The Rights of Refugees, Economic Migrants, people trafficking and Asylum seekers??
The rights of refugees, economic migrants, asylum-seekers and those trafficked are wide ranging, and are included under international laws and treaties.
The ethical debate centres on whether or not these rights are enforced by a state or whether they are ignored.
Resettlement vs. Border Security??
One argument against the resettlement of refugees is that of border security. This platform has gained momentum since 9/11, which reminded the global community and its citizens of the spectre of terrorism.
- The attacks and War on Terror exacerbated fears that terrorists would pretend to be asylum-seekers and gain access to states where their acts of politically motivated violence could be carried out.
- The UN SC’s Resolution 1373 made two references to the need to safeguard the system of international refugee protection from abuse by terrorists and in doing so reinforced the perception that the” institution of asylum is somehow a terrorists refuge”.
- Not to say refugee has never and will never commit an act of terrorism: A leaked US diplomatic cable to London stated that Britain repeatedly ignored warnings to stop granting asylum to Islamic extremists and that as a result the 7 July 2005 bombings were a ‘natural consequence’ of the policy; and that the fear of terrorists masquerading as refugees has not been overplayed by the media and politicians.
Obligations to Strangers vs. National Interest???
At the crux of the debate over people movement is the argument that states, with the capacity to support those less fortunate, have a moral responsibility to do so. The responsibility is of greater consequence than any arguments pertaining to the ‘national interest’ (in terms of security threats or the economic costs of such a responsibility) and indeed that such a responsibility is part of the national interest.
- The cosmopolitan school of thought represents this position in arguing that humanity is one single moral community in which all are treated equally.
- At the opposite end of the spectrum, the realists argue that the converse is true: that states have no moral responsibility to those outside their borders.