Migration: Need, Right, Growth
Here’s one reality that we think we need to change: goods can move in freely from one country to another but, the people who toil for these goods are contained in borders of nation-states.
One example is that of Elizabeth Marin’s case when she travelled to Europe. Ms. Marin is an official delegate to the International Political Camp hosted by Agape Centro Ecumenico, in Prali (TO), Italy. The Schengen Agreement does not require Mexican nationals a Schengen Visa if they are travelling less than 90 days. But things did not seem to be that way when she travelled on August 1, 2014.
Upon landing at the French airport, the officers arbitrarily demanded her to show documents that support her travel to Europe i.e. a proof of economic status, an invitation from the hosting institution and hotel booking. When she failed to provide the said documents, she was detained by the French immigration without even informing her of her case in a language that she would understand. Upon knowing this, Agape Centro Ecumenico hastened to send supporting documents to the French authorities and demand her immediate release. The French immigration referred the case to the High Court of Bobigny. The case was only read on the 5th of August, and indisputably, she was discharged.
Elizabeth’s case only demonstrates the unfair treatment for immigrants travelling to the advanced countries.
This kind of treatment reflects a deep-rooted predicament. It reflects a stereotype on people from the Global South that were so ingrained in the way we think; it reflects a structure of global migration where advanced countries impose stricter rules for people travelling to their countries while on the other hand, they can relax all of these rules in favor of labor import from underdeveloped countries. People from the Third World are seen as commodities for service and labor, but not as human beings with equal rights to travel.
The unjust structures and policies of governments and international institutions that impoverish the vast majority of the world’s population force people to migrate out of necessity and desperation; commodify migrants and rob them and their families of their rights and dignity; perpetuate modern-day slavery for the interest of profit; and serves the interest of the corporate few and not the people.
The dominant global economic system is exacerbating this by thwarting the growth of national industries in underdeveloped countries severely restricting socioeconomic opportunities in poor countries that drive millions of peoples from oppressed and exploited countries—and even workers from countries that also host migrant labor– to seek greener pastures in foreign lands every day.
This current system has also steeped greater divide among people who have been commodified by the system, which treats them no different from raw materials that are needed for production, and between those who have access to greater opportunities and can enjoy their civil liberties and socio-economic rights.
The endless search for new markets and sources of raw materials that fuel the industries of advanced countries have also entailed wars of aggression. These wars are aimed at countries which have rich resources causing plunder on their environment on an unprecedented scale. All of these happen at the cost of the lives of innocent civilians. These wars create tension on borders and have then been used to justify stricter rules on immigration and emigration.
This situation has now created a complex connection between the people’s right to travel and the respect of their rights as migrants, inside a system that is dependent on labor export.
We affirm the people’s right to migrate freely. The right of movement is a universal human right guaranteed by the United Nations. We call on governments to review their immigration rules and formulate policies that will uphold the people’s freedom of movement. We also demand equal protection of rights for people –travellers, migrant workers, civilian and political refugees etc. who are moving in or out of any country, as the Universal Declaration guarantees it.
We also affirm every nation’s right to development and self- determination. We are cognizant that alongside our call for a borderless world, we must also struggle for a new global financial architecture that is based on cooperation and equitable relations. We call on governments, especially of advanced countries to promote equality among trade partners, promote reforms that are pro-poor and development.
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