- freely available
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 399-415; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6010399
2. Migration, Development and Human Rights
3. Inequalities in Access to Migration and its Benefits
4. Internal Mobility: A Blind Spot on the Development Agenda
5. Commodification of Migration: The Role of Recruitment Agencies
6. Political Representation of Mobile People
6.1. Diaspora, International Migration and Citizenship
6.2. Political Representation of Internal Migrants
6.3. International Migration—Safe Migration
6.4. Role of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
6.5. Safety and Gender in Migration
7. Conclusion and Road Ahead
- The right to development would include the well-being and basic needs of all people, along with their individual opportunities to develop and participate in decision-making processes. This would also imply creating decent and fulfilling employment opportunities in the current migrant’s destinations as well as in Nepal. In Nepal these would go hand in hand with investment in productive sectors such as industry, commerce, transport, communication and agriculture. Although remittances are assumed to play a role in those development efforts in Nepal, they certainly cannot replace investments and efforts by the government and private sector and foreign direct investment.Nevertheless, the right to development should be decoupled from unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, since costs such as environmental changes once again disproportionately affect the most vulnerable groups and might also lead into even more forced migration.
- The right to choose not to migrate: This right to immobility is closely linked to point 1. the right to development, and involves creating the right conditions in Nepal so that people do not feel forced to migrate and can stay where they want to. Movement (including choice of destination) should be available to all, but it should be a free choice and not forced in any way, be it for political, social or economic reasons.
- An inclusive and sustainable approach would include the right to freedom of movement within and across countries, independent from gender, ethnicity, or socio-economic status – a right that remains a privilege for very few people worldwide. Nevertheless, from a Nepalese perspective this would include finding other ways to address protection concerns but removing bans and conditions on migration for their citizens (e.g., the age-specific ban on women’s migration for domestic work). For internal displacement this would imply that those internally displaces persons who choose not to return should be allowed to participate in the political process from the places where they currently reside.
- Basic rights of migrants and their familiesThe human rights of all migrants in sending, receiving and transition countries should be guaranteed, including access to decent employment, public services, and security. This could translate into more concrete actions, such as:
- Policies and actions should take account of the different stages of migration separately: life in the home country, pre-departure preparations, travelling to and working and living in the host country, and permanent or temporary return.
- Access to information: Although this has already improved, major efforts are still needed to provide (potential) migrants with better, more reliable and up-to-date information about policies and procedures through, e.g., information and resource centers such as one-stop services, hotlines, radio programs, and text messaging systems.Pre-departure training can help to maximize the benefits of migration while abroad and upon return Such training may address professional skills and working rights and include economic literacy programs about income, saving, spending, borrowing, banking, and sending remittances. It should also provide space for discussion about the possible negative aspects and social costs of migration and encourage participation by other family members.Further measures would include reducing the costs of mobility, such as passports and visas, providing efficient and cost-effective remittance transfer services through banks and other providers, creating remittance investment centers, offering loans for new ventures by migrants, and providing entrepreneurship courses or job-matching and re-integration services for interested returnees. There is not only a gender dimension to saving and investment behavior and entrepreneurship; they also often depend on the life stage of migrants or their family members and this should be taken into consideration so as to increase migrants’ economic influence.
- Welfare and human rights: The government of Nepal should integrate dimensions of human rights in its development vision such as post-MDG debates. The government and recruiting agencies have to establish measures to regulate recruitment and employment contracts, for example by developing a code of conduct and best practice, making employers at the destination jointly liable with recruitment agencies, installing placement fee ceilings and minimum working wages, requiring the destination government to create trust funds for migrants, and offering support through diplomatic missions to monitor a migrant's workplace.
- Protection of rights while abroad: All governments should repeal migration policies that violate human rights (safety, labour standards, decent work, international protection instruments), and all states should ratify and implement all relevant international human rights and international migration instruments. Nepal must opt for multilateral measures to protect rights and it must also involve host, transit and destination countries, as measures to protect the rights of migrants are difficult to enforce without the support from destination countries. Furthermore, governments should ensure skills accreditation or standardization, provide legal appeal procedures and counseling and rehabilitation of returnees.
- Integrating the “absent” population: At present, a large proportion of the population that represents their country’s future plays no part in training, capacity-building and rebuilding schemes in their home countries. However, as migrants often invest and have a major stake in decision-making processes and responsibilities in their households, policymakers and program officers should reflect this when they design programs and funding schemes, and returning migrants should be integrated into, and potentially attracted by, existing programs.
- Lastly, there is a need to improve the fundamental data (both quantitative and qualitative) for migration- and development-related topics. This could be done through better data collection and management and as well as encouraging research on migration and exchanges between research and practice, and creating research units in destination countries of Nepalese workers.
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