Arjan Hehenkamp (General Director of Médecins Sans Frontières) pleads for open borders:
Migration is a global problem, and refugee and migrant policies are failing. The 1951 Refugee Convention and other national and international migration policies established to provide safe haven and protection are spectacularly insufficient. The proof of this failure comes when we hear the same stories of fear, misery and violence the world over, from Morocco to Myanmar to Mexico.
As the situation stands today, the international asylum and refugee framework is limited by the political will of the very people tasked with handling it, and even then it remains a standard of protection not recognised by many of the countries concerned by this issue.
Many signatory states fail to meet their obligations and policies on migration fluctuate with domestic political sentiment. Non-signatory states evade their responsibility altogether.
Well, yes, that’d be the meaning of ‘non-signatory’: “We ain’t signing up to that, buster! Take a hike!”
It’s not ‘their responsibility’ at all, because they’ve not agreed it is!
Prosperous governments claim humanitarian credentials by financing aid to refugee camps in Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, Kenya, Ethiopia and elsewhere, warehousing people for years on end, while at the same time making it difficult, if not impossible, for those living in these extreme conditions to set foot within their own borders. These same countries then reach agreements to pass on their refugees, often to states economically much worse off than themselves.
Presumably in return for money or other concessions, like trade agreement, yes? So acceptance of refugees makes economic sense for these countries.
In a world plagued by conflict, poverty and inequality, population movements are inevitable. Our governments must make a choice between implementing policies that will ultimately result in human harm, or in its reduction.
What about the harm caused to countries who are swamped by a tidal wave of refugees without the resources or cultural resilience to cope?
Or is that not considered ‘harm’ in your book, given they are unlikely to be settled next door to you?