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”
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”
On a personal initiative, Neha Batra volunteered with a grassroots organisation in Calais, France for a month in June 2018. This field note, written immediately after returning from Calais,is based on informal conversations with fellow volunteers and migrants in Calais and Dunkirk as well as further reading. Continue reading “The Forgotten but Ongoing ‘Migrant Crises’ in Northern France: Notes from a volunteering experience in June 2018”
“Urban refugees in Delhi: Identity, entitlements and well-being” is a detailed report on the study of two connected, contemporaneous realities in India – urban refugees in India (in this case, specifically, refugees in India’s capital city of Delhi), and India’s lack of a legal framework, domestic or international, that guarantee their protection. Seeking to understand the aspirations and desires of Sikh and Christian Afghan refugees and Rohingya refugees leading incredibly precarious lives in Delhi, the study engages in an exploration of the various factors that contributed to their state of insecurity, and proposes its own take on Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach to formulate long-term, sustainable development and security goals for urban refugees based on the notion of ‘self-reliance’. The report can be accessed here.
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.
Pradeep Kumar Panda
World Refugee Day falls on 20 June. The day was created in the year 2000 by a special United Nations General Assembly Resolution. The lead international agency coordinating refugee protection is the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
A refugee, generally speaking, is a displaced person who has been forced to cross national boundaries and who cannot return home safely. Such a person may be called an asylum seeker until granted refugee status by the contracting state or the UNHCR if they formally make a claim for asylum. As of 2015, total refugee population is 21.3 million.
The estimated population of refugees in India is approximately 36,000 of which about 19,000 are residing in New Delhi (UNHCR). They are from all nationalities including Afghanistan, Angola, Bosnia, Cameroon, China, Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Maldives, Myanmar – Chin, Myanmar – Rohingya, Pakistan, Palestine, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Uzbekistan and Yemen. Continue reading “Livelihood Solutions for Refugees”
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.