Consequences of Refugee Flow and Mixed Migration
There are 214 million estimated numbers of international migrants worldwide. In 2010, there were 15.2 million refugees around the world (IOM, 2010). There are as many factors responsible for this large number as there are impacts. The impacts can be viewed as it relates to the migrants and the refugees themselves as well as it relates to transit communities, host communities in particular and Host countries in general. The dominant hypothesis in literature that studies refugee flow and mixed migration is that there is always an attendant negative impact following in the wake of refugee flow and mixed migration. For this reason, many countries have put up restrictive measures against refugee flows and mixed migration in their territories. This paper examines these consequences and also points out that the consequences are not always negative. This paper will attempt both to examine the consequences and the fact that the impact may not always turn out negative.
The United Nations Geneva Convention of 1951 and its 1967 protocol defines Refugees as persons forced out of their country of nationality on account of well founded fear of persecution on the basis of race, nationality, religion and membership of a particular social group or political opinion. The movement of such people usually in large numbers brings about a shift in the demography of both the country of origin and destination is what is referred to as Refugee Flow. Migration is a general term, covering all forms of movement taking place voluntarily or involuntarily across or within national borders. IOM defines Migration more specifically as the movement of a person or a group of persons, either across an international border, or within a State. It is a population movement, encompassing any kind of movement of people, whatever its length, composition and causes; it includes migration of refugees, displaced persons, economic migrants, and persons moving for other purposes, including family reunification. The concept of Mixed Migration is a relatively new phenomenon and is of rising importance, both in terms of sheer numbers and with regard to political significance at national, regional and global levels. One definition frames mixed migration as consisting of complex population movements including refugees, asylum seekers, economic migrants and other migrants (IOM),while another describes them as people travelling in an irregular manner along similar routes, using similar means of travel, but for different reasons(UNHCR). Both migration and refugee situations involve movement of people from one country to the other; the distinction that could be made between the two can mainly be found in the motive for the movement as well as the protean quality. Is the movement voluntary or forced? History is replete with people leaving their countries for different reasons. Some leave for economic reasons, some leave to escape war, civil conflict and environmental degradations. While every individual has the power of choice; to leave or to stay, at times to decide to stay would almost certainly mean a certain death. We find that in refugee situations, people leave because the alternative of staying portends grave danger. The dangers for people who are in migration situation on the other hand are not usually as grave as it is for people in refugee situation. There are consequences both positive and negative inherent in refugee flows and mixed migration. These consequences can be seen as effects on the migrants, refugees and on their host communities. Most refugee movements arise as a result of circumstances that are unexpected; people find themselves on the move usually on a long journey without adequate provision for transportation, security and supplies. Children, the aged and women are particularly vulnerable on such expeditions. There have been cases of people dying along the way due to fatigue,...
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