Not Just Numbers: Migrants Tell Their Stories

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Not Just Numbers: Migrants Tell Their Stories

Armed Conflicts, Climate Change, Democracy, Editors’ Choice, Featured, Global, Global Geopolitics, Global Governance, Headlines, Human Rights, Migration & Refugees, Multimedia, Peace, Projects, TerraViva United Nations, Video ROME, Jul 17 2017 (IPS) – Every single day, print and online media and TV broadcasters show images and footage of migrants and refugees adrift, salvage teams rescuing their corpses–alive or dead, from fragile boats that are often deliberately sunk by human traffickers near the coasts of a given country. Their dramas are counted –and told– quasi exclusively in cold figures. Every now and then a reporter talks to a couple of them or interviews some of the tens of humanitarian organisations and groups, mostly to get information about their life conditions in the numerous so called “reception centres” that are often considered rather as “detention centres” installed on both shores of the Mediterranean sea.How to participate in IOM “i am a migrant” campaign Answer a few questions: – Country of origin/ current country/occupation, – At what age did you leave your country and why (and where did you go to)? – What was your first impression? – What do you miss from your country? – What do you think you bring to the country you’re living in? – What do you want to do/what do you actually do for your country of origin? (Example) What’s your greatest challenge right now? – Do you have a piece of advice you’d like to give to the people back in your country? – And to those living in your host country? – Where is home for you? – Share a high-resolution picture of yourself SOURCE: IOM It is a fact that their numbers are shocking: 101,417 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 9 July, the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM) has reported. Of this total, 2,353 died. Beyond the figures, migrants and refugees live inhumane drama, are victims of rights abuse, discrimination, xenophobia and hatred–often encouraged by some politicians. Let alone that tragic realty that they fall easy pry to human traffickers who handle them as mere merchandise. See: African Migrants Bought and Sold Openly in ‘Slave Markets’ in Libya.. On top of that, another UN organisation—the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reports that the Central Mediterranean from North Africa to Europe is among the world’s deadliest and most dangerous migrant routes for children and women. “The route is mostly controlled by smugglers, traffickers and other people seeking to prey upon desperate children and women who are simply seeking refuge or a better life,” it reports. See: A Grisly Tale of Children Falling Easy Prey to Ruthless Smugglers. On this, Afshan Khan, UNICEF Regional Director and Special Coordinator for the Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe, said that this route “is mostly controlled by smugglers, traffickers and other people seeking to prey upon desperate children and women who are simply seeking refuge or a better life.” Moreover, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has estimated that 7 of 10 victims of human traffickers are women and children. True that statistics help evaluate the magnitude of such an inhumane drama. But, is this enough? 1,200 Migrants Tell Their Dreams and Realities 2,716 kms from home. “I’ll probably go back to Senegal to use what I have learnt here (Niger) to contribute to my country’s development and to Africa as a whole” – Fatou. Read her story. Credit: IOM/Amanda NeroIn a singular initiative, IOM launched “i am a migrant” – a platform to promote diversity and inclusion of migrants in society. 3,385 kms from home. “Before, they used to ask how I came here. Now they ask migrants why they came” – Jasmine. Occupation: Law-maker. Current Country: Republic of Korea. Country of Origin: Philippines. Read her story. Credit: IOMIt’s specifically designed to support volunteer groups, local authorities, companies, associations, groups, indeed, anyone of goodwill who is concerned about the hostile public discourse against migrants, says IOM. “i am a migrant” allows the voices of individuals to shine through and provides an honest insight into the triumphs and tribulations of migrants of all backgrounds and at all phases of their migratory journeys.” “While we aim to promote positive perceptions of migrants we do not shy away from presenting life as it is experienced. We seek to combat xenophobia and discrimination at a time when so many are exposed to negative narratives about migration – whether on our social media feeds or on the airwaves.” The IOM campaign uses the testimonials of migrants to connect people with the human stories of migration. Thus far, it has seen 1,200 profiles published. The anecdotes and memories shared on the platform help us understand what words such as “integration”, “multiculturalism” and “diversity” truly mean. Through stories
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On July 17, 2017
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