In light of the Greece boat tragedy last month, yesterday Professor Alexander Betts was interviewed on CNN’s Amanpour programme about the ongoing failure of governments to address the root causes of migration and to manage the mixed migration movements we are experiencing today. As governments close borders and fail to provide safe routes, people are forced to resort to human smuggling networks.
Betts states “around the world, leaders are really burying their heads in the sand about new drivers of displacement”. He asks “How in the future are we going to draw the line about who has a human rights based entitlement to cross an international border? It’s not just about the refugee definition, it’s about people fleeing climate change, the people leaving Pakistan were fleeing hyperinflation, serious economic impacts on the availability of basic food items.”
We must recognise, he says, that migrant rights are human rights; "all migrants have a right to life" so we must ensure that we save lives. But the only way to limit the mixed migration movements is to address the root causes, and to ensure we have clear, rule-based safe routes available.
Watch the interview on CNN International