Magazine article USA TODAY

Help Sought for Migrant Workers and Refugees

Magazine article USA TODAY

Help Sought for Migrant Workers and Refugees

Article excerpt

Sadako Ogata, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, has called upon industrialized countries to devise a "management scheme" for the employment of migrant workers. Speaking at Stanford (Calif.) University's Bechtel Conference Center, she emphasized the humanitarian problems created by a global economy. Her agency is responsible for running most international refugee camps and for helping to find a permanent place for refugees either at home or in new countries.

Migrant workers are increasingly needed in industrialized countries, Ogata points out, noting that business leaders in her home country, Japan, where immigration is not allowed, devised a plan for bringing in 100,000 workers at a time for two to three years. Migrant workers, though, have increased the xenophobic reaction to refugees and made it more difficult to determine who is a refugee from starvation and violence and who is a poor person responding to better opportunities elsewhere. In Europe especially, many citizens now believe all refugees are really migrants and push for their exclusion. Migrants and refugees have become easy prey for a growing network of criminal smuggling organizations. Ogata calls upon industrialized countries in particular to state the kind of migrant workers they will accept, the conditions for their employment, and the time period. …

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