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1 The migration dilemma (Joseph Chamie in Khaleej Times) The drowning of hundreds of men, women and children off the coasts of Italy and Malta has brought world attention back to the dilemma faced by the developed world from desperation migration. When people face dire times, many try migrating to more prosperous, favour-able or sparsely populated lands. Over the past two centuries, tens of millions of men, women and children migrated from Europe to North America, South America and Oceania. During the Irish Potato Famine, for example, more than a million emigrated from Ireland.
Opportunities for large-scale migration have come to a close. Established borders, national laws and international agreements, nationalism, security concerns, technology as well as striking economic, social and demographic imbalances all contribute to limiting immigration levels to the needs and well-being of the receiving countries. Few governments wish to increase current levels of immigration. Close to 75 per cent of national governments have policies to maintain current immigration levels.
A fundamental difficulty with tighter borders and the deportation approach is differentiating asylum seekers, genuinely in need of international protection, from economic migrants who seek employment, higher wages and a better life. Even doubling the current levels of legal immigration would unlikely reduce the illegal flows. Whereas current migration flows are several million per year, the would-be number of migrants seeking to escape unemployment, poverty, economic collapse, political turmoil, war and persecution can be expected to be many times greater.
Tragically, given the current worrisome state of economic, social and political affairs in many developing countries and the reluctance of most migrant-receiving nations to engage in a meaningful international dialogue on desperation migration, many more migrant deaths can be expected in the near future.
2 Qatar workers ‘treated like animals’ (BBC) Qatar’s construction sector is rife with abuse, Amnesty International (AI) has said in a report published as work begins on Fifa World Cup 2022 stadiums. Amnesty says migrant workers are often subjected to non-payment of wages, dangerous working conditions and squalid accommodation. The rights group said one manager had referred to workers as “animals”. It follows a report by the UK’s Guardian newspaper in September, which likened workers’ conditions to “modern-day slavery”.
Amnesty said it conducted interviews with 210 workers, employers and government officials for its report, The Dark Side of Migration: Spotlight on Qatar’s construction sector ahead of the World Cup. The report includes testimony from Nepalese workers employed by a company delivering supplies to a construction project associated with the planned Fifa headquarters. The workers said they were “treated like cattle”, working up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week, including during Qatar’s hot summer months.
Amnesty said some of the abuses amounted to “forced labour”. More than 1,000 people were admitted to the trauma unit at Doha’s main hospital in 2012 having fallen from height at work, Amnesty said, citing an unnamed hospital representative. Some 10% were disabled as a result and the mortality rate was “significant”, AI said.
3 India women want men who can cook (Bella Jaisinghani in The Times of India) Men who ponder the eternal puzzle about what it is women really want may finally have the answer. An online poll by a matrimonial website asked Indian women what they seek from a prospective spouse. An overwhelming 39.5% said that they expect their men to know how to cook while 51.2% wished they would help with household chores.
The list of turn-offs was obvious. Around 46% respondents took home a negative impression of men who were rude with service personnel, while 39% said their would-be partner should not be distracted by his cellphone during a conversation. Psychiatrist Anjali Chhabria says a simmering resentment can give rise to discord down the road when couples compare individual incomes. “The husband may feel he works 12 hours a day but the wife will say she works 14 doing household chores,” she said. “Fortunately, modern men do treat women as equals and are not averse to learning how to cook.”
Gourav Rakshit, chief operating officer of Shaadi.com which conducted the survey, said, “When women were asked about the must-haves in a relationship, 48.2% wanted a person who treated them respectfully. Around 40% sought a partner who valued the woman’s job and 9.3% wanted their partner to be okay with their financial independence.” Asked what they expect from men when they meet for the first time, 55.6% said “chivalry” while 19.3% wanted the gentleman to “be okay if the woman wants to pay the bill”.