Exploring migration today: drivers, health, and gender

Organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the 9th European Migration Network (EMN) Educational Seminar on Migration, “Protection of Migrants in Vulnerable Situations” takes place al Hotel Devín in Bratislava, on July 3rd-5th. It encompasses topics such as migrants and their vulnerabilities; power of the passport; phenomenon of migrant caravans; modern slavery and the law. On July 3rd, the conference focused on the “Vulnerabilities, rights, and protection of migrants”. Katarína Kubovicová, Coordinator of EMN Slovakia and Ján Orlovsky, Director of Migration Office to Slovakia, introduced the conference’s first day. Valon Halimi, Chief of Mission (IOM), highlighted the challenges of migration worldwide. The world is struggling with economics and climate change and managing migration must be addressed accordingly.

Federico Soda, Director of the Department of Operations and Emergencies (UN), illustrated the vulnerabilities of migrants and refugees today. He explored four trends: 1) Scale and multiplication of drivers of movement. 2) Evolution of the nature of migration and displacement. 3) Digital revolution and its impact on migration and displacement. 4) Migration policies and attitudes toward displaced persons. No country is unaffected by movements of people, and the global humanitarian system is overstretched, Soda affirmed. A holistic approach to deal with the migrants’ crisis must be identified: invest on anticipatory actions and forecasting; steep up legal and complementary pathways; share research and good practice. Challenges and needs across the migration cycle was the issue approached by Nassim Majidi, Founder & Executive Director of Research, and Policy, Migration and Displacement Pillar Lead, Samuel Hall.

Migration is a determination on health, but many national healthcare system do not take care of the migrants. Majidi highlighted four key finding on her research on the topic: 1) Returning to an unsupportive environment is detrimental to returnees’ mental and physical health. 2) Economic reintegration is often prioritized over unmet health needs creating negative feedback loops. 3) Countries’ health system and universal health coverage influence returnees’ health and reintegration outcomes. 4) Returnees often experience continuity of care issues and a drop in quality of care post-return. Concerning recommendation, to Majidi it is necessary to: 1) Build continuum of care for migrants. 2) Fund gender specific initiatives on reintegration and health. 3) Strengthen transitional information sharing and safeguarding. 4) Integrate reintegration and health programs.

Gender and movements of people was explored by Melissa Siegel, Professor at Maastricht University, who focused on feminization of migration. This expression refers to a qualitatively different form of migration that can be observed among women. That is, more women are now migrating independently in search of jobs, rather as “family dependents” travelling with their husbands or joining them abroad through family reunification. Regional differences are important, showing great regional variation in gender composition. Northern and Southern America, as well as Western Europe host the same amount of men migrating, while in Arabs State are not attractive for women migrating today. Women have a higher risk of gender-based violence, including trafficking for sexual exploitation and forced marriage.

Siegel reports on the positive effects of migration on women: 1) Migration can improve autonomy, human capital, and self-esteem. 2) It might change traditional norms as women gain access to education and economic opportunities. 3) The introduction to more equitable social norms can also improve women’s rights and access to resources. 4) When migrant women return home, they maintain their newfound autonomy and bring new norms and skills. Concerning negative effects: 1) Migration may also exacerbate vulnerabilities, including abuse and trafficking. 2) Sometimes returning migrants must revert to traditional norms and gender roles. 3) Migration can also be a strain on families, with potentially detrimental effects on children. 4) When high-skilled migrants leave the results can be negative for the communities of origin.

Amedeo Gasparini

(Published on amedeogasparini.com)

Pubblicato da Amedeo Gasparini

Amedeo Gasparini, class 1997, freelance journalist, managing “Blackstar”, amedeogasparini.com. MA in “International Relations” (Univerzita Karlova, Prague – Czech Republic); BSc in “Science of Communication” (Università della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano – Switzerland)