Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Immigration is a human right; sanctuary is international law

On every route taken by the 200 million undocumented migrants today, human rights catastrophes are the norm. They travel under perilous conditions & sustain violence of all sorts, including injury, extortion, rape, assault, murder. Most of the violence is not from “human smugglers”, as media & many governments claim, but from military & paramilitary forces attempting to deter migration. The violations of international law concerning asylum seekers & the atrocities committed against desperate human beings is now high-lighted in the most ignominious way on the Burma (Myanmar) border with Bangladesh. Rohingya Muslims fleeing from violence against them are being refused entry to Bangladesh although they are unable & unwilling to return to Burma. Here Mohammad Rafique, a Rohingya Muslim is begging a Bangladesh coast guard official for sanctuary for his family. Rafique’s wife, Amina Akhtar, is holding the son she just gave birth to in Bangladesh. The coast guard official surely does not look without mercy although the oligarchs who run the country have none. Immigration is a human right; sanctuary is international law.  (Photo by Saurabh Das/AP)

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