GIMUN International Migrants’ Day: Dismantling Myths and Discussing Solutions for the European Migrant ‘Crisis’
By Nayana Das
Every year since 2000, the United Nations has been celebrating December 18th as International Migrants Day, the same day on which in 1990 the General Assembly adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. This year, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the adoption of this Convention and in commemoration of this day, on 11th December 2015 GIMUN organised an International Migrants Day event at the United Nations Office in Geneva. The occasion brought together 16 young participants for a panel discussion on ‘Legal Solutions for the European Refugee Crisis’ with Guest Speaker Livia Manente, Associate Expert for the Office of the Senior Regional Adviser for Europe and Central Asia at the International Organisation for Migration. Read the rest of this entry »
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Husein, recently criticised a columnist in a British tabloid for ‘inciting racial hatred’ and referring to migrants attempting the Mediterranean crossing as ‘cockroaches.’  The tabloid in question has the widest readership of any paper in Britain. The High Commissioner went on to compare the xenophobia in elements of the British press as akin to that found in propaganda produced by Rwandan media outlets prior to the genocide in the 1990’s. Self-evidently such sentiment has no place in any society that professes to be civilised, however the increasing confidence and impunity with which those not simply on the fringes of the political spectrum, but the mainstream as well, attack migrants is a worrying development for all in Europe. Our history as a continent is an illustration of where divisive, anti-migrant and nationalist rhetoric can lead. The modern migrant crisis, with 1 in every 122 people displaced due to war, environmental pressures and state oppression, is a situation unprecedented in the years since the formation of the European Union.  This article will consider the potential havoc the invocation of resurgent nationalist identities across the continent, partially in response to this crisis, could cause to one of the biggest political projects in the modern world: the European Union.