reality, the picture looks very different.The international community, and in particular wealthy nations, are failing to meaningfully share the responsibility for protecting people who have fled their homes in search of safety.
In other words, they are failing to agree on and support a fair and predictable system for protecting people forced to leave everything behind because of violence and persecution.
Instead, lower- and middle-income countries are doing much more than their fair share hosting more than double the number of refugees that high-income countries are.In 2019, more than two-thirds of all refugees came from just five countries: Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Myanmar. Syria has been the main country of origin for refugees since 2014 and at the end of 2019, there were 6.6 million Syrian refugees hosted by 126 countries worldwide.In 2019, only half a per cent of the world’s refugees were resettled. Over the past decade, just over 1 million refugees were resettled, compared to 3.9 million refugees who returned to their country. Wealthier countries aren’t doing nearly enough to share the cost of protecting people who have left everything behind. Appeals for humanitarian assistance for refugees are consistently and often severely underfunded.In short, the world urgently needs a new, global plan based on genuine international cooperation and a meaningful and fair sharing of responsibilities The world’s top 10 refugee host countries.The world’s top 10 refugee host countries. Violence, insecurity, persecution and shortages of food, medicine and other basics, have prompted around 3.7 million Venezuelans to leave their country.Many wealthier states continue to prioritize policies that will deter people from seeking asylum, and finding ways to stop people coming altogether. At the same time, they are putting the onus on nearby countries to protect people fleeing for their lives. Such restrictive and short-sighted policies are forcing women, men and children to take dangerous land and sea journeys, putting their lives at risk and fuelling human rights abuses.
A graphic depicting the number of refugees per 1000 residents in several countries around the world.A graphic depicting the number of refugees per 1000 residents in several countries around the world.Amnesty International’s I Welcome global campaign is pushing for countries to agree a global and fairer system for protecting refugees and other people in need of international protection.Standoff at Belarus-EU border leaves asylum-seekers stranded. A group of 32 Afghan asylum-seekers, including women and children, are among several groups of people stranded in border areas between Belarus and Poland, Latvia and Lithuania. Some have spent weeks in increasingly dire and freezing conditions in border regions, being repeatedly pushed back when they attempt to cross borders and prevented from applying for asylum. UNHCR warned today that their situation will further deteriorate as winter approaches. Polish divers on Wednesday afternoon recovered the body of a 19-year-old Syrian man from the River Bug near the Belarus border, bringing the number of deaths at the border to eight in the past month. UNHCR’s regional director for Europe, Pascale Moreau said the lives of others were precariously hanging in the balance held hostage by a political stalemate, which needs to be solved now. The agency urged the countries concerned to abide by their international legal obligations to provide access to asylum for those seeking it at their borders.South Sudan hit by third year of extreme flooding. The worst flooding that parts of South Sudan have seen in 60 years has impacted over 700,000 people across the country, according to UNHCR. After weeks of heavy rains, the floods have swept away homes and inundated farmland, forcing families and livestock to flee to higher ground and neighbouring towns.
Others are marooned on islands surrounded by water, unable to cross to safety. UNHCR’s representative in South Sudan, Arafat Jamal said the country was on the frontline of the climate emergency, where the people are the collateral damage of a battle they did not pick. Many of those affected were still struggling to recover from two previous years of flooding. With rains expected to continue for the remainder of the year, UNHCR warned that increasing numbers of people will need humanitarian assistance, particularly following the loss of crops and livestock.Thousands flee Myanmar for India.The New York Times reports that increasing numbers of people in northwest Myanmar are fleeing clashes between the military and armed groups by crossing the border into neighbouring India. Since the army seized control in Myanmar eight months ago, roughly 15,000 people have crossed into India, according to UNHCR, including 5,000 who fled recent clashes. The new arrivals said they had fled attacks on their villages and slept in the forest for days before crossing the Tiau River that marks the border. Much of the recent exodus has been from Chin State, which borders the Indian state of Mizoram. Locals in Mizoram, many of whom are ethnic Chin, have been unofficially helping those fleeing Myanmar. Separately, The New Humanitarian reports that poverty and insecurity are soaring in Myanmar’s Dry Zone and Ayeyarwady Delta regions as costs of farming inputs rise and crop prices fall. A shrinking economy is reportedly worsening food insecurity across the country.
UN sets up fund to provide cash directly to Afghans. The UN said on Thursday it had set up a special trust fund to provide urgently needed cash directly to Afghans through a system that would tap into donor funds frozen since the Taliban took control of the country in August.
The UN Development Fund the aim was to inject cash into the imploding economy to help Afghan households get through the winter and remain in their country. Germany was the first to contribute to the fund with a pledge of €50 million. Some 97 per cent of Afghan households could be living below the poverty line by mid-2022, according to UNDP. The International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday that Afghanistan’s economy is set to contract by up to 30 per cent this year and that this could fuel further displacement across borders. Kidnappings in Haiti underscore deteriorating security situation. The abduction of 17 missionaries in Port-au-Prince highlighted a growing wave of kidnappings for ransom carried out by Haiti’s increasingly powerful gangs. Nearly 800 such incidents have been reported so far this year, according to the Haitian NGO Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights. Haitians mounted a nationwide strike to protest the kidnappings.The country’s already precarious security situation has deteriorated significantly since the assassination of President Jovenal Moïse in July, with rival gangs fighting to gain control. The rise in violence, combined with a dire economic situation, and a string of natural disasters in recent years have led to growing numbers of Haitians fleeing the country.
The bombardment took place shortly after a roadside bombing in Damascus killed at least 14 military personnel and is considered one of the deadliest to hit Idlib since a truce deal was reached in March 2020. UNICEF confirmed that four children and a teacher were among the dead. Separately, PBS Newshour reports on a severe wave of Covid-19 that is overwhelming hospitals in Idlib. The delta variant of the virus is hospitalizing young children already weakened by malnutrition while aid groups are struggling to deliver sufficient oxygen to displaced people sickened by the virus living in camps.
They have identified how issue-linkage strategies feature in the strategic calculations of European refugee host states and explored specific mechanisms at play, thereby providing an analytical framework that informs a range of stakeholders on state responses to forced migration. They have also demonstrated how Greece attempted to employ the European migrant crisis to project national interests and its domestic agenda at the EU level, thereby identifying conditions that enable coercive or co-operative bargaining strategies. Finally, we offer a more nuanced picture of the importance of forced displacement for EU member states’ foreign policy by demonstrating how intra-EU politics are affected by refugee crises on the broader neighbourhood.This obvious distinction between the two groups of victims certainly contributes to the public perception that migrants are criminals. More generally, they do not meet the common stereotype of the ideal victim. Unlike victims of THB who enjoy a privileged status of protection, ordinary migrants can at best enjoy general standards of victim assistance and victim protection effective at their destination at least in jurisdictions in which access to protection has not been barred for victims who have been involved in any kind of illegal activity before. Otherwise, it can happen that the legitimate victim status of migrants is denied just for the fact of having passed a state border illegally. This is in contradiction to one of the basic principles of justice for victims according to which the same victim rights shall be applicable to all, without distinction of any kind, Ultimately, the question is whether a politically motivated differentiation into two groups with two different standards of protection can be justified, especially in light of the enormous victimization risks to which all migrants are exposed.
Writer and Columnist