We must redefine the norms and understandings of all refugees in the 21st century. The definition a refugee needs to be broadened and non-refoulment needs to be strengthened. Under the current refugee regime definitions, there are numerous groups that can be excluded from asylum. Regarding non-refoulment, nations have turned to containment, often external to national borders, to confine refugees versus resettlement to new homes. Refugees who are denied refugee status under the current criteria, and therefore are barred from help, will still seek refuge away from their home. Containment facilities act as a gravity pit of exclusion that possibly strips refugees of many basic human rights. These problems are manifested in refugee containment, illegal smuggling, and a rise in fear-based border control rhetoric. Increased refugee numbers can come about progressively and humanely, or it can come about with increased divisiveness. Either way, displaced migration will continue to be pervasive with events both natural and man-made.
To the Middle East to Work, or Not:
Labor Trafficking, Migrant Workers, and Governance
Many nations in the gulf area are developing at a break-neck pace, especially on the Arabian Peninsula, which is rich in oil resources. With such a fast rate of development in the Middle East, there is an overwhelming need for migrant workers. The conditions migrant workers face while in migration and while working can resemble bondage, slave labor and or illicit human trafficking. Many nations and organizations have made progress in creating laws and regulations that in theory should create secure conditions for migrant workers, but in reality, the conditions are only getting worse. Nations often lack the will to define labor trafficking and working conditions as a human rights problem, and instead focusing on criminal organizations and illegal migration. Once in the host country, migrant workers are often subjected to slave labor conditions that are solidified in ambiguous regulation and tribal-like politics. With such deplorable conditions and an absence of any recourse, migrant workers are more frequently looking toward suicide as a means of escape. Governance in the Gulf areas aimed at protecting migrant workers from labor trafficking and slave-like working conditions lacks effectiveness.