as a Global & Local Problem
migration of people is not just a particularity of this region
alone, or of this time. It seems that large numbers of
migrants have always left their lands of origin or ethnic roots
and migrated to other lands in search of better possibilities
or searching for protection from persecution and violence. Statistics
show that around 150 million people today live outside of the
countries they were born in or the countries of their citizenship.
A large number of these people are not even registered as international
migrants as they live and work in these other countries illegally,
sometimes permanently, and sometimes temporarily.
International migration has become a global phenomenon which
includes not only a wide range of countries of origin, countries
of transit and countries of final destination but various groups
of migrants as well. A highly qualified worker in Singapore
works in Australia, a refugee from Afghanistan works in Iran,
a Nigerian woman is sold in Italy, an agricultural worker from
Mexico now works in the US, a smuggled Chinese cooks in a restaurant
in London, a non-registered Romanian works as a construction
worker in Croatia. All these are examples of international migrants.
Today we can divide migration
into two basic types:
1. Voluntary migration
- including migration whose purposes: employment, education,
joining of families or other personal reasons,
Forced migration - including migration which is the result
of persecution, conflict, natural catastrophes, ecological contaminations
or other situations which bring danger to people’s lives,
human freedom or survival.
International migration is a complex problem and important factor
of security for every country both economically and politically.
A majority of countries today are a part of the global migration
system where the migration politics of one country has an influence
on another country so that managing this problem requires strong
cooperation between various states.
the Republic of Croatia as an organic part of Europe be outside
of the context of these global movements? It is quite
clear that this is not possible. This at any rate is shown by
the illustration of migration movements to and through Croatia.
Namely, in the last twelve years, this region has registered
both forms of migration movements, both voluntary and forced.
Up to the termination of the war at the end of 1995 we were
met almost exclusively with forced migrations of vast proportions.
During 1992 over 800,000 refugees alone were noted in the Republic
of Croatia but with the political stabilization of this part
of Europe in the region of our Republic, along with the arrival
of tourists, business people and other “desirable”
migrants, we also began to keep records of those who entered
illegally or who resided illegally in the area of our country.
This is shown with the following figures:
Illegal crossings of the state border 1996-2001
However, even if the above-mentioned numbers
point to an abruptly growing influx of illegal migrants, what
is necessary to keep in mind is that a very small number either
permanently or continuously remain in our country. The Republic
of Croatia, as with other countries in transition, with its
still insufficiently developed economy is not a country that
is attractive enough for those people whose reasons for leaving
their homes are to find better opportunities somewhere else.
Therefore, our country is only a country on the way to one’s
goal, or, in other words, a transit country.
But unfortunately, statistics show
that from the entire mass of people who at all costs leave
on their way to the “land of their dreams” only
30% ever reach their goal. A large number of people,
considering that this concerns people who did not previously
fulfill all conditions for entry into their target country,
nor conditions for crossing through territories of transit
countries, have been stopped at one stage of their journey
and returned to the state from which they started out from.
Or to the country from which they entered directly into the
territory of the country in which they were discovered as
During the last six years almost 20,000 illegal immigrants
have been returned for similar reasons or for failure to comply
with regulations of the Republic of Croatia in the countries
of departure or in neighbouring countries. Of course,
respecting international conventions, that is, the civilized
rules of behaviour, the Croatian police has not in any case
sent back people to countries in which their basic human rights
would in any way be violated.
As this mostly concerns citizens of far-off lands who, especially
as illegal immigrants, would be hard-pressed to find their
own on such long journeys, they frequently become the victims
of well-organized international smuggling rings to whom they
pay enormous sums of compensation, sometimes they even invest
all their assets and/or belongings hoping that this will bring
them to their desired goal.
Smuggling people today is one of the
most profitable “jobs” in the world and it is
estimated that annual profits exceed $8 billion US.
The path of one female Chinese citizen through Baltic countries
to the USA costs around $25,000. In this context it is enough
to only mention that the portion of the journey through the
Republic of Croatia alone “costs” around $1,000
per person. At the same time, this type of crime hardly registers
in people’s minds as a serious punishable crime, and
sometimes it is even viewed as “extending a hand of
help” to those who are in grim circumstances.
The smuggling of people is also tied in with human trafficking,
which is a punishable offence and which we can call, without
any reservation, the modern-day reinstatement of slavery.
Every illegal immigrant is very easy prey not only for the
smuggler but for the human trafficker because he/she is usually
a person without an identity, destined to hide before authorities
of the country which he/she is traveling through or in which
he/she wishes to live in permanently.
Today's Europe rests on three key
freedom, security and justice.
The first, the basic notion of Freedom implies freedom of
movement, however, if we ask ourselves what freedom of movement
means in the context we are talking about here we can see
that that kind of freedom is not such a broad notion at all.
What it means is:
a) freedom of movement
within the country in which a person has the right to reside
or stay temporarily,
b) freedom to leave
the country. However, no one has the right to enter the country
of one’s desire, if his/her staying there has not been
previously approved in some way.
Today’s developed countries, it seems, are considerably
frustrated with this inconsistent interpretation of this aforementioned
notion, but what is also clear is that this enticing word
brings into quandary all those people who interpret this notion
literally and who start out on their precarious journeys.