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People's Journey

The challenge of forced displacement and survival Migration

Margarita Puerto Gomez's picture

The World Bank’s Social Development Department (SDV) and Migration and Remittances Unit hosted a brown bag lunch (BBL) on state fragility, forced displacement, and survival migration on September 21, 2010. Dr. Alexander Betts from the University of Oxford presented a compelling argument on the need for innovative institutional approaches to displacement and forced migration as a development challenge. In today’s world of internal conflicts, state and societal fragility, and climate-related threats to food security, constant movements of people are not only associated with political persecution (“refugees”) or the mere desire to improve livelihoods (“economic migrants”), but also with a concept called “survival migration.” According to Dr Betts, this concept refers to people who are forced to move outside of their countries of origin because of an existential threat to their liberty, security, or livelihood systems.  Such people do not fall within the existing conventions and agreements related to displaced people. Case studies conducted in Angola, Botswana, among others, illustrate that these migrants are extremely vulnerable groups and that their human rights are often violated in host countries.

Home Again

Dilip Ratha's picture

   Photo © Dilip Ratha/ World Bank
I was in Sindhekela (India) last August. "Home again," as Jason DeParle put it after our last trip to Sindhekela together. It was hot and humid. There were more mosquitoes than I have ever seen. But with the monsoon came a season of festivity. For the first time in decades I was home for Ganesh Puja and Nuakhai.

Ganesh Puja offers homage to the Hindu God of wisdom, so wise that He has the head of an elephant. When I visited my school, I noticed that unlike other years, the students did not install the statue of Ganesh inside a classroom. A few days earlier, an old beam supporting the roof had come crashing down while a class was in progress. Miraculously no one was hurt - thanks to Lord Ganesh! But they did not take another chance, and installed the statue on the veranda.