Human Migration

Human migration

Human migration, the permanent change of residence by an individual or group; it excludes such movements as nomadism, migrant labour, commuting, and tourism, all of which are transitory in nature.

Human migration is the movement of people from one place to another with the intention of settling in the new location. When large numbers of people relocate, historians ask questions about why these people moved and what impacts their movements had.

There are two categories of factors that influence people’s decisions to migrate. Push factors occur where someone is currently living and make continuing to live there less attractive. A push factor could be political unrest, a lack of job opportunities, or overcrowding. Pull factors occur in a potential destination and make it an attractive place to migrate to. A pull factor could be better job opportunities or having relatives or friends who have already moved to this location.

Refugee problem of the World

A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Most likely, they cannot return home or are afraid to do so. War and ethnic, tribal and religious violence are leading causes of refugees fleeing their countries.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are 65.6 million refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and asylum seekers across the world. One in every 113 people on Earth has now been driven from their home by persecution, conflict and violence or human rights violations. Roughly 50% of all refugees are children under the age of 18 – despite the fact that children only make up about 30% of the world’s population.

The number of refugees has nearly doubled in the past 20 years. We live in a rapidly changing world in which refugees and forced migration have a significant impact on the economic, political and social agendas of sovereign states, intergovernmental agencies and civil society groups. Refugees have been the focus of considerable public concern in recent years and of a range of government and community responses.

Some of the world’s main refugee crisis are as follows:


The Syria crisis has accelerated more dramatically than any crisis on earth, and Syrians continue to be the largest forcibly displaced population in the world. After war erupted in March 2011, it took two years for 1 million people to be displaced. Another million were displaced within six months. Now seven years on, more than half of the pre-war population has been internally displaced or forced to seek safety in neighboring countries. That’s more than 11 million people on the run, including some 6.3 million people who have escaped across the borders.


Years of unemployment, insecurity and political instability have led to a massive migration from Afghanistan. Over one million people are estimated to be living in new and prolonged displacement, while nearly 2.6 million people have been forced to leave the country to Iran, Pakistan or Europe.  The United Nations estimates that an average 1,100 people a day — mostly women and children — were forcibly displaced by violence in 2017. Today, over half of people displaced by conflict in Afghanistan have been displaced at least twice, compared to just 7 percent five years ago.

South Sudan

The situation in South Sudan is dire, and the largest refugee crisis in Africa. More than 4 million people have been uprooted from their homes since the start of a brutal civil war in 2013, including about 2.4 million people who have been forced to cross into neighboring countries, the majority of them women and children.

Ongoing warfare, flooding and drought continue to worsen what is already a dangerous humanitarian crisis. There are massive needs for clean water, health care, sanitation, food, shelter, and protection across the country, and millions of people now require urgent support to survive.


Since violence broke out in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State in August 2017, more than 700,000 Rohingya have fled to Cox’s Bazar in southeast Bangladesh. Before the crisis began, Bangladesh was already grappling with its own humanitarian challenges, and hosting some 212,000 Rohingya who had escaped Myanmar during earlier periods of violence and persecution.

The speed and scale of the influx over the course of a three-month period last fall has placed tremendous strain on host communities and Bangladesh as a whole, making it one of the world’s largest and worst refugee crises.

Today, there are some 932,000 Rohingya seeking refuge in Bangladesh and at least 1.3 million people — Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi host communities — who rely on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs. More than half of them are children. These populations live in desperately overcrowded camps and communities, highly vulnerable to oncoming monsoon and cyclone seasons.


More than two decades of ongoing conflict and natural hazards such as prolonged drought and flooding have driven nearly 1 million Somalis to live in destitute refugee camps in the Horn of Africa and Yemen, while some 2.1 million people remain displaced within the country.

Almost half of the country is in need of assistance, and some 2.5 million people are unable to meet daily food needs, including over 300,000 children suffering from acute malnutrition.

Causes of refugee crisis

Religious/Racial/Political Persecution

The most common reason people become refugees is persecution — which can take on many forms: religious, national, social, racial, or political.  When it comes to religious refugees in the United States, the split between Christians and Muslims is quite even. According to Pew, 46% of refugees in 2016 who came to the US were Muslim and 44% Christian; 10% were other, including Hindus, Buddhists, and Jews.   Around the world, religious refugees are everywhere: from Muslims persecuted in Myanmar to Christians in the Central African Republic to Hindus in Pakistan.  


Most of history’s refugees have been the direct or indirect product of war.   Currently, the largest group of refugees in the world are fleeing civil conflict in Syria, which has been raging since 2011 and has killed 400,000 Syrians and displaced 6.3 million internally. Another 5 million have left the country entirely.   

But before Syria, refugees fled wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in droves in the early 1980s, 90s and 2000s. Afghanistan, notably, had the largest number of refugees of any country in the world for more than two decades between 1981 and 2013, before being overtaken by Syria that year.



Gender/Sexual Orientation

This past June, France became the first country to accept a gay Chechen refugee — a monumental decision that had global reverberations. The UNHCR updated its guidelines to include refugees for reasons of gender or sexual orientation in 2012.

It is widely documented that LGBTI individuals are the targets of killings, sexual and gender-based violence, physical attacks, torture, arbitrary detention, accusations of immoral or deviant behavior, denial of the rights to assembly, expression and information, and discrimination in employment, health and education in all regions around the world.


It’s estimated that 20 million people in four North African and Middle Eastern countries — Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria, and Yemen — are facing extreme drought, and many of these individuals are becoming refugees, forced from their homelands in search of stable food sources.   There are about 17 million displaced persons across the African continent, the Guardian reports, and only a small proportion of them are reaching the shores of the European continent. Many end up in sprawling, informal refugee camps like the town of Monguno in northeastern Nigeria.

Climate Change  

It’s estimated that in the next 83 years, a stunning 13 million coastal dwellers could be displaced by climate change, joining the teeming throngs of refugees and displaced people.  Officially, climate change is not yet a valid reason for an asylum claim. In 2013, the first climate change refugee asylum case was shot down by the New Zealand High Court when a Kiribati man attempted to claim that status by law.


Rohingya refugee crisis and india’s challenge

The Rohingya crisis could be seen as merely symptomatic of modern Myanmar being long mired in internal conflict. At the root of these conflicts is the inability of the Buddhist-majority community to accept that the nation is a multiracial, multilingual and multireligious society. The Rohingya Muslims question is part of this larger problem. Historically, the entry of the military into politics and the continuing struggle for power between the military and the civilian—with the military seeing itself as the protector of the nation—is an outcome of the narrowly defined nationalistic outlook. In such a construct of what makes the Myanmar ‘nation’, the Rohingya-Muslim community are doubly disadvantaged. First, unlike the rest of the other ethnic minorities, the Rohingyas are regarded as “illegal immigrants”. Second, the acrimonious relationship between the Rakhine ethnic group (also Buddhists) and the politically dominant Bamar-Buddhist majority meant that the Rohingyas are unlikely to be favoured by the central government at the cost of the Rakhines. Third, the Rohingyas suffer from the general negative sentiment against Muslims and are easy targets of vitriolic attacks and pronouncements from ultra-nationalist Buddhist forces. Further, the opening up of the nation with the democratisation process allowed these sentiments to express themselves more freely, with consequences on the fragile social fabric of the nation and on the future of the country’s democracy itself.

India’s response to the Rohingya crisis has evolved swiftly. Three phases are identifiable. In the first phase that began with the eruption of violent conflicts between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State in 2012, Delhi considered it an ‘internal affair’ but was sympathetic to Myanmar. The then External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid visited Rakhine State and announced a US$ 1-million package of relief assistance to Myanmar. Wittingly or not, India also allowed Rohingya refugees to enter the country and did not make it an issue in its domestic politics or in its bilateral relations with Myanmar. A few days after Minister Khurshid’s Rakhine visit, then UN High Commissioner for Refugees (and currently UN Secretary General) Antonio Guterres visited India and expressed “high appreciation for India’s age-old tradition of tolerance and understanding which manifested itself in its current policy of protecting and assisting refugees” and its “strict adherence to the principle of non-refoulement and voluntary repatriation.”When the BJP-led NDA government came to power in May 2014, it tacitly endorsed the position of the UPA government. In 2015, the Rohingya crisis assumed a regional dimension when Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia all turned away overcrowded boats carrying Rohingyas attempting to land on their shores, leaving hundreds in the high seas.There were calls for Delhi to help rescue the Rohingyas, but India decided to look the other way. This happened soon after the devastating earthquake in Nepal where India was quick to extend assistance.

The second phase of India’s Rohingya approach began sometime in mid-2017 with the announcement of the government’s plans to deport the Rohingyas who have settled in different parts of India. While answering a question in Parliament on 9 August 2017, India’s Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju said the government was planning to deport Rohingyas from India because they are “illegal immigrants.” The minister later clarified that the deportation plan was “not yet firmed up.” According to media reports citing government estimates, the number of Rohingyas in India was 10,500 in 2015 and increased four times to 40,000 in the following two years. A month after the announcement of the deportation plan and soon after the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), a Rohingya insurgent group formed in 2013—staged attacks on police and army outposts in northern Rakhine State, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Myanmar. The joint statement issued during the visit “condemned the recent terrorist attacks” in Rakhine but was silent about the Rohingya refugee crisis. The one-sided position of the Indian government had to be nuanced when Bangladesh, the country that bore the brunt of the refugee outflow, sought India’s help. On 14 September 2017, India launched “Operation Insaniyat” to provide relief assistance for the refugee camps in Bangladesh.Delhi’s decision to extend help fits into its desire to de-incentivise Rohingya refugees entering into India. As Delhi recalibrated its approach, the West Bengal government adopted a contrary position to the central government by expressing its support for the Rohingya refugees.Though the West Bengal government’s position did not change the central government’s Rohingya approach, it sent a message to Delhi that it needed to take into account voices of state governments on the issue. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visited Dhaka on 9 October 2017 and reassured the Bangladeshi government of Delhi’s support.





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