Reframing the Debate on Migration, Development and Human Rights

  • Citation: Delgado Wise, Raúl, Humberto Márquez Covarrubias, and Ruben Puentes. “Reframing the Debate on Migration, Development and Human Rights.” Population, Space and Place 19, no. 4 (2013): 430–43.
    • Topics:
    • Global Development
    • Keywords:
    • migration
    • development
    • human rights
    • remittances
    • migration management
    • neoliberal globalisation

The relationship between migration, development, and human rights is a topic of growing interest among international organisations, academics, and civil society organisations. To varying degrees, international organisations such as the World Bank and the International Organization for Migration see remittances as an essential tool in the development of migrant-sending, underdeveloped countries. They also envisage international migration management as a core element in the design and implementation of migration policies that are apparently beneficial for all parties. We argue that this perspective, which has dominated the academic and policy agendas, is essentially one-sided, de-contextualised, reductionist, and misleading. It overlooks the realm of neoliberal globalisation and unequal development in which contemporary migration is embedded. It also disregards human and labour rights as central and intrinsic elements of coherent migration and development policies, as well as the exploitation, social exclusion, human insecurity, and criminalisation suffered by international migrants. In addition, it masks most of the fundamental contributions made by migrants to the destination countries and ignores the costs of migration for the countries of origin; costs that go far beyond the overemphasised ‘positive’ impact of remittances. The purpose of this article is to provide some key elements for reframing the debate on migration, development, and human rights with particular emphasis on the promotion of a comprehensive, inclusive, and human-centred alternative agenda.

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