Katja Hujo, UNRISD Research Coordinator, responded to an article
in The Guardian
(on how migration affects the life of people in poor countries. She points out that South-South migrants are more vulnerable than other migrants, and have little or no social protection. The letter was published on 25 October.
Some Migrants Ignored
Your article Migration debate 'needs to change focus' (20 September
) features the new World Migration Report 2013 and its observation that global debates tend to focus on migrants in the north, while not paying sufficient attention to the millions of migrants who move between developing countries.
Indeed, my own research at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development has for years highlighted that "south-south migration” should be a key concern for policymakers. South-south migrants are often especially vulnerable for two reasons.
First, they tend to be poorer than migrants heading to the north (regional or cross-border migration generally being cheaper). Second, they often suffer worse living conditions and wellbeing because they have limited or no access to social protection, social services, or legal and political channels in host countries - which might be richer than migrants’ home countries, but none the less struggle to provide these services even to their own population.
South-south migration has major economic, social and political effects, but systematic and co-ordinated policy responses at the national and regional levels are still in short supply (Argentina’s progressive legislation being a notable exception). Donors from the north are reluctant to fund research that would help provide an evidence base for better policy responses to these realities. Do migrants have to jump US fences or enter Fortress Europe before rich countries take note of their plight?