In this issue of Synapse we report on a pilot project exploring the way courts are responding to migration-related crime in Pakistan. STATT and the Center for the Rule of Law – Islamabad obtained hard copies of migration-related court cases heard by the Gujranwala district court over a period just under three years. These involved 3305 defendants, including 952 identified as “agents”. Our analysis indicates that Pakistani law enforcement and judicial officials are unable to process migration-related crime cases efficiently or justly. This results from systemic barriers outside of their control and from institutional practices within their control. The Government and donors cannot expect to influence patterns of migration-related crime through the present judicial system, so we present some recommendations to improve on current outcomes.
Afghans have a strong tradition of temporary and permanent migration. People from Afghanistan form one of the world’s great conflict diasporas. Regional movement and return has ebbed and flowed for generations. Internal migration, both forced and voluntary, plays a big role in churning the country’s demography and politics. Afghan migration is so varied and so important to its people’s past and future that it demands disaggregation and careful analysis.
In recent years STATT has conducted over 20,000 interviews on migration issues with people in and around Afghanistan. This issue of Synapse collates and considers the indications that Afghan migration patterns are in flux. In particular, we explore recent and present Afghan migration trends through the lens that many Afghans and foreigners are providing: how will human movement interact with the country’s prospects beyond 2014? Answering this question has formed a part of STATT’s program development and research guidance for 2013.
South Sudanese people settling in Australia have faced and overcome various ordeals throughout their migration experience. Many came to Australia under humanitarian mechanisms and since their arrival have worked hard to build a new life. Now, as the prospects for South Sudan seem brighter, STATT has found that many are preparing themselves to commit to another challenge – helping develop and support their homeland.
A major result from this project is published here as The Last Mile: Experiences of Settlement and Attitudes to Return among People from South Sudan in Australia. We interviewed 78 South Sudanese Australian people from across the country. We spoke to them about their lives since coming to Australia and about how they plan to engage with South Sudan now and into the future. We complemented the interviews with an online poll of over 300 members of the South Sudanese diaspora in Australia. The results illustrate a group that has tremendous gratitude for the opportunity to settle in Australia, enthusiasm towards citizenship and great achievements in education. On the downside, experiences of discrimination have been widespread and many have faced frustration with finding employment suited to their education. Looking to the future, the majority are keen to return to South Sudan for the long term or permanently, primarily driven by a desire to contribute to development.
STATT’s Neutrino Program takes a strong interest in patterns of conflict-driven migration. For some time we have been working in South Sudan and among the South Sudanese diaspora to understand the experiences and perceptions. We have also been exploring the intentions of people who left during the long civil war and are spread across much of the globe, but whose original homeland became independent in 2011 and the government of which is interested in encouraging the diaspora to contribute to development.
A positive way to think about conflict-driven migration in cases like South Sudan is as a long-term investment in the country’s human capital. In other words, facing grim prospects at home, the international refugee system is used as a safety deposit for some of South Sudan’s people, who have been able to develop skills and experiences in other countries while waiting for conflict resolution to open space for them to contribute. Now, while South Sudan is far from conflict-free, there has been a sense of hope and longing among many in the diaspora to return to South Sudan and to investigate options by which they can support development or connect with their roots. Compared with many other of the world’s great conflict-driven diasporas, such as from Afghanistan or from Somalia, there is strong optimism among people we have interviewed towards prospects for South Sudan. Continue reading
STATT received a grant from Australia to implement a community development program in Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. This program has two primary objectives:
- To improve community benefits from international labour emigration; and
- Reduce migrant vulnerability in the process of emigration decision-making and when working abroad.
This program is being implemented in 2 districts: Sumbawa Besar and West Sumbawa, covering at least 12 sub districts in total.
Mecca? The False Allure of Indonesian Labour Migration to Saudi Arabia and What to do About It explores the dynamics of female labour migration from the island of Sumbawa in Indonesia to Saudi Arabia. Although the focus is Sumbawa, there are implications for other communities in similar migration chains. Women from Sumbawa are strongly oriented towards Saudi Arabia as a labour migration destination yet they reap few benefits. Shockingly high numbers of women are abused by their employers. Remittances are not invested productively.
On June 6 and June 8, the IMCK arranged workshops for journalists working in Erbil and Sulimaniyah that focused on approaches to covering migration issues. STATT was invited to contribute, based on our work with irregular migrants in transit and analysis of conditions in destination countries.
In May 2011, Synapse considered The Next Phase of Migration to Europe from Tunisia and Libya, based on STATT’s North African network, including recent field trips. The wave of boat crossings on the Mediterranean in early 2011 is a temporary impact of revolutionary change. However, it is also a small piece in a bigger mosaic of migration management challenges that confront Europe, with profound implications for its economic dynamism and social stability. Synapse examines the long-standing structures driving migrant smuggling from Tunisia and Libya, analyses the current dynamics of smuggling markets and predicts features of the next phase.