Selecção, tradução, organização e introdução por Júlio Marques Mota


Pensar diferente, impactos humanitários da crise económica na Europa

Um relatório da Cruz Vermelha Internacional e do Crescente Vermelho (excertos)


Quarta Tendência: Migrações e Mobilidade

(Esta parte do texto foi mantida em inglês. A vantagem evitar alterações no espírito que se imprimiu na redacção do relatório)

Earning money – at a price

Gulby Dondova smiles most of the time. Her house in the outskirts of Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek is small and crowded with three children and her daughter-in-law also living there. Her three adult sons are migrants, living in Russia and Kazakhstan, where hundreds of thousands of Kyrgyz people try to find work to send money back home.

Gulby stays in close contact with her three sons by skyping them once a week from the internet café some kilometres away. She also has enough energy to volunteer with the Red Crescent Society of Kyrgyzstan, assisting migrants.

However, not everybody is as resourceful as Gulby and her family. Thousands of migrants face problems being cheated by employers or syndicates, or getting on the wrong side of the authorities simply because they are not fully aware of the rules and the laws in the country they travel to.

National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies work closely together to assist migrants – before they leave home, while they are abroad, and when they return. An EU-funded programme in Central Asia provides training and support to thousands of migrants from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan taking up work in Kazakhstan and Russia, and all the National Societies in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) are now cooperating to find common approaches, advocate on behalf of migrants and share materials and experiences.

Labour migration has become the major response to the social, demographic and economic challenges and survival strategy for the majority of families in Central Asia and Southern Caucasus region. Lack of competitive and reasonable employment opportunities in domestic labour markets and growing poverty in countries like Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on one side, and growing economies of Kazakhstan and Russia on the other side, are the main push and pull factors for economically motivated migration within the region.

In Russia alone around 12 to 14 million people – 10 per cent of the population – are migrants, the majority of them from neighbouring countries. Whereas policies and laws are in place to help migrants, it is often the implementation of the laws that present a problem; i.e. migrants have the right to health care, but there are numerous examples of migrants receiving insufficient health care or being denied it entirely.

Sweden: Red Cross defends migrants’ rights

When a Latin American woman holding a permanent residence permit in Sweden recently visited her home country she was shocked to see the state of her diabetic mother. Not only did she appear undernourished, she also had ulcers on her legs; a sure sign of inadequate care. The daughter was left with no choice but to take her mother back with her to Sweden to make sure that she was well cared for.

This story is one example of how someone would come to Sweden and stay without a residence permit. According to estimates, Sweden is currently hosting 35,000 undocumented migrants.

There are many other stories and reasons, some are rejected asylum seekers who have decided to go underground. Many enter the country illicitly to escape danger, or are in search for a job and a better life. Lacking other options, some use human trafficking networks to get there.

In most countries, undocumented migrants are ‘outlaws’ without any rights. In Sweden, the Red Cross is one of the most vocal civil society players fighting to ensure some basic humanitarian rights.

“For the Red Cross, it is clear that all people must have access to healthcare on equal terms. Through our daily work, we see how children and adults are suffering unnecessarily because often they cannot access the treatment and care they need,” says Ingela Holmertz, Swedish Red Cross’ National Director.

“Access to healthcare cannot be a tool to control migration. Access to healthcare is a human right,” she adds. I

n parallel with providing healthcare and other services, raising awareness and advocating for a change in legislation has been a major goal for the Red Cross in Sweden. One result has been that a new law introduced on 1 July 2013 now assures undocumented migrants the same legal rights as asylum seekers, such as access to subsidized healthcare that cannot be deferred.

“The Swedish Red Cross welcomes the new law as a step in the right direction, but emphasizes that all people in Sweden should have equal access to healthcare,” Ingela Holmertz says.

Even with the change of law, Swedish Red Cross still deals with situations where undocumented migrants have been denied the treatment they are entitled to. “This illustrates another challenge – concerned authorities need to adapt their regulations and routines to provide equal and proper treatment,” Ingela Holmertz explains.

As a result of the economic crisis in Europe, in addition to the 35,000 undocumented migrants, Sweden has received a large number of people from across the EU looking for work. Unfortunately, many of them

end up living on the streets and without means to support themselves. Large numbers of them also face the same challenges as undocumented migrants and come to the Red Cross for help and advice.



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