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UN says Trump's revised travel ban will worsen plight of refugees The new order clarifies that permanent residents, existing visa holders.
Table of contents
- The Political-Economy of Roti: Urban Refugees in Cambodia and the Struggle for Economic Empowerment
- UN says Trump's revised travel ban will worsen plight of refugees | US news | The Guardian
- UN says Trump's revised travel ban will worsen plight of refugees
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Rather, the law of the polis finds its tabernacle in the refugee. The ground upon which our political life is founded has fallen away, leaving us all, effectively, refugees. International migration and internal mobility within sovereign territories have created a massive reshuffling of global demographics as migrants, seeking financial gain, access to education and personal security move typically from poorer peripheries to richer urban agglomerations.
The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division reports that in , the number of international migrants worldwide reached an all-time high of million , up from million in and million in Though the motivations for targeting large metropolises often overlap, the underlying causes for heading toward the city, especially for those embarking on cross-border movement, reveal significant differences.
Moreover, the lived experience of refugees once arriving in their host environment carries difficulties that are unique to this population. This paper will examine the experience of urban refugees by surveying several of the most common challenges faced by refugees and asylum seekers living in Cambodia in their efforts to achieve self-reliance and integration into Cambodian society, particularly with regards to their pursuit of economic empowerment.
The Political-Economy of Roti: Urban Refugees in Cambodia and the Struggle for Economic Empowerment
An analysis of urban refugees in Cambodia has secondary benefits: But what can foreigners tell us about the political-economy of Cambodia that we do not already know? They can tell us about the challenges of navigating the informal labor sector, weathering the instability of unpredictable local markets, standing up to rampant corruption and harassment, and facing the ever-diminishing hope of breaking into a higher quality of life.
They can tell us about the tenuous line between risk and survival, and about how strategies for success too often slip into quagmires of servitude.
They can tell us about the challenges of imagined communities , the possibilities of transforming societies , and the realities of dissolving social ties, highlighting how the schizophrenic dealings of capitalist exchange ensnarl all actors in one traitorous, borderline love affair. They can tell us about global-local interconnections, the complex macro- and micro-interrelationships which not only serve as a sort of litmus test for impending ASEAN partnerships but also articulate the diversity of lived experiences and identities characteristic of the regional context.
And they can tell us about work as a fundamental human right, that human doing, human activity, is essential for happiness, peace and security. Beyond either a phenomenology of roti or a qualitative inquiry into the present state of political-economy in Cambodia, this paper will raise several theoretical questions pertaining to contemporary social thought.
Differences of identity, culture, ethnicity, religion and politics generate situations that are as open to creative possibility and the sharing of a common human world, as they may likewise contribute to tension, rejection, ostracism, xenophobia and further persecution within communities of mixed communities.
This paper reflects favorably on the creative, economic possibility of roti as a truly social enterprise. The political economy of roti is decidedly mutual, reciprocal and cooperative. This policy amounted to no less than an organization-wide denial of the phenomenon of urban refugee migration. Granted, many persecuted persons relish the city for its natural camouflaging — the city offers far more hiding places than a camp or rural village.
Yet, invisibility is also a social construct: Furthermore, as good schoolchildren learn, the most successful games of hide-and-seek depend not only on the skill of those who hide, but on the cleverness and indefatigable pursuit of those who seek out. It is important to recall that the figure of the refugee as such had always been exceedingly visible.
The iconic image of one who treks long distances through deserts, jungles and warzones to cross a somehow miraculously safe though, assuredly, arbitrary border en masse, only to be concentrated into tent cities like Dadaab, Mae La or Zaatari, suggests a human subject all too visible. Imaging and imagining the refugee has been taken to extremes.
One thing for certain: It is important to note, however, that these numbers are from year-end , and so do not include all of the nearly 2. Nevertheless, in the world saw an average of 23, individuals per day forced to leave their homes and seek protection elsewhere, either as IDPs or as asylum seekers. These numbers have only increased throughout calendar year and continue to increase on a daily basis at the beginning of The truth is undeniable: Again, one thing is for certain: Refugees in cities will typically live alongside nationals and migrants who have migrated to urban areas in pursuit of higher living standards.
These different groups all contend with difficult day-to-day circumstances in communities that will lack even the most basic welfare support. More pressure on infrastructure and environment, on housing and social services in communities already struggling can create tensions between local and refugee populations — and in worse cases, can fuel xenophobia with catastrophic results. Certainly, an influx of inhabitants in any one area will contribute to a strain on resources and increase competition for already limited economic advantages. Classes of insiders and outsiders will emerge based on criteria as concrete as citizenship and as arbitrary as skin color or accent.
In order to survive as resident outsiders, urban refugees demonstrate courage and determination in pursuit of employment.
UN says Trump's revised travel ban will worsen plight of refugees | US news | The Guardian
While this added competition is certain to cause dismay among some citizens, the political economy of urban refugees suggests that refugees are often necessary, as well as potentially advantageous economic actors. Urban refugees are self-settled, meaning they themselves select and finance where they will dwell in the host country. The fact remains that most refugees live in the capitol city of Phnom Penh, although the perimeter of the city continues to expand wider and wider on account of rapid development.
Virtually no refugees live in the city center due to prohibitive rental costs in the business and financial hub. Consequently, most refugees in Phnom Penh live on the fringe of the city, some in construction sites along National Highway 3, others in stilted houses along the Mekong or Tonle Sap Rivers. Several refugees now live outside of Phnom Penh in one of several other urban centers in the country, such as Sihanoukville and Siem Reap.
One family, whose patriarch is employed by a logging company, lives in a remote mountainous region in a far Western province. Recently, the greatest influx of refugees has been stateless Rohingya from Myanmar. Few of these individuals deliberately chose Cambodia as a place of refuge, aside from, perhaps, some from Vietnam, whose proximal location makes it a somewhat convenient destination. Because these countries are not signatories to the primary international instrument which protects refugees — the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees — and because they also do not have hospitable domestic asylum legislation, refugees report having encountered harsh circumstances, including harassment, detention, imprisonment and torture in these countries.
Several refugees arrived in Cambodia by accident, whereby circumstances beyond their control landed them ashore. One refugee from Africa reports disembarking from a fishing boat without knowing his precise location; once stepping foot on Cambodian soil, he was stuck in an international legal quagmire. Twelve years later, he remains in a country that is socially and culturally alien. The refugee population ranges in age from 0 to 70, with men outnumbering women 3 to 1.
The fact that Cambodia is a signatory to the Convention means that in principle, Cambodia is a safe and hospitable host to asylum seekers. Regionally, only three countries — Cambodia, the Philippines, and Timor Leste — are signatories of the Convention. In essence, the provisions of this legislation guarantee that individuals will be offered temporary asylum while they await their RSD; they will not be detained in a prison or holding center; and they will be safe from refoulement.
It must be stressed, however, that the rule of law in Cambodia is hardly robust, a fact that results in daily violations of both legislative principle and practice. Cambodia commits halfheartedly to many international conventions to which it is a signatory. Insiders openly admit that Cambodia was strong-armed into signing, among other things, the Convention. For certain, Cambodia has made several positive steps towards fulfilling its international obligations under the Convention.
Nevertheless, there have been moments when Cambodia has not made good on its promises. In December , Cambodian police stormed a house where 20 Chinese Uighurs were housed. These men, women and children were seeking asylum, based largely on the grounds of religious persecution for their Muslim faith. All 20 individuals were forcefully returned to their country of origin in a blatant violation of the principle of refoulement.
Since December , other incidences of refoulement of additional Chinese Uighurs and Vietnamese Montagnards have been documented and condemned.
UN says Trump's revised travel ban will worsen plight of refugees
By economic empowerment, we mean the ability for an individual or family unit to generate sufficient income on a monthly basis so as to cover not only immediate expenses, but to save a portion of net profit for future need. Economic empowerment is, therefore, not simply about satisfying immediate needs, but preparing for the future.
Self-reliance includes such things as procuring necessary documentation e. Due to its status as a signatory of the Convention, as well as to the fact that Cambodia has its own domestic refugee law administered by the Refugee Office, the UNHCR maintains that Cambodia has the necessary legal framework to provide sufficient protection to those individuals seeking asylum within its borders. Accordingly, the durable solution for most all refugees who come to Cambodia is integration into Cambodian society.
Few refugees in Cambodia will be resettled in third countries, like the United States or Canada. It is important to stress that refugees are not economic migrants. Admittedly, it can be difficult for the general public to separate categorically refugees from other migrants who embark upon a journey across borders for economic or other reasons.
The crucial difference between these groups is motivation: Refugees leave not by choice, but under duress. They are forced to flee. If they wait another day, they may not survive. Unlike economic migrants, who make a calculated decision to depart for what is perceived to be a place of improved opportunity, the refugee escapes to anywhere she will feel safe. Safety, to be sure, requires a measure of financial stability. Accordingly, we maintain that the right to work is a fundamental human right, a right that is, in fact, consistent with the Convention, ascribed in Articles and These safeguards pertaining to the right to work are considerable.
Coupled with the fact that refugees and asylum seekers in Cambodia have free range of movement within the country, the right to housing, access to public education for children and receive health insurance through UNHCR, the de jure rights of refugees establish a rather auspicious landscape in which a refugee may operate. Nevertheless, there are considerable challenges to economic empowerment in Cambodia, challenges which condemn most refugees to a life of poverty and hardship.
MFA created a system, if not a subculture, of dependence: Some refugees had received MFA for over ten years, having never held a job or operated a small business since arriving in Cambodia. To phase out MFA was not as simple as slashing payments; it required a cognitive shift, the reactivation of latent skills and energies, and provisions for active case management to safeguard against relapsing into further destitution and indigence.
In Cambodia, the figure of refugee as economic actor can be divided into seven categories:. Unskilled economic actors requiring vocational training. Although it remains a common misconception that all refugees are poor and uneducated, the reality is otherwise. In fact, the global refugee population is comprised of individuals of all socioeconomic classes, possessing a full range of educational and technical skills.
Still, many refugees comprise historically educationally disadvantaged and marginalized communities. Women and girls, in particular, often arrive in a host country with particular vulnerability surrounding their educational history and technical experience. It is not uncommon for refugees to have formerly worked as farmers prior to their forced displacement at which the city scoffs. Ideally, many of these unskilled economic actors would be eligible for vocational training or re-training programs. With some 3, NGOs registered in Cambodia, refugees arrive in what may seem like the world capitol of charitable outreach and development.
At the end of , only two refugees in Cambodia were between the ages of 17 and 30, the target age for virtually all vocational training programs. Additionally, two-thirds of the refugee population is male; most NGO-sponsored vocational training programs currently have a disproportionate emphasis on serving young women over young men. Trainings and materials are almost all in Khmer language, making participation difficult for non-native speakers and the illiterate.
Many training programs have a very specific mandate to serve Cambodian citizens who have been sexually exploited or are survivors of sex trafficking. Time and again, refugees find themselves disqualified from desperately needed services.
He speaks some English and wants to capitalize on this ability. In the past, her husband was the principle breadwinner for the family; now that he is disabled, she knows she has to work, but she has no marketable skills and no Khmer language acquisition. Although she wants both to learn and to work, she has failed to find an appropriate training placement despite almost two years of active searching: How can I survive?
Skilled laborers who cannot make use of their unique skill in the current context, and so require re-training. Aung Min, a year-old Burmese refugee is an electrician by trade. Despite his highly valued skills set, he is unable to secure a job in Cambodia. Nevertheless, Aung has been unable to convince an employer to hire him: An additional stumbling block for some refugees is that most potential employees embarking upon their first job placement in Cambodia — individuals further encumbered by limited documentation and lack of references — are considered exclusively for entry-level positions.
For six to seven days of work per week at up to 12 hours per day, this is not acceptable compensation. Once again, the roti cart beckons. The pre-employment stage also poses a significant challenge to many refugees: Aman, a year-old Rohingya asylum seeker, complains that although he has learned to speak some Khmer language, he cannot read; thus, searching for jobs in local newspapers or posted advertisements is frustrating.
I go place to place, asking for work, but once they see my dark skin, they all turn their head. This second category of economic actors includes individuals from the so-called liberal professions: These are actors who typically have high education, credible work experience and the expectation to earn a salary consistent with at least a middle-class lifestyle. Gabyere, a former professor of Business Administration from Somalia, refused to seek employment for himself or any one of his family members in anything but a well-established business or university.
Because such jobs simply did not avail themselves, he was forced to make the decision either to remain in Cambodia at the risk of destitution or attempt a perilous, unauthorized journey elsewhere: What am I supposed to do? I am a professor, not a seamstress. What is my daughter to do? I want her to go to university, not wait tables. Economic actors with basic, general abilities, who require job placement. Once again, despite protections under both international and domestic law, it proves difficult to find employers willing to take on refugee staff. Even when the law is explained, employers feel anxiety about employing refugees.
Refugees experience this rejection as a form of discrimination.
The anxiety works both ways: Ha Nguyen was placed by a refugee aid organization in a partner NGO garment factory. This particular factory was reputed for its equitable treatment of employees, safe and humane working conditions, above-standard pay and on-the-job professional development. Nevertheless, after only three months of work, the employee abruptly quit her job without informing her case manager. She claimed that she felt the employer discriminated against her because of her Vietnamese heritage: At the time of writing, Ha Nguyen remains unemployed going on nine months.
Economic actors who are employable, but with limitations. Individuals like Vikram, a year-old Sri Lankan man who is HIV positive, are often unable to find a suitable endeavor that contributes both to quality of life and physical capacity. Although he is on antiretroviral medication, he is not strong enough to work the long hours and full work-weeks demanded by most Cambodian employers.
I cannot find an employer who understands my situation. Under this fourth category of economic actors, an entire group of people struggles to find suitable economic empowerment: Due to cultural and religious practices, these women are strictly restricted to their homes except to go to and from the local market to purchase daily foods. Although none of the Rohingya women living in Cambodia are over the age of 40, all but one are in good health and several have sewing skills, none of them are able to seek a wage-earning job.
As previously stated, in Cambodia, all urban refugees are considered potential, necessary economic actors. Sadly, this includes fully disabled breadwinners. Binh is a year-old Vietnamese man with uncontrollable diabetes, hypertension and chronic asthma; although he has tried on several occasions to do light manual labor, he has sometimes lost consciousness, further jeopardizing his health. Eight years ago, he earned good money at an automotive repair shop; today he simply cannot work. His wife is six years his senior, has no employable skills and is unable to speak Khmer.
Together, they are in custody of their two grandchildren, both girls, ages four and nine. Following a family dispute, they no longer maintain contact with their son, also a refugee, living in Cambodia though struggling with alcoholism. Cambodia does not have a social welfare system for citizens, let alone foreigners; the de facto social welfare system for the aged and infirm is to rely on relatives and extended family. This refugee Vietnamese family is faced with a desperate situation: I cannot work; my wife cannot work; our girls cannot work.
What do we do? Bilal is a year-old Somali refugee. He suffers from chronic, severe schizophrenia with frequent violent outbursts. In Cambodia, where the mental health system is inadequate and ill-equipped to meet the needs of the most serious patients, Bilal lives his life roaming the streets of Phnom Penh, cursing at tourists enjoying a stroll along the riverside boardwalk. Homeless, he is not under the care of any mental health service provider, does not take medication, and is unable to work.
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Despite the fact that Cambodia ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in , child labor remains prevalent throughout the country. According to the Child Labor Survey , the International Labor Organization ILO found that 1 out of every 10 children in the country is forced to work in a way that violates Cambodian laws or international conventions.
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Like their Cambodian peers, refugee children under the age of 17 are often forced to work instead of attend school. Often, children who are engaged in the informal labor sector are exposed to dangerous conditions, physical and sexual abuse, crime, gang-related violence, and additional forms of exploitation and neglect, including the risk of trafficking. Ahmad pays for his year-old son to attend Arabic school one day per week; the rest of the time, the boy is expected to work: He is not Cambodian! Hien, an year-old child of Vietnamese origin, is not permitted to attend school because in the past he was severely bullied by his peers.
Moreover, the parents do not want the child to learn the Khmer language even though they have no intention of ever returning to their homeland: It is better for me to work to help my mother and father. Most refugees prefer to operate their own small business rather than seek employment under contract.
The attractions of the informal labor sector are many: Nevertheless, informal labor is not without its perils. Indeed, most seem to have rather poor intuition for business success, lacking in particular skills to thrive at finance, management and customer service. As foreigners, it is often difficult to attract native Cambodian customers in a limited and competitive market.
Many Cambodians seem to self-select their compatriots when given a choice and many refugees lose business to competitors who possess food carts that are more attractive and aesthetically appealing than the often second-hand, rickety materials in use by refugees. The OIC said it was of the view that the ban will further complicate the grave situation that refugees find themselves.
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