Asylum Seekers, refugees, migrants - Maxicours

Asylum Seekers, refugees, migrants

Objectifs
  • Découvrir un aspect de la notion d'étude identités et échanges.
  • Approfondir sa réflexion sur la question des demandeurs d'asile, des migrants et des réfugiés. 
Points clés
  • Les réfugiés et les demandeurs d'asile fuient leur pays pour des raisons politiques ou religieuses, quand leur vie dans leur pays d'origine se trouve menacée.
  • Les migrants le font dans l'espoir de trouver une vie meilleure (trouver un emploi, vivre dans un pays plus ouvert, plus prospère économiquement).
  • Quelle que soit la raison qui les poussent à s'exiler, ils en ont le droit et sont protégés par des Conventions internationales.
  • Mais leurs espoirs sont souvent déçus : sur place, ils doivent affronter racisme et xénophobie et vivent dans des conditions extrêmement précaires.
1. Introduction

Asylum seekers, refugees and migrants are people who have left their country to settle abroad.

Asylum seekers and refugees flee for political or religious reasons in most cases. In general they are not protected by their governments because human rights are not respected so they have no choice but to leave as their lives are at risk.

The case of migrants is a little different in the sense that they sometimes leave their country for personal reasons (work, study, join the family, build a new life...) but, like asylum seekers and refugees, their human rights in their new country must be respected.

2. A right for them, a duty for us

First, we have to know that asylum seekers, refugees and migrants have a right to international protection, whatever their status. There are laws for them. Indeed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 1951 UN (United Nations) Refugee Convention and the 1990 Migrant Workers Convention protect them because seeking asylum is a right, and they cannot be sent back to their country if the situation is dangerous for them.

In a few words, they must be considered as human beings and treated in the best possible way, all the more as it is painful for them to have left their hometown and family. We must keep in mind that leaving one’s country for political or religious reasons is rarely a choice, it is an obligation, and it is the last solution that presents itself. Had they stayed there they would certainly have been murdered, and we accomplices for not providing assistance. So it is a duty to welcome them and protect them.

3. How Difficult to be a Migrant

Unfortunately when they set foot on a new soil they are confronted to racism, xenophobic violence, exploitation and forced labour. If some organizations try to help them, too little is done to accompany these newcomers in their research of a job or shelter and we too often see insalubrious detention camps (Calais) or people demonstrating in order to prevent these migrants from landing (Lampedusa).

People who refuse to treat migrants with dignity are not aware that one day they could be in their place, who knows what can happen in the future? They also forget that migrants prefer dying to staying in their country: more than 1,000 of them died while crossing the Mediterranean Sea in 2019. No, they do not feel any pleasure in leaving their country.

About 25 million people migrate every year and seek asylum abroad so the best thing is to find the right solutions. The number is not the problem, the decisions taken to face the situation are the problem. Consequently it is high time our governments took their responsibilities and protected the refugees because behind every man or woman there is a mother, a teacher, a doctor... and all have a personal experience to share which must not be limited to their fleeing a country. They can also be useful to us and teach us lots of interesting things.

4. Conclusion

If we want to live in a better world our views on migrants must change. We live in a globalised world where exchanges have become natural, so we must be prepared to welcome newcomers and not reject them. We must strengthen our links with them and take into account all that they can bring us. Indeed, some of the most influential people in politics (Kissinger), science (Freud, Einstein), sports, the arts (Chagall, Joseph Conrad)... have been asylum seekers, refugees or migrants.

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