Taking care of refugees and migrants

Dhaka,  Monday,   2016-09-21
Published : 21 Sep 2016, 22:37:10 | Updated : 21 Sep 2016, 22:37:18

Taking care of refugees and migrants

In an article Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has written for the Project Syndicate - one that was carried on the front page of Wednesday's issue of this paper, she has elaborated her views on migrants the world over. The past one year or so has seen the largest human migration since the World War II. No wonder, this has prompted the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to convene a special UN session on migration. The Bangladesh prime minister endorses the secretary-general's idea of creating a new global compact or agreement in order to deal with this pressing issue in a manner that ensures mutual benefits for both refugees or migrants and host countries.

Migration has been a touchy subject for long - it has only become touchier still in recent times with civilians from Iraq and Syria forced to leave their homes for uncertain destinations. There is a gulf of difference between peace-time migration by people following all kinds of formalities with the hope of ameliorating their financial and living conditions and forced human exodus in order to get out of conflict-ridden territories. While the migrants of the first type have a choice, the second categories don't have any choice because to them the number one consideration is survival. In the case of refugees from the Middle East in particular, escaping the war theatre exacted a heavy toll on the millions of innocent people on their journey to Europe. 

This brings the world to realise that the conflict-torn zones are not always a localised affair. The casus belli presented to wage a war in the name of defence of democracy by the Western powers in the region way back had no validity whatsoever. Spill-over wars from Afghanistan and Iraq have been haunting large swathes starting from Afghanistan to Iraq and from Syria to Sudan. The United States and Britain largely responsible for initiating the conflict have hardly been affected by the refugee crisis, but Greece and Germany in particular were the worst affected. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reminded UN member nations of their pledge to collectively share the responsibility of dealing with refugees and migrants in a more responsive and caring environment. The clash of interests between locals and outsiders can easily be turned into a constructive endeavour under well-formulated policies. 

How this is possible is explained by the demographic pattern in most European nations and Japan. The populations there are aging at a rate not to be replaced by the young generations. Naturally, there is a shortage of working hands. Migrants and refugees can fill in the void. The crisis of labour is acuter at the low levels of skill and menial jobs. Migrants and refugees are a sure source of cheap labours. Clearly, countries like Germany and Japan will benefit greatly from such employments. The rest of the Western nations should follow suit because by way of this, they too have an opportunity to share in the redemption they owe to these displaced people.

Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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