Migrant crisis or poverty crisis?

April 2016

There is no migrant crisis. It is true that thousands of people die every year attempting to cross the Mediterranean and Aegean seas. According to the International Organisation for Migration, over 25,000 migrants have died in their attempt to reach or stay in Europe since 2000.

But this is not a crisis caused by migrants. It is a crisis caused by war, poverty and inequality. Rich countries, with the help of the highly profitable security industry, have tried their best to use cruel migration controls, fences, walls and even guns to force people to accept lives of violence and destitution. This is not the solution. No matter how high the walls of Fortress Europe become, the only way to solve this problem is to deal with its root causes.

Freedom of movement can help us defeat poverty and inequality. It can help us to develop knowledge, skills and understanding, as well as generate large flows of remittances from the global north to the global south. What’s more, most people in Europe and North America believe that they have a right to free movement. Given that our economy depends upon an unjust economic system that extracts resources from the global south, shutting these people out of our societies is little better than perpetuating apartheid on a global scale. We need to argue for a better system. We must work towards free movement for everyone.

Read the briefing or download a PDF version below.

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