Council on Foreign Relations
New York, NY
JUDITH RODIN: Good morning. Let me welcome everyone. Thank you, although it’s not really for me to welcome you to the Council on Foreign Relations, but I’m delighted to do so. I’m Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation. And we’re delighted to be the cosponsor of this—what we know will be a very important and interesting event—a great discussion of the global dimensions and implications of international migration.
When Kofi Annan helped launch the Global Commission on International Migration nearly two years ago, he observed that migration is as old as humanity, and certainly that’s true. As we gather this morning in a city in a nation made up of the sons and daughters of immigrants—a nation, of course, that will continue to be enriched in the future by new generations of immigrants—we know that this is self-evident.
At the same time, migration is one of the least understood and maybe, currently, one of the more contentious policy issues facing governments, institutions, communities and neighborhoods. Migration and its many dimensions highlight the fault lines of our increasingly global and interconnected world. Today’s unprecedented flows of people across borders, combined with the jobs, the money and the cultural practices that flow with them, raise new questions and new debates around issues of national identity; around notions of economic security; and in our post- 9/11 world, around issues of terrorism and homeland protection.
Policymakers who are wrestling with these issues need to be able to navigate—navigate quite easily between the delicate interplay of moral and social norms and political and economic realities. And their deliberations need an environment of more informed and more reasoned public discourse to enable thoughtful solutions.
We at the Rockefeller Foundation are delighted, as I said, to be working in this area and to cosponsor today’s event. We’re committed to advancing new knowledge and local innovation focused on the poor, including those who cross borders. We are currently doing work to understand the impact on America and on Mexico of the immigrants who move back and forth quite readily between America and Mexico—the impact on America, Mexico cities and towns and peoples.
We’re working to understand the impact of the refugees working within countries in the greater Mekong Sub-Region. And we intend to study, going forward, the unprecedented movement of people in developing nations to cities from the rural areas, which by 2020 will make our world more urban than rural for the first time in history.
In short, although migration isn’t new, what is new is how it’s changing in this rapidly globalizing world. The Global Commission on International Migration has examined this question. Their report is detailed, comprehensive, forward-thinking and pragmatic. The commission relied on a diverse and global panel of advisors, experts, a secretariat, commissioners and co-chairs. I’m very fortunate that one of the co-chairs, Dr. Mamphela Ramphele, serves on the board of the Rockefeller Foundation. I personally have benefitted, as all my colleagues at Rockefeller have, from Mamphela’s great mind. And we’re privileged to have her and Jan Karlsson here joining us this morning to talk to you about the commission’s work.
I’d now like to turn the floor over to the presider of today’s program, a man who for decades has reported, interpreted and witnessed many of the world’s most significant events. Tom Brokaw served for more than two decades as anchor of NBC Nightly News, consistently the highest-rated evening news program in the United States. His evening broadcast to millions of Americans is the capstone of a distinguished career as an award-winning journalist and noted author.
It is my pleasure to introduce—probably the man who needs no introduction—Tom Brokaw. (Applause.)
TOM BROKAW: Thank you very much. I always think of Judith as Madam President when she was president of Penn. She lowered standards just enough to award me an honorary doctorate when I was there. And while I was at commencement, I was talking with some of the student body and early in her tenure, the student body president had challenged her on something. And she gave him what I always thought was a memorable response in the best academic tradition. She looked at him and said, get a life. (Laughter.) It brought the debate to a hasty conclusion.
The issue that brings us here today is one of the most vexing in the world today. It also reflects the new economic opportunities in the global economy and the political freedoms that we have all been witness to. But it’s out there and it’s growing and it’s complex. And as Judith indicated, it touches all the parts of our lives. It’s a political issue; it’s a cultural issue; it’s an ethnic issue; it’s a security issue.
So we’re very pleased today to have two people who have been the co-chair of the commission—the global commission—that Kofi Annan put together at the United Nations. And they have spent a good deal of time traveling the world—five different regional hearings they have conducted around the world. They’ve been in touch with the private sector, with members of parliament, with members of various migration and refugee organizations. And they’re going to share with us today a kind of overview.
Now, those of you who come to the council sessions know the rules. These must be turned off. We’d like you to resist being a CrackBerry addict during the course of the next hour and a half as well. If you could leave that in your pocket—your e-mail will still be there at 11:00 this morning.
This session is on the record. We’ll hear from Dr. Ramphele and from Jan Karlsson, and then we’ll have a session up here.
As Judith indicated, Dr. Ramphele is from South Africa. She’s a physician and an anthropologist. She was the first woman and the first black South African to hold the position of vice chancellor of the University of Cape Town in that very felicitous setting in the southern part of her home country. In addition to a medical degree and a Ph.D. in social anthropology, she holds a business degree in administration and diplomas in tropical health and hygiene and public health. And in her spare time, she’s been devoting her attention to the issue that brings us here today.
The Honorable Jan Karlsson is a former Swedish minister for development, cooperation, migration and asylum policy and a former president of the European court of auditors of the European Union. He has a long and distinguished background as a civil servant in his country. He served as secretary of state, responsible for cooperation between Scandinavian countries and as secretary of state at the Ministry of Finance. He’s also been the chief negotiator and adviser on economic, financial and budgetary matters to the secretary to the social democratic group in the Swedish parliament; and served as director general at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
And as he came in here today, I pointed out to him the name, Karlsson, is well known in the Great Plains, obviously, where we had a lot of Swedish immigrants. And it is the family name of the family that now owns, among other things, Radisson Hotels all over the world. So we encourage him to invoke his name whenever he shows up at a Radisson, hoping he can get the family discount.
Minister Karlsson and Dr. Ramphele will make a joint appearance, as I understand it. They would like to appear here jointly, and then we will come on stage. I’d like to have you come forward now.
DR. MAMPHELA RAMPHELE: May I first thank the Council of Foreign Relations and the Rockefeller Foundation and my friend Judith for the generosity of jointly hosting this event. We are delighted that you have given us opportunity to present the work of the Global Commission on International Migration.
The commission has had a very busy week. And some of us battling jet lag, we have been to the United Nations on Wednesday to present the report to the Secretary General, Kofi Annan; the president of the General Assembly; and to a number of member states at the United Nations. Yesterday, we were in New York—my old stomping grounds at the World Bank—and meeting and having a conversation with the new president of the World Bank, President Paul Wolfowitz. And we had a very broad and warm discussion around the issues the report raises and more importantly, the practical implications of what we are proposing.
It is now our great pleasure to be in the Big Apple and to have the opportunity to engage with members of academia, the corporate sector and civil society. I do not need to remind anybody here, as the introducers have already indicated, about the iconic and importance of this issue to New York and the role New York has played in the history of international migration. Indeed, two of the city’s great landmarks—the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island—provide a potent reminder of the expectations, achievements and the hardships entailed in the migratory process whenever and wherever it takes place.
As we point out in our report, international migration has been a consistent and particularly influential feature of human history. I’m pleased I am going to be staying for free now at the Radisson Hotels around the world. I just need to tell them that my friend here is an heir to the empire.
Given its long history, why is it that international migration is commanding such attention today, as symbolized by the establishment of this commission? I would like to suggest that there are five principal reasons why the issue of international migration is of such current concern.
The first is the growing scope and scale of international migration. It is very striking that there are some 200 million migrants in the world today. Roughly the equivalent of the fifth most populous country in the world, Brazil. Women now constitute almost half of all migrants. What is more, the number of migrants has more than doubled in just the last 30 years. The commission has concluded that this trend seems certain to continue for the foreseeable future as a result of what we refer to as the three Ds—the dynamic between the disparities of development, demography and the democratic process in different parts of the world. Migration is driven by very powerful economic, social, political forces associated with civilization.
The second reason is the increasing complexity of international migration. The traditional distinction between countries of origin, countries of destination and transit is not clear anymore. Many countries, if not most, are all three at the same time. And we—when we look at the migrants themselves, categories such as economic migrant, refugees, migrants with irregular status, and migrants seeking family reunion also become blurred.
Third, international migration is inextricably linked with other key public policy issues, such as development, trade and aid, state and human security and human rights. We all live in an interconnected world. And as a result of the globalization process, states, societies and economies are becoming increasingly integrated. Action in one policy domain impacts upon and is affected by action in another.
The fourth reason why international migration is now right at the top of the global public policy agenda it is found in its controversial nature. From the beginning of our work 18 months ago, we have been struck by the intense, heated and polarized nature of the debate on international migration. Migrants have been increasingly associated with negative images—images of migrants as terrorists, criminals or people who threaten job security of citizens of various countries. As the current discussion of—on international migration and on migration reform in this country indicates, this is a problem everywhere.
The fifth and final reason is, indeed, one of our key findings in that the international community is failing to capitalize on the opportunities and to meet the challenges associated with international migration. You need look no further than New York—the epitome of what we call a global city—to realize just how much of an impact migrants can have on economic growth in the countries to which they migrate. Furthermore, migrant remittances were estimated by the World Bank in 2004 to be over $200 billion.
If we accept that on average, a migrant remits something like 10 percent of their wage, they are really generating added values to the tune of around $2 trillion. Instead of us celebrating that, today migrants are not able in many countries to realize their full potential. They are marginalized; they are excluded from societies in which they are settled. Our report addresses the importance of a two-way adaptive process to ensure the full integration of migrants in society and thus end their isolation and alienation.
We believe that migration can and must benefit all states and stakeholders—including migrants themselves. What Paul Wolfowitz yesterday called the win-win-win situation.
My co-chair, Jan Karlsson, will now expand on what we believe can be done to make this a real win-win-win situation.
JAN O. KARLSSON: When you—thank you, Mamphela. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for listening to us.
When you read this report, you will find that the general approach to the phenomenon of migration and to the role of being a migrant is to state simultaneously that migrants belong to the most vulnerable groups in this world and at the same that the greatest mistake that we could do was to see the migrants as victims. Instead, we have chosen, you can almost see an individual as a victim, but you always come to a point where the role of victim has to be replaced by the role of a purposeful individual wanting to build his or her own future.
We have chosen to go directly to the second stage, even if we know that of the 200 million migrants in the world, at least 10 million are forced migrants—I mean refugees at the border. But still, we have been concentrated on the road of the purposeful migrant, taking a decision to try to build a better future for him and or herself, him and her family.
We have been put before the question, how come that in a world that has liberalized to such a large extent the movement of capital and goods, the difference between potential growth or potential labor productivity and actual is widening. This paradox could be ascribed—we don’t know that for sure, but it could be ascribed—to the irrational way in which labor is being used as a productive factor and in which laboring, working people have a chance to do their share. And this is what lies behind this win-win-win situation that Paul Wolfowitz talked about yesterday—how to make use of all this power, all this force, all this endeavor in individual human beings all over the world. And one of the solutions to this that people might wish to choose is to migrate. And that’s why we—one of the principles that we think should be laid down, to be a—(inaudible)—principle for all nations when they are handling this, is a set of common principles.
And principle number one is that we want to achieve and to make states, governments, mankind achieve a situation where people migrate out of their own decisions and not forced to.
I’m going to say a few words about the role of governments in this because the paradox of it—eternal problem of migration—is that it’s a global thing run by local decision. The decision to allow a person into a country is taken by that country’s government, and it will remain that way. We have one big exception to that, and that is the Geneva Convention of Refugees, then the supra-national legal system takes over state sovereignty. In all other cases, it is the state decides this.
But the forces that Mamphela talked about, they are universal; they are global. And they work to integrate the person or to make the person have the possibility to integrate is not taken by government; it’s taken in the working place, at schools, in the community. This makes migration extremely difficult and complex to handle. So because the forces are in some place and the decision is in another.
It’s also integrated in all other—(inaudible)—of policy, and I will now run very quickly through what we are trying to cover in this report. We are making recommendations on the labor market, where we have questioned the while distinction of skilled or unskilled labor and where we have brought up also the idea of temporary migration—not a guest worker system; we have seen enough of that. But really to try to encounter the wish of people to come and see the world, work somewhere, go somewhere else, learn and go back. And we see in Asia normally migration is seen as a temporary arrangement, not a lifelong arrangement.
We are, as Mamphela hinted at, making very strong recommendations on migration and development and the figures that Mamphela quoted shows what an enormous, almost dramatic link we have between the phenomenon of migration and the growth and development process and that migration could be used positively as one of the means, together with others on poverty reduction.
Irregular migration—just one word, we are absolutely convinced that national security and human security is two phases of the same phenomenon and that we couldn’t make them into some kind of a dilemma or a contradictory phenomenon, but that we should see one, the protection of the individual woman, who is now traffic—(inaudible)—is the other side of the protection of the nation. Both have—(inaudible)—to end up in the security of the individual human being. We are talking about migrants in society. We are a little skeptical to the word integration because very often, when people talk about integration, they don’t mean integration, they mean you should be like me.
But we are dealing—and the basic thought that is brought forward in our recommendations concerning migrants in society is that it is a multicultural, multinational purpose that it should bring about the implementation of the human rights that we are so proud of and that we have ratified and also that the migrants as a group are vulnerable, and we have to take this into account. That’s why we are dedicating also a chapter—this chapter—to a large extent to migrant women and migrant children.
We are not proposing a new convention. We think that the big thing today—we could always get a new convention, we have many—many more than we have implemented. So the signal that we are sending to governments, to regional organizations and to global organizations—implement—(inaudible). Do what you have promised to do. If what has been constructed by mankind by will—way of the core conventions of human rights, if that were to be implemented today and tomorrow, the world would be completely different.
Finally, when we know all these things and when so many people know all these things and when you recognize what I am saying now as reasonable, why hasn’t it been done and why hasn’t it given the results that we haven’t seen? Because of the lack of coherence, of coordination, of cooperation.
States act as if no other states exist when they’re regulate migration. This is Oliver Cromwell’s 1651 Navigation Act in International Trade, and now we’ve got the WTO. We have a long road to go because when this government or any other government sits down, it’s only one government. And we say you have all the responsibilities; you have all the recommendations; and you have the right to decide, but you’ll have to take into account that mathematically, it’s absolutely clear, that an act of cross-border migration concerns at least two countries. And that has to be taken into, and that’s why we recommend a set of principles that could be shared—a common vision that could be shared—by all countries so there’s a solid base for collaboration, cooperation and international cooperation.
Finally, we are absolutely sure that this means that coherence begins at home. The criticism that is directed towards the global organizations—international organizations—does not begin there. It begins in the member states who are the owners of the international organization. So that’s why we are proposing—we are not proposing a new, big, beautiful organization. We have to see to it that the present ones are reformed. But we are proposing that the organizations working with migration are putting their act together in a global migration facility that could make best possible use of what these countries or these organizations already command in the form of exports and resources.
Instead of competing with one another, they should work together.
Easily said, more difficult to do. But we have proposed a first step to bring these organizations together to create such a mechanism that could also build capacity because no country has the capacity today—maybe one or two, but not the other ones. So all the countries of the world have the capacity really to form a reasonable and well-functioning migration policy. That rests to be done.
So these tough challenges to government is the core of the recommendations—the 34 recommendations of this report. And now we are looking interestedly to everybody who is going to implement it when we close down this commission, and thanks for a great job that we have been allowed to do, and thanks for your attention to me and Mamphela.
Thank you very much.
BROKAW: Those were two very provocative opening comments and leave us with a lot of questions. So let me just begin if I can by seeing if we can establish some historic context in the 20th century and the early part of the 21st century.
Where does this current wave of migration stand? You and I were talking earlier about the Scandinavians who came here and the great wave of migrants who came to America in the early part of the 20th century. We had post-World War II and then an enormous movement of people. The collapse of the Soviet Union triggered another massive migration and the end of Vietnam, Southeast Asia. We obviously have been witness in the past few years of what has been going on the Islamic world and especially here in this hemisphere between the north and the south.
Where do we stand at the moment in a quantitative sense, really, and what’s different about this migration as opposed to those?
KARLSSON: We are talking about the three Ds—the difference in development, the development degree, which is a very strong push-and-pull factor; and the difference in demography, the labor-rich, resource-poor countries surrounding the rich, aging societies; and the third is democracy, which stands in this case for both democracies of free society, but also governments in general.
And these three factors are today coming about in movement that in absolute numbers is larger than any time in history. The share of world population on the move was bigger in the beginning of the 20th century. But in absolute numbers, the figure has never been higher than now. We are 200 million. It’s the fifth nation in the ,world you could say, and it’s also moving quickly ahead. It’s expanding; it’s increasing very fast.
And these general factors, we think, are the most important ones because they work all the time. And then we have the crisis could make it acute from time to time.
But there a permanent special on these three Ds.
BROKAW: And the motivation for migration, Dr. Ramphele, in this vast body that we’re talking about, how much of it is political oppression, how much of it is economic and how much of it is driven by environmental facts like the drought or the tsunami in Southeast Asia?
Can we divide it up, do we know?
RAMPHELE: I don’t think you can really quantify it up to a fine point around something. It’s the nexus between those sectors.
Take my old region—Sub-Saharan Africa. It’s a chronically poor—it’s the only region in the world that has not shown the benefits of the globalization in anything. The World Bank estimates that the number of people living on a dollar a day have doubled in the last 10 years in Sub-Saharan Africa, whereas for the rest of the world, more people have come out of poverty than at any time in the last 50 years.
And the reason in a sense is historic, that, in fact, colonialism you could say, well—(inaudible)—it was bad investment because it neglects that investment in human capital of Africans or whatever number of people or whatever region in the world where they were colonized. But the consequences, also, of modern political phenomenon, such as the Cold War—we know that international aid agencies became also political agents for the contending forces.
And so we sit today with a highly indebted, extremely poor, badly governed part of the world, which is the place where I come from. But turning to my country also is an example of what can be done and what that generates as a—(inaudible).
The post-Apartheid South Africa has become a magnet for all of the people in Sub-Saharan Africa who see the economic opportunities, better governance—(inaudible)—and therefore better opportunities for them as individuals and as families.
At the same time, the South African government is young. It doesn’t have the coherence; it doesn’t have the capacity to manage it’s own—(inaudible)—let alone deal with this multitude who are seeing this as the promised land.
BROKAW: So when does the South African government begin to push back? And when does it begin to be a different kind of a crisis for not just South Africa, but for Sub-Saharan Africa if there’s no place to go within the continent?
RAMPHELE: We are very fortunate in that the current president of South Africa has a vision of an African union—the new partnership for Africa’s development. So in spite of the pressure to focus on the home base, there is a vision of South Africa as an engine of development for the rest of the continent.
And so, from a public policy point of view, the South African government is very generous in its intentions—very different from, again, what happens in practice, because the officials that help to manage migration are not well trained; they’re not well equipped; they don’t even know about human rights, even though the South African constitution is one of the best in terms of a human rights foundation.
But having a culture of human rights takes capacity. And so we are somewhere in a very uncomfortable transition period. There is xenophobia among the population who see migrants as a threat to their own welfare, whereas, in fact, one of the things we would like to encourage, particularly this audience to do, is to help us to explode the myth, because the migrants who come to South Africa are not taking away anybody’s jobs. They’re, in fact, helping to grow the South African economy. But people sitting in the streets don’t know that.
BROKAW: And flip side of that, Mr. Karlsson, is that in this country, for example, the great migration that we have from Central and South America, a part of it that is not fully appreciated here, I think, is the transfer payments that the people send back in the way of $50.00 mail orders to their home villages and so on. Were you able to get a handle on the size of that and the importance of that to the economies from—in those countries from which the people have left?
KARLSSON: Yeah, there are two aspects to this. One is the aspect of the individual migrant, which is extremely important. I mean, these figures are steadily rising. It’s regressive. The lesser you pay—you are paid, the more you pay. And if you look at it from a gender point of view, women are remitting more proportionately than men. And if you look at the other end of the receivers, women tend to spend their remittances in a more productive way than men. This is good, solid World Bank figures, by the way. So this is one—this is from the migrant’s point of view.
From the growth point-of-view there has been—not the least in the part of the world where I come from—from Europe—some kind of a hope that this could be a way to circumvent the Monterrey consensus. This is good money that we are giving to the Africans. We, hmm?
And there we are very strong. We have to make absolutely clear that this is these migrants’ money. And if it’s going to be placed in a productive manner, it could be by being linked to other very successful experiments in development. Small-scale, micro-credit systems have been very safe and have given great results.
If you could link remittances of collateral in a micro-credit kind of shaped development, they could be one of those virtual circles, that we have seen on a larger scale in Southern India. We all know what Bangalore means after the last presidential election campaign in this country, don’t we? So, these two things.
The third thing which is important in this—maybe the most important—is to know how much of this money that people are sending back home is paid to those who distribute it. How much is leaking? It’s on the average, the figure that we have is 17 percent. We have absolutely obscene examples of much higher fees. When I go to the cash machine, I pay a percent of something, and I am almost angry with the bank for that. These people are paying—the poorest workers in this country—are paying 50 to 20 percent to send money home to their near and dear. And that, if we were to do something concretely immediately, it’s to bring down that. And it’s possible to do. We know that, and we are pointing to good examples how you can do that.
And this country’s also starting to achieve results in this in the dialogue between the U.S. and Mexico. And this is also one of the things that we have begun to work with very hard when we have now linked up very strongly with the World Bank.
BROKAW: Well, give some instruments—some ideas—for dealing with that, with that very issue, an important issue.
KARLSSON: You shouldn’t say that. I was also minister for development. I could speak now for two hours. (Chuckles.)
No, I mean, first, credit—debt relief is beautiful, and we all love it. (The value ?) is to send taxpayers’ money back to banks that invested them once, you know. Now, see to it that we build up, invest in good credit systems in the recipient countries first.
Secondly, see to that governments from remitting countries—host countries—make agreements—framework agreements—to see to it that the recipient countries also take action to bring in competition between banks, bring a set of framework rules, so that they can play along the same rules and normal banking practices can be used because the technology is in place. The instruments are in place. We know how to do these things.
The remitting individuals have, since the 18th Century, known this. We have an—(inaudible)—I think it’s an Indian town, isn’t it,—(inaudible)—Hawala, which means that you can make—if you have established a confident relationship, you can remit without costs or almost without cost.
So there are a whole set. And we are putting recommendations to that and we are going to develop that, and we hope that the World Bank will take a lead in this to give concrete—and I’ve also written into the development bill of my country that we will take concrete measures to bring down these costs. It probably means billions to these poor families.
BROKAW: Minister Karlsson talked about the need to have regional compacts and more government-to-government cooperation on the issue of migration. George Rupp is here today who represents the International Rescue Committee. It’s an organization that I’m involved with as well.
What about the role of the refugee organization—the NGOs in the world—and what they ought to be looking at now in terms of their relationship—A, with governments and with each other, based on your findings?
RAMPHELE: We attach a lot of importance to the role of NGOs and particularly international organizations, particularly in the light of what we point out, are clear gaps in the capacity of all governments—except perhaps Canada and Australia that seem to have developed a more integrated approach. The rest of the world—including your dear country—they can do with some capacity building in this area to enable different parts of government to work together so that we can develop more coherent politicies implement appropriately, monitor and evaluate how they’re doing.
And we have found that where there are (access ?) NGOs—whether it’s in the refugee area or in the general migration area—and where the governments are willing and open to working in collaboration with these NGOs, we get better outcome. Faith-based organization does—this is where it’s very important that in our commission we have Bishop Dimarzio, who has played an extremely important role here in the Big Apple to help the authorities to manage these phenomenon better.
And the issue of the international refugee problem—our first thought, with the changing and with the complexity of the boundaries between who is an economic migrant and who is a refugee—all the more reason why there needs to be this cooperation. And we find that it is absolutely essential that governments, although they have the sovereignty, they have to take advantage of these international organizations to help them to build the capacity to do proper implementation and monitoring and evaluation.
BROKAW: You were dealing with the here and now, for the most part, but you were also trying to project ahead so that you could cope with what we know is going to be an ever-evolving problem.
In the course of your international survey of this problem and in the hearings that you had with a wide variety of NGOs and governments and other kinds organizations, what alarmed you about the trends in migration? What caught you off guard as you went around the world and got your attention to say, we—if we don’t do something about that now—very shortly—it’s going to be a much larger problem than we could have anticipated? Anything?
KARLSSON: Well, being a European, of course, the enormity of the problem of what was once called ( Chad ?) hypocrisy in our work is, of course, alarming. The fact that we tend in my part of the world—and not only in my part of the world—to run the economy with the help of millions of migrants that have come irregularly to our countries, and at the same time, our political leaders, of which I was a mini-leader, at least, stand up and say, we’re going to kick them out.
I didn’t say that, but I mean, this is what we tried to—to turn a blind eye to the whole phenomenon. I mean, that is alarming. That is the sort of schizophrenia that we cannot live with and which is the breeding ground for the Le Pens of this world.
So this is—in the immediate future, we’ll have to tackle that. And that is to kill the myths. I mean, that is to clarify what has been said.
Chairman Burrow of the ICFTU and our member, likes to quote, "there’s one way that if the illegal or irregular migrants were kicked out of California, the Californian economy would die before breakfast. And if that happened to the United Kingdom, London would go down by lunchtime." And to get this to increase consciousness there.
On the other hand, to put the search lights all over the world to what terrible things happen—particularly to migrant women. We are not naming and shaming in this report. We don’t think that that is a very productive way. But when going around and looking and seeing people—all the NGOs of the these countries—everywhere trying to get the search light on what is happening. The traffic in the women is not only a criminal act, it takes place also under the eyes of governments, to places who don’t want to discuss even the world migration or the world’s human rights.
And if these people stand up one day and say, we don’t take this any longer, anything could happen. And this alarms me a lot that there are so many things that we don’t talk about.
And when Mamphela and I are now being freed from this official and courteous position of being commission co-chairs. I think that we will have a nice time to bring up one or two things that has to be seen. And we hope to have good support by the NGOs of this world. And with Mary Robinson on the commission, I am pretty confident that we will help, also, to bring these things, because that is the real—maybe even more serious than the European-African hypocrisy—is what happens to migrants.
BROKAW: But why do you have to be unhinged from the U.N. commission to speak out on these issues? Why not do it in the context of the commission?
KARLSSON: Well, you know, we are trying to tell member states’ governments that you are not only powerful, you’re also responsible. You have obligations. And if we went in brutally to tell them—I’ve been a member of such a group—then people will just stop to say, we get out of this. And then they will go to the United Nations General Assembly and say, stop it. And we will not talk about it any longer.
So we have to—every NGO, personally in this room, knows this. You have to take it carefully and step by step. And we have done that, too. There are things, obviously, that we haven’t said in this report. And I am angry about it, but if we let anger take over, you get stuck—you make a good speech and it’s over.
RAMPHELE: Tom, can I point to something else which alarmed us, which I think this audience, particularly, would be in a good position to try and help us address, which is the challenges facing the least-developed and poor countries that are not competitive in the global labor market and are losing nurses, teachers, doctors at an alarming rate. And this comes against the background of the poor—(inaudible).
We, as the global development community have been giving to—particularly to countries in Sub-Saharan Africa where there was a disinvestment from higher education, from science and technology. And the few people who are trained at enormous cost by these countries, because of these dynamics that we’re talking about, obviously doctors and nurses and teachers are free to migrate. But we have, again, incoherence in the sense that the same countries that donate large amounts of money to meet the millennium development goals in the South are the very same countries that actively go out to recruit nurses, teachers and doctors to fill their own gaps in the labor market.
We believe that there are other solutions that need to be found. In the short term, we are recommending co-investment. And we’ve got good examples of the U.K. and India doing that with regards to training of nurses. But in the longer term—and this is why our meeting at the World Bank yesterday was so important—that migration has to be imbedded in national development plans of both developed and developing countries so that people can plan in advance—how many nurses are you going to need? How many teachers are you going to need? Don’t go poaching when you haven’t invested and—because we decimate those economies. But at the same time, I’m saying to my fellow Africans—and particularly our leaders—treat these people with greater respect so that they can see career prospects on the home front.
BROKAW: And what about the role of global financial institutions and global corporations like Citibank, the company that owns NBC, General Electric, that has interest all over the world, the Third World and their responsibility, their responsiveness to this issue, the kind of leverage that they can bring on the governments and hiring practices, perhaps?
KARLSSON: This is one of the most positive and fascinating perspectives that we have come across. Mamphela and I learned quickly that this idea of a trade-off between governments and large corporations to bring in lots of migrants when Europe doesn’t have people who will stand there working—this will never happen, because it’s about competition. These big labor-big government agreements don’t exist any longer. The global corporations have become vagabonds. They just go.
So that was the first finding. The second finding was when we linked up with large corporations and with our human resources people, we found that they have come a large way—a long way, sorry—second language—a long way to grasp the future dangers and opportunities. And we also found when we went to the World Economic Forum, together with Farenburrough (ph), among others, that the labor organization people—not out in the—(inaudible)—floor, but their leaders and the large corporation people are beginning to converge in their view.
So what happened in the International Labor Conference last year was that the employees—they have all the three parties, as you know. The employers and the employee organizations had come to a conclusion that, then, the government people arrive in that time that they come perhaps too far, because they are beginning to build up on joint international action on migration. And the governments are not ready for that yet. So the whole international labor conference became a watering down of what these two forces had already convened about.
So one of the most encouraging things that we are seeing is, a huge interest among corporations to come into dialogue with governments and that there they see a lot of common interests with the labor organizations. And this we are pointing out strongly.
So it’s not that things will be solved because governments are getting nervous because people are not there to do the work in the country. It is because the big labor and big business are finding that there is a common way ahead to see to it that we will make their world labor market function better. And here we are going to have this afternoon in the University Club, a meeting with representatives of large corporations where we will discuss, where do we go from now, because we have, parallel to the work of the report, been relating very well to large corporations, not the least in this country.
BROKAW: To the audience for questions if we can. A reminder, we’d like you state your name. And do we have microphones? We do have.
Yes, right at the back of the room there, we have somebody, I think.
QUESTIONER: (Through translator.) Good morning to everyone. Thank you for listening to us. We bring the voice of migrants, refugees and displaced persons to this room. And we want to recognize the historic step taken by the commission of recognizing that no human being is illegal.
I’d just like to leave you with one question, which is, what would this country be like and where would its wealth come from without our labor and our exploitation and our contributions to this wealth that surrounds us this morning?
We are not criminals; we are not terrorists; we are not dangerous. We work; we study; we live; and we seek to improve the lives of all together in this world. That’s why we’re here.
BROKAW: Thank you very much. I think it’s important to put a face on the issues that bring us here today. It would also be helpful, I think, if we knew where you came from and what the organization is that you represent and how you got here?
QUESTIONER: I represent the association of women immigrants and refugees of Peruvian origin based in Argentina. I came all the way from Argentina for this meeting. And I was originally a businesswoman in my country, in Peru. I am a political refugee from terrorism in Peru, who has had to make a new life in Peru, and I haven’t seen my family for 12 years. I cannot go back to my home country, but I came all the way to here to bring my voice and that of my fellows.
BROKAW: Thanks --
QUESTIONER: Thank you. God bless you all. And thank you. We hope all of you towards all migrants for what we contribute.
BROKAW: Thank you very much for that expression.
Right here. Let’s get a microphone, if we can.
QUESTIONER: Thank you. I’m Aristide Zollberg, the Newsgroup for Social Research, and I do research on immigration policy and integration policy in Europe and North America.
What I’m wondering about is—especially in Europe—reactions to what people claim to be refusal on the—resistance on the part of current, contemporary immigrants to being integrated. I mean, there is a tendency, in part because it’s just easier to retain contacts with the old country because you can fly now as against spending months crossing by ship—so people—and you can stay on e-mail with your country of origin. But I don’t think it means that people are unwilling to be integrated. It’s just an impression that governments have. And that’s a—it’s a big issue in Europe in particular.
KARLSSON: Well, what we have come across when we have tried to understand the drama of integration in different parts of the world is that migration, as a concept, is seen differently in different parts. In most Asian countries that we have been looking into, migration is seen as a temporary—sometimes long-term, but temporary—that you go somewhere, and you work, very often without your family, by the way. But you return. You want to die in your home country, whereas in countries like Canada or Australia, which has the most developed approach to migration in their national policies, it’s definitely—to become a Canadian or an Australian is the goal. And their integration is a number-one objective. And there also, the non-governmental organizations play an enormous role in taking over the work—the concrete work—of integration, which is not very well done by authorities. It’s much better done by organizations.
So you’ll have this enormous span of concepts. In Europe, I would say that the picture is more blurred for the reason that public policies seem to presuppose that people come to stay for life. And the constructions are such that they have to, because they can’t go back home. For instance, we are proposing portable social rights—that once you have been working together, if you go to a European country in form of pension rights and other social rights, you should be able to bring home to your home country if you want to return. But that is something very often not possible. So you have to stay to get your pension.
What we learned when Spain became a member of the European Union was that all the other Europeans were very nervous that the Spaniards were coming by millions to take over their jobs. But what happened in reality was that many people that had—who had already come to France and Germany went back to Spain when it was legal to go back and forth, when they had the right to do so. They could go home to grandma and—Saragosa and look after her.
So what we now want to do is to open more than one gate so that people could have more of a free choice, because we don’t know what the migrants want. We just presuppose that they want to go there for life. And that’s why we also want to open the door of temporary migration and co-investment and collaboration between countries. And we also want to stress the meaning of the importance of the diaspora in the perspective that you are mentioning yourself because diaspora and diaspora organizations—not always, but very often—could play a very important role in tying together the old home country and the new home country and make the situation more flexible because, as the Canadians say, the problem with temporary migration is that it very often becomes permanent. And the problem with permanent migration is that it could be temporary.
So what we tried to, at least, was to open more flexibility and more possibilities so that the individual migrant could make his or her own choice.
BROKAW: And how do you institutionalize that? I mean, how do you get governments to acknowledge that that could relieve some of the pressures that they’re feeling from a political point of view, as well as from an economic point of view?
KARLSSON: Well, first of all, general coherence—different ministries should do the same thing. I mean, now they are—(inaudible).
Secondly, learn from the countries that have taken steps in this direction. Can I mentioned Canada and Australia where they are, in fact, coming further than the rest of us. And Australia, for instance, being very skeptical to temporary migration, that—(inaudible)—are now opening up for that. And they try over and over again new concepts. And collaborations between countries is very important. Regional collaboration could be and is the larger framework, but we want these regional processes that are going on to be more forcful and also bring in the economic perspective because that is so important and then create, also, the social infrastructure. I mean, really try to make not the welfare state, but the welfare individual, that the social rights that you have is not linked to the territory, but to the working person himself.
QUESTIONER: Thank you. I am Joseph Chamie at the Center for Migration Studies.
Let me begin by congratulating the commission for their work—hard work. Getting so many different members of the commission to agree on a report is an achievement in itself.
As you know, many commissions—U.N. national commissions—have been established and have issued reports on a variety of topics. And in fact, I’ve heard Tom Brokaw many times on the Nightly News announce these commissions in their reports.
My question this morning in brief is, what’s next? And as a demographer, in particular, I’d like to know—if we meet here in five years—2010—how will we be able to measure concretely if there’s been any progress in this area of international migration? Thank you.
BROKAW: Let me just, if I may, sharpen the point a little bit. (Chuckles.)
KARLSSON: You may.
BROKAW: When you dealt with the governments and dealt with the NGOs and the interested, was there a great sense of urgency to the point that you thought that you were moving toward some kind of new level of understanding and cooperation and eagerness, if you will, to get on with some of things that you’re going to recommend?
RAMPHELE: We were very encouraged, I think, for the precisely the reason that I set out in my opening remarks. People are becoming more and more aware of the centrality of migration to whatever they’re doing.
Take the World Bank, I mean, only five years ago the World Bank was giving policy advice to countries with absolutely no consideration on the place of migration.
Today, the World Bank has got a large research project. And they are the—really creating a knowledge base, which will help us to understand where we are and where we are progressing to.
Second, they—one of the measures of success is going to be the extent to which countries have embedded migration in their national development plans, particularly poor countries, because they are the most vulnerable in terms of, if they are not going to position themselves well in this globally competitive environment, they’re going to really be even further left behind.
And I also believe that another measure is going to be the extent of cooperation—cooperation at the international agency level. And I was very encouraged by what I heard at the U.N. and what I heard at the World Bank and the consultation Jan and I had before proposing this interagency facility with—we had consultations with each and every head of the institutions that we are proposing here.
And all of them recognize that, in fact, their performance would be enhanced by greater cooperation and collaboration.
And finally, I think another measure can include, such as your expertise, is that data, data, data is a big issue. The fact that people are looking at migrants as criminals—because they are using anecdotal evidence rather than hard data and analysis that inform evidence-based policymaking. And I think another measure of where we—what progress we have done would be the extent to which we have a reasonably good standard of data collection, analysis and using data for policymaking and monitoring, and evaluating what works, what doesn’t work and what lessons can we draw from this.
BROKAW: We have the advantage here today at this—with this issue at the council to have, what they would say in sports terms, a very strong bench; Mary Robinson here as well. And if we could have the microphone up here for Mary Robinson.
MARY ROBINSON: Thank you.
And like our co-chairs, I think all of us as members of the commission are really very appreciative of this opportunity. And I wanted to follow that question that came from the floor about what next because I think we do need the help of the Council on Foreign Relations in this country and, indeed, your expertise generally.
I would agree with Mamphela when she said that individual heads of agencies are enthusiastic about a more coherent approach at the global level, but there is a political sensitivity. It will need the support of governments in the context of what’s happening now in the U.N. And the next step is there will be a high-level segment of the General Assembly next year, a bit like the segment on the Millennium Development Goals this September, and that would be, probably, around 14th, 15th, 16th of September again. And there will be a resolution shortly, and it will need strong support from all sectors—from business, from experts on migration issues, from NGOs, the voices we heard of our friends from Latin America—to say we really want this high-level interagency body now. It might come up on the 28th of this month in the CEB, the overall structure of the U.N. If it did come up there, it would be very good because that would be a necessary step. There isn’t much time.
And the report is also very principled on human rights, which haven’t really been focused on very much so far in our discussion. Chapter five is on a principled approach, and points out that all migrants, whether they’re in a regular situation or whether they’re in an irregular situation, have human rights, and that countries have a responsibility to protect and promote those rights. We ask countries to be more explicit and to pool together their obligations under various charters, make them very clear in immigration offices, in various places where the public are and where migrants are. And there are a number of different ways in which we look for responsibility to make further progress.
And I think that one of the greatest benefits of the report is very simple: we reduced to 88 pages the incredible complexity of international migration. And people read the 88 pages, I think they have a sense of why we could have a win-win, why we can match better supply and demand, why migrants are positive in relation to development. And then we can get rid of some of the negativity, which is getting worse, and the xenophobia and the racism is getting worse.
So it’s more practical what the council can do to help keep the report alive, give it a lot of oxygen, and take the steps that are necessary in the global sense in the U.N. and with governments fulfilling their commitments. And I think that would be very helpful.
BROKAW: Thank you.
Let me just ask you, Minister Karlsson. You, on a couple of occasions this morning, praised the immigration policies of Canada and Australia. In the spirit of the conversation that we just had with Mary Robinson, let me ask you for your evaluation, if you will, of the political dialogue that is going on on these issues in Europe, and particularly in the United States, and how you see the evolution of that, if you’re encouraged by it? It’s an incendiary issue here, as you well know. Some of it is regional and parochial. In California, they see it differently than they do --
KARLSSON: Oh, yeah.
BROKAW:—in New York, for example.
KARLSSON: All politics is local, yeah.
I would say that I think Mamphela and I have seen through—it’s a short period of time—I mean, we have been working in this commission for 18 months—that first of all, we were seeing, where we were studying, we were told by many of those people who understand these things that this was absolutely impossible. We couldn’t do it. We couldn’t say something meaningful in 18 months when these people have been doing it for 30 years without really succeeding.
Secondly, I think that if you compare the situation in Europe today with 18 months ago, the governments there are more willing and more prepared to bring up on the table the whole panorama of migration. When I was the new, in fact, minister for migration, I made my first—got the first month already, and then informal meeting of the ministers on migration, when we talked about coordination of asylum policies. And I said, but shouldn’t we talk about migration, too, the general? And there were 14 pair of eyes looking down into the table because that was absolutely unthinkable. And the only thing you could hear in the room was the giggling of the responsible commissioner, Antonio Victorino (sp).
Now, today, they have—next—this—yes, next week they are having a real in-depth discussion on how to go further in Europe to coordinate migration policies. And the British chairmanship—we met with one of the responsible British ministers when going here to the States. Now they are coming to it, but we have to move forward. So things are about to evolve. Oh, and I think that Europe has, to an extent, been the largest problem here.
Well, having said that, of course, there are other parts of the world where they haven’t come very far. When I tried to come together with Mamphela to come to grips with discussing this with the Gulf area representatives, it will take some time. But I think that also there they will open up when they are now more and more modernizing their societies.
So there is a—it’s also here. It’s difficult now to make general statements as a guest on the Western Hemisphere, on the America-Mexico and the Latin America-North America relationship. What is very encouraging is that there has been, on the regional consultation side, a very good work going on in what has been called the Puebla process and other processes. There are a lot of things happening.
And there is also—if I compare my part of the world with the United States, I think that we have a longer way to go than you have here, in fact. Sometimes Europeans don’t understand that. We haven’t had the long, hot summers and the civil rights movement. We have to go through all of that, to an extent. And I remember when I was here in the spring of 2002 during the French election—presidential election—there were little smiles on your faces of the two alternatives that the French people had to choose between.
And I think that also, in a way, reflects that we have a longer way to go in many ways in Europe before we can have this more open attitude to the whole drama of integration in our countries. And—but still, Europe is now on the move, even if the European Union is just now in a tricky situation. In this particular context, we are on the move. But it will take long, of course.
BROKAW: Well, we are an immigrant nation, after all, although conflicted by that very often in our political dialogue and base.
Other questions? Rita?
QUESTIONER: Rita Hauser.
Both of you made the distinction between the political refugees and economic refugees and how difficult it is to distinguish them; the lines are blurring. But from a human rights perspective, it is very important to maintain that separation because the refugee convention—one of the oldest, almost universally accepted—nations have, by and large, abided by their responsibilities to take in political refugees and to deal with them accordingly. So I’d like to have your views on how you see the traditional political refugee and the newer phenomenon of the economic migrant—albeit that it’s difficult, often, to distinguish them.
RAMPHELE: We have been very clear in our report about the importance of maintaining that distinction, but we also acknowledge that maintaining that distinction is difficult. It’s difficult for precisely what Jan has been saying is common hypocrisy. If no other door is open except for the asylum door, that’s where people are going to try and push. And so you have a corruption of the asylum regime because people are trying to use the asylum route to go into countries that don’t acknowledge that, in fact, that they do need economic migrants.
And so there isn’t an easy way of solving that problem without going back to the three Cs that we talked about: the cohesion, the cooperation, and the capacity to recognize that the short-term approaches which say we can’t deal with it because it’s politically difficult to acknowledge that we need migrants in the economics area—the long-term damage that that does to the international regime is quite considerable. And so we are urging governments to really focus on the need to develop this complementarity between labor-rich and those poor countries where a lot of these people come from, and labor-poor but those rich countries where they do need migrants who are seeking opportunities. And if we could, as a global community, understand the importance of looking beyond the short term, beyond the next election, and look at the longer-term prosperity of the global community, I think we can make progress.
And this is why these original processes are making greater progress. I mean, think about Mexico and the U.S. There are still a lot of problems, but at least this is one region where they’ve cut down the cost of remittances by 56 percent simply by talking together, recognizing the fact that even if people are here with an irregular status as migrants, they need to send money home, and why not facilitate it?
So there is a sense in which everybody has to come to the party to protect that international regime by making sure that the doors that people are knocking at are open and not bolted down.
BROKAW: Do you want to expand on that at all?
KARLSSON: Oh, just one little thing, and that is that we want to keep the distinction absolutely clear. In reality, you can’t see the distinction when they come swimming, but that’s why we need to enhance capacity in the recipient countries so that they and their civil servants—the people taking care of people coming—know what this is. And this is not always the case today. We need an enormous amount of capacity building, but the objective is absolutely to separate the right of asylum from the whole panorama of migration. Migration is as old as mankind. We were all East Africans in the beginning.
BROKAW: Other questions? Yes, sir.
QUESTIONER: My is Frans Bouwen. I represent the --
BROKAW: You may have turned it off, actually. Is it on?
QUESTIONER: It’s on now.
QUESTIONER: Okay, sorry. Technical failure, which is normal in this world. (Laughter.)
My name is Frans Bouwen. I represent the Foundation—the Hague Process on Refugees and Migration, based in the Netherlands.
I’m struggling with one thing.
First of all, of course, I would like also to congratulate the commission. You have come a long way on the runway of migration and refugee protection, but you have created a unique momentum on the runway. There is a point of no return. We have to take off together. And I think that is very important that we have that particular moment to experience today.
But I have a concern, as I said. We are speaking about governments. And in your excellent report you, put the whole migration issue rightly within a human rights and within a human security perspective. Now we have to govern this issue, and often governance is equal to management, and I don’t think that is exactly the same thing. And I was wondering, if you are speaking about addressing governance, then of course we have to do everything—also the NGOs, business, big cities and other actors—we all have to support our governments in governing this particular issue.
Now how do you, as commissioners, see a real concrete opportunity not to fall into the trap of technical management only of this issue, but to bring to the public an understanding of the governance of this issue? Because I think this is one of the major problems not only in Europe, but also in the south, that the public perception of the issue is at a loss. And we mention it as a human rights issue, a human security issue—as you rightly did—but how can we become owners, in terms of governments, of this issue? Are there any ideas going around in the commission which could help us to clarify this?
KARLSSON: I think the member of the commission who would be most apt to comment on your question now, Frans, is Nicholas—Bishop Nicholas Dimarzio.
BISHOP NICHOLAS DIMARZIO (Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn): I was praying. (Laughter, applause.)
Our commission has worked on prayer a lot. (Laughter.) That’s why we agreed in the end. (Laughter.)
Obviously, we are advocates each in our own way. I think we come as advocates because we’ve learned a lot, not because we had a prejudice before we began. And I think the work with our individual governments is clear.
The report, I think, stands not on any particular recommendation. There are 33. Any government could pick it up and work with it and, I think, improve their migration policy immensely. I think that’s part of, I think, what we’ve been able to accomplish because we listened. We listened around the world intensely, and we were able to find out how we can bring together concrete recommendations that can be implemented.
So the work of the commission is not finished. We may be completed as a commission, but individually we pledged to work with our individual governments to try to implement—I’m not sure I got the whole question, but was that about it?
BROKAW: And, Father, we would like to ask what you were praying for? (Laughter.)
RAMPHELE: But the momentum on the on the table that you were referring to, we clearly are—and I think Mary has really put the issue right back to the audience because you are the global community to whom we are speaking in this report. We hope that if each one of you in your individual institutions and as citizens of your various countries can really pick these recommendations up, there is plenty of work to do here to keep this—(inaudible)—in the air for quite a while.
BROKAW: Over here on the aisle.
QUESTIONER: Jeff Laurenti at the Century Foundation.
First, as an aside, Minister Karlsson, be careful what you wish for. Hoping for long, hot summers in Europe --
KARLSSON: I don’t.
QUESTIONER: Right. (Chuckles.) Right, because it drove American politics very much to the right for a generation and a half. And particularly on this issue, the results might not be what you—what we might hope for.
But you had said earlier in your opening remarks that you don’t need a new convention; there are existing conventions. I’m led to think that the international convention on migration, that just entered into force with the requisite number of states, is conspicuous for having all the migrant-exporter countries but virtually none of the migrant-importer countries as its prescribers.
And this takes us, I think, to the larger question that I think Tom has been trying to get into, which is, where in your 34 recommendations are those that would be of some appeal to more politically conservative people, particularly in Europe, U.S. and Japan, so that you can build the kind of constituency for a multilateral kind of framework rather than each country putting up, or in the case of the E.U. each union, putting up its own walls? So if you could explore for us, please, where you think the problem’s been on that convention in developed countries, where you think your report is offering some breakthrough ideas that can pull in more politically conservative folks. And are we putting the U.N. at risk by putting this is in the middle of something that is so intensely controversial and generates such backlash?
KARLSSON: First of all, the convention—the 1990 convention on—that—we have had, of course, intense discussions about that in the commission. We do not make any recommendations on that or any other convention. There was plenty of space to make recommendations to lots of countries because the field is much larger, even if the political debate right now is concentrated on this specific one.
I would like to make one comment to your question, and that is that what we are saying is that this exporting/importing or recipient/origin distinction is becoming increasingly blurred. I mean, is Mexico a sending or a recipient or a transit country? What about Egypt? Some countries are changing their roles over time: Spain, South Korea, et cetera. So to measure the degree of ratification with this role is becoming increasingly, so to speak, aged.
On the other hand, what we have underlined is—and it might be naive, but we hope that that could also be a coalition of the sensible people all over the world—is that we already have a core of conventions and other instruments of international law which absolutely clarify that human rights is not something for people who are legally staying in a place or something like that. It’s for everyone and it’s universal.
And this is why capacity building is so important, because we have met in our consultations all over—because there were also government officials—people who really don’t have a complete grasp of the idea that every single individual in my country has—enjoys all these human rights, not matter what stamp we put on them. This is exactly what the lady from Peru started to talk about, and we entirely—please translate this—we entirely agree with her that no person is illegal. No person in the—that’s why I detest this word "amnesty" when you talk about migration. It’s as if moving from one country to another could be a crime, which it couldn’t be.
So that means that we think that—and if I may be very subjective here, I’ve learned—being an economist by origin, I have learned during this journey, guided by what I’ve listened to and seeing the enormous importance of the notion of human rights and the instruments of human rights that we have. Even if we don’t go into the specificities of the 1990 convention right now, we think that this is the only way to continue.
Talk about integration. Where do we draw the line on integration when people are violating the rules of the country that they have come to because of what they think is their cultural heritage or whatever? And that—what is multicultural being, then?
And that thank God that we have them—the human rights—because that creates the foundation of what should be the objective of integration? We have a common—and this is where I—that is the only coalition that we could form. It’s on the—in the international law on the human rights. I’m, of course, as a European, depressed about the—that the international—that the ICC has not advanced better than it has. And it’s good to say that here in this country now. And in the end we will win because everybody wants—and this is what we have been saying. This has to be governed by law and by right. And this is a good old conservative statement, and it’s also a good old progressive statement: The law is the best way of protecting the weak. So that is the only coalition.
What we have not done, and what—that’s why we have not a complete answer to our lady from Peru—is that we have not found a monitoring system of how countries implement the human rights. And if I have a dream, that is that one day we will have such a system so that we could help each other as nations and as human beings to see to it that these things are being really implemented. And that would—so we could create a true legal system. It doesn’t have to be supernational, but it should be build on the heritage that we have already created.
BROKAW: We have time for two more questions. Right here. Yeah.
QUESTIONER: Thank you. My name is Hoyt Webb.
And I just wanted to pickup on one of the smaller themes that both Dr. Ramphele and Minister Karlsson referred to earlier today, and that’s the idea of segregation. And I was curious on what effects you found segregation had in the receiving countries on the populations, and what recommendations, if any, you have toward countries and their treatment and accommodation of those that they’re receiving.
There’s certainly the government dimension with regard to lower-income housing. There’s also a corporate dimension in different countries—if you look at France or Germany or Turkey—and where companies kind of house, you know, their workers and the natural separation that that creates. Thank you.
BROKAW: Dr. Ramphele, why don’t you.
RAMPHELE: We were very fortunate to be in a meeting in Berlin to which the deputy mayor of Amsterdam was present. And we have a commissioner here, Mr. Demmink, who is a Dutch official.
In that meeting, what really became clear to us is this notion, which I referred to, of the two-way adaptive process that is necessary for harmonious relationships between people who are migrants and the people who are indigenous to a country. And what we learned is that it actually is important that when countries admit immigrants, they have a game plan about how they’re going to help them in the integration process, but also that the citizens are open to the impulses—the cultural and other diversity elements that they bring to—(inaudible).
And that’s just where, on a personal level, (lower-age ?) education, which governments, if they really want to get the best out of immigrants, should pay for. We also found that it’s important to recognize that integration or this adaptive process happens at the local level. So the local authorities are important, but it is national authorities that have—(inaudible). So there needs to be some way of resolving that local activity base.
We know the importance of the NGOs—(inaudible)—faith-based organizations and so on. We also know another important element: that immigration happens around practical things like schools, clinics and employment. And the government, whether local or national, is the biggest employer. It is the agent that provides for all the social services and education and health. So if government—this is why we go back to the issue of the three Cs, the cohesion, the cooperation and the capacity—if governments really want to get the best out of immigrants, they need to invest in making sure that they are able to participate in the economy through employment, but also, we believe—and we have seen examples where even though people are not full citizens yet, have been given local voting rights so that local issues can become a point at which they can engage.
I come from a country where we know the expense or the cost of segregation, and this was a reverse situation where illegal or irregular migrants in our country came and then pushed the indigenous to the ghettos. And look at how expensive it is for South Africa to make the transition into this post-apartheid, human rights, free society.
BROKAW: I’m sorry, but I have to play by the house rules. It’s 11:00.
I want to express my gratitude to all of you for being here today, especially for the commission for their extraordinary work that they’re doing. And I think I can say safely on behalf of all that, as grateful as we are for what you have done on the part of the U.N. commission, we are all eagerly anticipating what you’re going to say once you’re unhinged from it. (Laughter.) And we’ll look forward to that as well.
Thank you all very much for being here. (Applause.)
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