On World Refugee Day, Somnath Baidya Roy remembers his grandmother, and pays homage to the resilience of refugees everywhere.Continue reading “My grandmother’s screwdrivers”
Samata Biswas writes about the social distance India maintains from its migrant workers, redrawing the borders that govern our lives. Continue reading “Bringing the border home: India Partition 2020”
Swati Bhattacharjee and Abhijnan Sarkar take stock of the situation of two groups of migrant workers in Kolkata, and try to assess what could be done for them.
Mandira Chakraborty writes about the transistor radio that saved her grandfather’s life during the partition of India, and the many migrations that it witnessed.
Annesha Saha reviews Supriyo Sen’s 2019 film, Way Back Home. Continue reading “Way Back Home- A review”
Aditi Mukherjee writes a report on the Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group conference dealing with protection system for refugees and migrants, organised in Kolkata, India, in November 2018. Continue reading “A conference on the State of the Global Protection System for Refugees and Migrants, 2018: Impressions and Outcomes”
The second phase of refugee influx into West Bengal, especially by the once powerful caste group, namashudras, continues to be ill documented in social science literature of the day. Through the narrative of a young caregiver, Bharati Das, Parimal Bhattacharya makes an important intervention in documenting these lives, as well as, through the trope of a video recording, makes marginalised voices heard.
In the history of Rohingya persecution in Myanmar, [for a history on the Rohingya refugees and their current situation, please check – A Report on the Rohingyas by Calcutta Research Group] this is probably the darkest hour. The intensity of violence that has been unleashed From 25 August 2017 is probably greater than the violence in 2012 when thousands had to flee to Bangladesh and other neighboring countries for shelter. In the last few years we have seen many humanitarian organisations and activists, besides international organisations like the United Nations, condemning the violence and state of statelessness of the Rohingyas. International media awareness too followed after the boat tragedies in 2015, when in trying to cross raging high seas in overcrowded rickety flotillas many were killed. However, despite efforts things have not really changed much for the Rohingyas in Mynamar, and from the last week of August, it has only worsened. According to the European Rohingya Council (ERC), in just three days, between August 25-28, nearly 3000 Rohingya Muslims were killed. Anita Schug, a spokesperson for the ERC and a doctor based in Switzerland, said, “The number of massacres carried out by the army against Muslims in Rakhine exceeds the one in 2012 and those in October last year. The situation has never been this bad. In Rakhine, we face a slow genocide,”. She added that, till now, more than 100,000 civilians have been displaced. For details of the report lease go to Nearly 3,000 Rohingya Muslims killed in the last three days.
Restless Beings, another organisation based in London and working for the rights of the Rohingyas refugees notes that, between August 25- 3 September alone, 4000 Rohingyas were indiscriminately killed in the districts of Rauthedaung, Bauthidaung and Maungdaw in Rakhine State, Mynamar. More than 65,000 have crossed over to Bangladesh in deplorable conditions while around 20, 000 are stuck in the no – man’s land. The director of the organisation, Mabrur Ahmed, claiming this is the darkest hour for the Rohingyas, has been instrumental in providing aid and relief, like tents, clothing and food to 1000 refugees in the Myanmar- Bangladesh borders. Besides organising demonstrations in various places he has also called for international condemnation of the genocide. He shares his views through this video- Event organised by organisations like Restless Beings to condemn the violence on Rohingyas. Continue reading “Kolkata protests against renewed violence on Rohingyas, 04.09.2017.”
Priya Singh and Sucharita Sengupta
Panel Discussion on Rohingya and Syrian Refugees by Calcutta Research Group, on 6 April 2017, supported by Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (RLS).
No other time was more apt perhaps than this to interrogate India’s refugee policies along with an appraisal of the contemporary global regime of care and protection for migrant communities. Civil war in Syria has been one of the worst humanitarian crises in the recent decade challenging Europe’s migration policy. Incessant deaths in the Mediterranean, in border detention camps, plight of fleeing refugees, women and trafficked victims- be it Syrians in Europe or Rohingyas in South Asia- for war, state violence, religious persecution, flood and so on, have amounted to an inordinate number of 60 million refugees worldwide. Perceptions resulting into worst manifestations of human rights violations have on the one hand drawn empathy, but on the other have unfurled xenophobia, attempting to curb migration in general. The recent policies of the U.S government concerning economic migration are indicative of this trend. India too is witnessing myriad forms of discrimination. From racial attack on Nigerian students in the capital to establishing detention centres in order to detect migrants in Assam and now identifying Rohingya refugees in Jammu in order to deport them back to Myanmar, thus evokes concerns for scholars and practitioners working on issues of human rights, gender, justice and refugees. These concerns culminated into a roundtable discussion by CRG on India’s migration policy; practice and release of the special issue of Refugee Watch Journal (A CRG Publication) on Syrian Refugees. The idea was to drive home the point that while the migration crisis in Europe has resulted into a number of regional initiatives and sensitisation of international media, the same has hardly ensued in case of the Rohingyas, world’s largest persecuted stales community in Asia. Therefore, there is a need to present the contemporary crisis of the global south as well along with the European scenario. While panelists of the round table discussion shared their experiences on the Asian scenario, the specialty of this issue of Refugee Watch is that it has articles based on extensive field research of the European scenario, especially Syrian refugees living as stateless people across the Middle East. The three panelists were Professor Ranabir Samaddar, Distinguished Chair in Migration and Forced Migration Studies, CRG; Professor Paula Banerjee, Director, CRG and Dean of Arts, Calcutta University; Professor Sabyasachi Basu Ray Chaudhury, Vice Chancellor, Rabindra Bharati University. The Panel discussion was chaired by Professor Samita Sen, Director, School of Women’s Studies and Dean, Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies, Law and Management, Jadavpur University. Continue reading “Report: Panel discussion and book release by CRG and RLS”
Most writings on refugee economy or the immigrant economy refer to changes in the immigrant labour absorption policies of the Western governments. These writings reflect on the economic activities of the refugees and other victims of forced migration. Refugees are seen as economic actors in the market. But we do not get a full picture of why capitalism in late twentieth or early twenty first century needs these refugee or immigrant economic actors. The idea we get is that refugees and other victims of forced migration want to be economically viable, relevant to the host economies, and are economically relevant, but they are discriminated against. These writings showcase refugees’ attempts to survive meaningfully in camps, cities, and other settlements, in ethnically homogenous or mixed settings, and the ways they prove useful to market, big business, and organised trade. Several studies along this line tell us of the success stories of migrants’ economic activities. The message is: the refugee or the migrant as an economic actor has arrived, do not neglect the refugee, do not dismiss the refugee as an economic actor. Yet the organic link between the immigrant as an economic actor and the global capitalist economy seems to escape the analysis in these writings.