18:00–19.45 at Falstad Centre for Human Rights.
Human rights and the increasingly precarious situation of migrants and refugees
The right “to seek and enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution” (§14) is one of the fundamental rights of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which this year celebrates its 70th anniversary. But how well does this correspond with current immigration praxis? The erection of border walls and fences along the US and European Union’s borders, and the adoption of stricter immigration policies severely curtails these rights and forces refugees and migrants to take ever greater risks in seeking refuge.
In two lectures by leading scholars in the field, the consequences of restrictive Western immigration policies are explored. In her lecture, Forensic Border Coalition (forensicbordercoalition.org) – Victims of Present Undocumented Migrations from Central America and Mexico to Texas prof. Kates Spradley discusses the plight of thousands of Mexican and Central American migrants that cross the United States border every year. The majority of migrants that die in Texas, in their pursuit of refuge, asylum, or a better life, are buried in unmarked graves in remote cemeteries with no regard to identification efforts violating human rights of the dead and creating a humanitarian crisis. As a forensic anthropologist with extensive experience exhuming and identifying unidentified migrants, prof. Spradley will discuss migrant deaths in Texas within the broader context of migration, human rights, and dignity.
In his lecture, Roma: The Eternal Migrants, prof. Ian Hancock addresses the situation of the Roma and their status as ‘eternal migrants’. Beginning with a much-needed overview of Roma history and why they have always been migrants, the lecture will continue by shedding light on the details of the Romani presence in the Americas, and how and why Roma migrants are coming (and attempting to come) into the USA across the Mexican border. Fleeing hatred and persecution in Europe, the surprising migration of Roma into the US is a further testimony to the changing political climate and conception of human rights and human dignity across Europe.