Global Migration and Human Rights Case Studies


Migration in Brazil - EDC -

  • Socio-Economic Facts= 7th largest economy in the World. Leading economic power in Latin America. Increase of GDP per captia from $4874 in 2007 to $5823 in 2014. Net migration rate: -0.1 migrant (s)/ 1000 population (2016 est).
  • Current Patterns of Migration= net migration loss of 0.5 million from 2000-09. This slowed to 190,000 loss between 2010-14. Increased migration between Brazil and neighbouring countries (south-south migration) e.g. Argentina. Slowing down of emigration of less skilled workers to USA. Increased Brain Drain of highly skilled workers to Europe. Strong internal migration from northeast to cities in the southeast (urbanisation).
  • Changes in Migration Overtime= 19th&20th century-positive net migration because Europeans were attracted to work in coffee cultivation. Political crises led to migrants from Bolvia and Lebanon. Economic migration between Paraguay and Argentina has always been high. Last 15 years- immigration slowed. 80,000 fewer immigrants living in Brazil than at the start of the century. Emigration has increased, e.g. 2013, 1,77 million Brazilians lived abroad in comparison to 0.98 million in 2000. 370,000 Brazillian-born in USA.
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Brazil 2

  • Interdependence between Countries= 1. Portugal - bilateral relationship on a political, social and economic basis. Brazil was a former Spanish colony. Special status given to Brazilian migrants (130,000 Brazilian born migrant living in Spain). Shared language and families ties. Social diaspora networks in both countries. Migrants remittances from Spain. 2. Haiti - Brazil has a political, economic and humaitarian relationship with Haiti. Immigrants from Haiti obtain visas easily. 2010- 1700 Haitians living in Brazil, increased to 11000 in 2013. Haitians migrate to southern Brazil join families and due to number of low-skilled jobs available in agriculture and factories.
  • Impacts of migration= ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT - migrants from Japan and EU countries= growth in agricultural and manufacturing sectors. Migrant remittances to Brazil controbute to development of education and housing- 0.1% of GDP in 2015. POLITICAL STABILITY - member of Mercosur (trading bloc)- allows free trade and free labour migration between members, which promotes political stability. Stable political relationship with USA, Japan and Portugal (bilteral migration flows). SOCIAL EQUALITY - UNESCO - "Inequalities in society betweem ethnic groups. Brazilians of African decent are most affected." - Inequalities in housing education and access to services.
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Migration in USA - AC -

Patterns of emigration and immigration:

  • Strong influence on global migration.
  • 2013- 41 million migrants living in USA (13% of total population), 78 different nationalities with 50,000+ inhabitants.
  • Main contributors to population (2013) - Mexico (28%), India (5%), China (5%) and Phillippines (4%).
  • Rapid growth in immigration to USA in 21st century. Recent signs of slowing.

Pull factors of the USA: positive immigration policy and Green Card, employment opportunities for all skills, opportunities to send remittances educational and healthcare opportunities. 

  • 3 million US citizens living abroad in 2013. Main destinations are: Mexico, Canada, UK, Germany and Israel.

Interdependence with other countries:

  • 2013 - 11.5 million Mexicans living in the USA and 1 million Americans in Mexico (largest diaspora living in each others' country).
  • Low skilled Mexicans (5.5 million illegal in 2015) contribute to agricultural, contruction and service sectors.
  • Remittances to Mexico in 2013= $22 billion, 2% of Mexico's GDP.
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Migration Policies:

  • Immigration and Naturalisation Act governs current immigration policy. Limits worldwide annual permanent immigrants to 675,000, separate figure for refugees.
  • Policy based on: REUNIFICATION OF FAMILIES - 480,000 visas anually for family members. SKILLS VALUABLE TO ECONOMY- 140,000 visas- need sponsors from employees. PROTECTING REFUGEES- 2013, 70,000 refugees allowed, figure changes yearly.

Recent Migration Policies:

  • August 2017= RAISE act - favours Green Card applicants who can speak English and financially support themselves.
  • Could cut number of immigrants allowed by 50% in next 10 years.
  • Crack down on visas provided based on family connections.
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Opportunities for USA:

  • Immigrants take low-paid jobs which native-born Americans find unattractive, i.e. 2013, Mexican migrants, 31% in low-paid services.
  • US immigration policy aimed at attracting highly skilled professionals- 2013, 73% of India migrants were employed in business and science.
  • Most immigrants are young working age, contribute to economy and services through tax.

Challenges for USA:

  • 11.5 million unauthorised immigrants of which 5.5 million are Mexican. US Department Homeland Security tightened southern maritime and land borders with more border patrols, 2015 congress passed immigration bills strengthening the screening process for refugees.
  • Uneven progress in integration of immigrant groups into US society.
  • Supply of resources and services is an issue where immigrant population is concentrated, e.g. water supply in Southern California.
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Migration in Laos - LIDC -

Laos has limited influence, restricted ability to respond to change within the global migration system. It is a landlocked LIDC of 6.8 million people, located in SE Asia.

Patterns of immigration and emigration:

  • In 2013, 1.3 million Laos born emigrants lived abroad, and only 20,000 foreign born immigrants, mainly Vietnamese, lived in Laos.
  • Emigration to Thailand- 2013, 930,000 Laos born residents because of higher minimum wage- Thailand= 300 baht, Laos= 80 baht. No financial gain for subsistence farmers so migrate to urban areas in Thailand for more opportunities.
  • Immigration from Vietnam - result of employment opportunities in the government-driven, World Bank funded programmes linking countries in the region by highways, bridges and tunnels. Work in construction and mining.
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Laos 2

Interdependence with countries:

  • ASEAN countires are becoming increasingly interdependent, e.g. Laos- Thailand relationship (bilateral flow) -
  • The L-T migration corridor is dominated numerically by the outward flow of unskilled Laotians to work in T. They work in construction, agriculture, fisheries and factory work.
  • Their remittances assist development in Laos.
  • The Laos-Thailand Cooperation Committee has helped to strengthen communication and trade. T has principal access to the sea for L. This funded a large health service development and drugs treatment centre in L.
  • L and T are members of the co-ordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative Against Trafficking.

Migration Policies:

  • Member of ASEAN (trading bloc)- aims to allow freer movement of skilled labour from 2015. Allows professional employed in nursing, medicine, dentistry etc. after 5 years of working in CofO to have a greater freedom of movement between ASEAN countries.
  • Laos is a source of human trafficking; (2013) 36% of population under 15- increasing number entrants into a work force where opportunities are limited, vulnerability to forced labour and sexual exploitation, recent development is the 'trafficking' of under-age footballers from Liberia to Laos to play for Champasak United.
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Laos 3


  • Migration corridor between L-T is one of the largest in ASEAN. Helped stimulate political and economic cooperation in terms of trade, investment, security and dev projects.
  • Bilateral relations with Vietnam create economic cooperation. V involved in over 400 investment projects in L.

Remittances are very important- in L, 22% of families live below the poverty line.


  • Most economic migrants from L are low-skilled, limited education -18 at their first migration. Many travel illegally and are vulnerable to human trafficking etc. L government policy depends on transnational governance by IOM, ILO and Civil Society.
  • Movement of disease across borders.
  • Loss of skilled labour, e.g. carpenters to Thailand. This is set to increase if wage differentials remain high and there is freer movement within ASEAN.
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Human Rights - India - (example not CS) -

Gender Inequality - 

  • Violence against women - viewed as a social norm, 52% of women think a man beating his wife is justifiable (UNICEF). 
  • Modern slavery - 14 million people, mostly women and girls, in 2014, sexual exploitation, early forced marriage and forced labour.
  • Discrimination in the workplace - maternity benefits denied by many employers. In Delhi, only 25% of women return to work after childbirth. Social conditioning that children are solely the women's responsibility.
  • Political participation - only 11% of parliament are women. 
  • Access to education - 40% of girls don't finish secondary school. Girls seen as economic burden. not 'investable' -restricting access. 

Consequences of Gender Inequality - 

  • Dowry Deaths - 8000 in 2012 because family cannot meet dowry demands set by husbands family. Worse in north - up to 1.4 deaths per 100,000 women.
  • Honour Killings - commited by women's family members for women not agreeing to arranged marriage - grown by 800% from 2014-15.
  • Women's Health - at rish during and after pregnancy. High maternal mortality rates - 174/ 100,000 live births. Patriarchal society - women may be subjected to sex- selective abortions.
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India 2

Strategies to Combat Gender Inequality - 

  • 'Our daughters, our wealth' scheme - cash incentives for families who enrol their daughter at birth ($400). Conditions= daughter must remain unmarried until at least 18 years. Only 14% of girls were married and they were 59% less likely to be married at 18 than girls who hadn't participated. However, in 53% of the cases, the cash incentive was used to increase the dowry. 32% intended to use the cash for education.
  • Sabla empowerment programme - aims to improve nutritional health of 11-18 girls, and uphrading life and vocational skills. The programme has reached 50,000 out of school adolescent girls.
  • Beijing Platform for Action - UN conference on women in 1995. Commitments under 12 areas of concern, e.g. violence against women. As a result of the conference, India have published, a  National Policy for the Empowerment of Women (2001). One of its aims is to 'Eliminate discrimination and all forms of violence against women and the girl child.'
  • Increase women police officers - Dehli 2014. A response to project map crimes against women. All-female motorbike squad to tackle crime against women. 600 motorbikes to deter offenders and reassure women. Bikes can be used in narrow alleys where harassment is common.
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Human Rights - Afghanistan -

Human Rights Violations - 

  • Attacks on journalists= Article 19, 'Freedom of opinion and expression'. May 2017- 42 journalists were reported either killed, beaten, wounded, detained or threatened in Kabul.
  • Inequality in access to services for women= Article 26, 'Right to education'. 2016- 17% literacy rate amongst women and 2.3 million girls out of school.
  • Food security fuelled poppy cultivation= Article 25, 'Right to adequate standard of living... including food'. 2.4 million farmers involved in opium production instead of producing wheat. Opium $4700 income per hectare. compared to $1700 for wheat.
  • Increased casualties among Afghan security forces and civilians= Article 3 'Right to life, liberty and security' - civilian deaths/ injuries 2009- 6000 and 2016- 11500.

Consequences for rural areas- Ghar province - 

  • Geographically inhospitable and politically becoming hostile and insecure.
  • Poverty leading to families selling livestock.
  • Basic HR's neglected due to conflict, i.e. gender inequality (selling daughters), and limited access to education.
  • Afghan Aid- NGO and Afghan Government work together with local community, e.g. more effective agricultrual practices introduced.
  • Women are now more integrated in society and local democratic elections introduced.
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Afghanistan 2

Consequences for urban areas - Kabul

  • UN habitat working to co-ordinate the Afghan Gov, local govs, community councils and funding from Japan to upgrade neighbourhoods in 33 provinces in Kabul- targetting 2700 residents.
  • Denial of basic HR's in Kabul due to urbanisation and pressure on services= deprivation.
  • Community Development Councils aimed to upgrade housing, infrastructure, schools and healthcare. They are also working to improve engagement of women in projects, employment, land tenure and government.

Strategies - 

  • UN (international) - UNAMA aims to achieve sustainable peace and development. 1500 staff in Afghanistan. Promoting respect for international HR laws, promoting accountability and ensuring protection of HRs. Kabul - women from Kabul met at UN event to engage women. The government aim to increase the presence of women in gov by 30% by 2020.
  • Afghan government (national) - joined SAARC in 1985. Helps to promote economic growth and promotes welfare of the people. In 2014 SAARC summit, govs resolved to eliminate illiteracy from the region. Set Independent Election Commision. Aims to strengthen and promote democracy. Supported by UNAMA to prepare credible elections for 2018.
  • Afghan Aid (national) - a British humanitarian and development organisation that aims to rebuild some basic services. improve livelihoods, strengthen the rights of women and children and respond to natural disasters in some of the poorest areas. Women's Economic Empowerment Programme (WEEP) - vocational training and equipment to develop, e.g. Sewing with Sabira.
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Human Rights - Honduras -

Background Info= One of the least developed countries in Central America. HR issues hold back development (LIDC). GDP per capita- $4900 (2015 est). Infant mortality rate - 18 deaths/1000 live births. Life expectancy - 71 years. Employment structure - primary (14%), secondary (27%), tertiary (60%). 

HR issues in Honduras:

  • Unlawful use of force and corruption by the police - Article 5, 'Cruel, degrading and inhumane treatment.'. 12/1/18 OHCHR "expresses concern" about the use of tear gas at a protest in which 200 were injured. Military police accused of 20 cases of torture (2012-14).
  • Violence against women - Article 5. 11% of women experienced physical and/or sexual violence by their partners in 2011.
  • Trafficking of child labour and child prostitution - Article 4, 'Prohibition of the slave trade'. According to UNICEF, 500 children are prostitued in the city of San Pedro Sula.
  • Limited access to education - Article 26, 'Right to education'. Only 30% of children attend high school, and 40% of teachers recieve basic training.
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Honduras 2


  • For Stability= bilateral links with USA helping economy and national security. Political stability achieved with US support for free and fair elections.
  • For Economic Growth= the USA, UN and civil society are working to implement new food security programmes. USAID working in local areas to end poverty and enable communities to realise their full potential.
  • For Socio-Economic Development= 40% of the population is under 15. Education department has given more power to rural areas to help achieve MDG for school enrolment. Efforts to improve maternal health are leading to further development.


  • Of Inequality= inequalities between rich and poor in urban areas. Urbanisation leads to housing and water shortages. Unequal access to education between rural and urban areas (boys/girls and HIV-positive children).
  • Of Justice= judges face acts of intimidation. Violence against children continues. High incidences of drug related violence.
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Honduras 3

Strategies for global governance of HR's:

  • UN (international) - sent a HR advisor to Honduras. Aims to strengthen government institutions working in HR's, to build a stronger HR culture, and to implement the Honduran National HR plan.
  • The USA (international) - provided $50 million between 2010-14 in security aid. Also provides military and police aid if Honduras meet HR targets.
  • Honduran Government (national) - set up Ministry for Justice and HR's and various commisions to prevent torture. Uses and relies on NGOs to address educational issues in rural areas.
  • World Vision (local) - San Juan Development Programme aims to improve the well-being of children, e.g. 30 young people equipped with skills to earn a living through entrepreneurship classes and training. Staff from 48 schools recieved additional training and resources to improve teaching and learning.
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