A collection of news articles, op-eds and thinkpieces on migration
A Glimpse of Hope in a Small Town in Tuscany
While Italy is generally scrutinized for its poor management and inhumane treatment of migrants, a small town in Tuscany may provide hope. In Villaggio La Brocchi, 38 families who are either waiting to be or have already been granted refugee status live and work closely together with people from neighboring towns. The hotel and restaurant run by the migrants themselves have become widely popular in the area and offer occupational courses to help find a job, showing that, also in Italy, coexistence is possible.
Trapped in Jordan and Lebanon
In Lebanon, over 1.5 million Syrians face increasing obstacles as new laws and regulations limit the refugees’ possibility to legally stay and find a regular job. Many live an immobile life, fearing detention and deportation, or are trapped in Lebanon, not knowing how much longer they will stay. Open Migration tells the story of five Syrians in Lebanon questioning whether to stay, return to Syria, or continue to Europe.
An op-ed in the New York Times brings attention to the 75,000 people displaced at the Jordanian-Syrian border. Caught in a buffer zone in the midst of a desert, they are unable to access aid or cross the northern border into Jordan. As health conditions rapidly deteriorate and the need for emergency aid rises, Jordan’s border closure is not only morally unacceptable but also violates international law on protection and displacement.
Invisibility & Exclusion
After a two and a half-year long legal battle, Emmanuel, a Tongolese asylum-seeker, was granted refugee status in the U.S. During the entirety of his asylum application, he was forced to stay in custody, reliving past traumas of imprisonment and torture. Since 1996, thousands of asylum claimants are subjected to immediate mandatory detention upon their arrival. A “detention quota”, in place since 2010, upholds the mass incarceration of migrants in privately-run centers that exploit the migrants and puts them at risk of isolation, depression and other psychological health issues. While presidential candidate Clinton promises reform, the 1996 Act that her husband signed into law and its legacy might make it impossible for her to do so.
In a visually striking photo essay, Politico asks “Where have all the migrants gone?” The ‘hotspots’ in Europe that saw hundreds of asylum-seekers in late 2015 - Lesvos, the Austrian-Hungarian border - in late 2015 now show little to no sign of migration. As border closures, detention and violence forces migrants to relocate again and again, the crisis persists, but this time out of sight.
Recent reports on the situation of child refugees show that children at several European refugee camps such as the ones in Greece or in Calais, are subjected to severe exploitation, forced labor, trafficking, as well as mental and physical abuses. There has been a call to bring child refugees, specifically in Calais, under the UK safeguarding rules for minors.
The architecture of refugee camps
The abysmal conditions and infrastructure of refugee camps have long been a source of criticism from the public. While refugee camps are usually designed for short stays only, they have been in fact, the residence of hundreds of thousands of refugees today, as illustrated in this drone video capturing how more than 40,000 displaced Iraqi refugees are currently living. The urbanized and temporary refugee camps are looked upon as forms of ‘decay’, their designs fail to consider the humanity of the refugees, and more importantly, they are unable to cater basic needs and necessary protection for the most vulnerable targets including women and children. In the meantime, while housing for the growing number of refugees proves to be a long-term issue, it harbors an emerging interest in a “humanitarian architecture”, one that aims to assist in the immediate disaster relief efforts while also paying attention to the later reconstruction and rehabilitation phase.
The IOM’s Integration into the UN
What will be the consequences of the IOM’s recent integration into the United Nations? This article suggests that the UN partnership may force the IOM to shift its pragmatic approach to a more human rights-centered one, including reconsidering its widely criticized practice of voluntary returns.