As nations continue to grapple with the migrant and refugee crises, Chair of the Hinduja Bank, Switzerland Hinduja S P Shanu has called for issuing unique identity cards to refugees that will help host nations address their safety concerns and ensure accountability from those seeking new homes in foreign lands.
"Nations can come up with ID cards for refugees and migrants that uphold their original place of birth and nationality. The UN can play a role in this. This will give refugees and migrants a standing and a sense of accommodation," Shanu told PTI.
She said the ID system will help the host countries address questions of safety and security as they open their borders to refugees and migrants. "Since the refugees will have ID cards, they will become responsible towards the system and the host country will be notified that they in the country legally," she said.
Shanu further noted that the ID cards will not only protect the host country but also protect the persons who have been "dislodged" from their homeland. "There will be accountability for them. The ID card will help protect the host country and give a message to the migrant and refugee that they are welcome but they should also bring positivity to their new homes. This will require collective actions from all the nations," she said.
She added that the identity card should be recognised worldwide as a migrant card that establishes refugees' identities and their declared places of origin. It will help preserve their right to return to their homelands voluntarily as the conditions become conducive, she said.
"The refugee situation is not new, people have migrated across lands for decades but it is more profound now because of terrorism, poverty and climate change," she said.
Drawing a parallel with the FIFA World Cup, Shanu said the sporting event celebrates unity and diversity among the sport's followers across nations. "In the same spirit of the unity that can be seen during the time of the FIFA word cup, it is time that countries should embrace the spirt of unity and of accommodation for people who for no fault of theirs are forced to leave their homes," she said.
"In football, the goal of one person is the defeat of another. In every step of the way, what we are learning from football is that one person's victory is another person's defeat," she said, adding that it is wrong to think that refugees and migrants will be burden on the resources of a nation. Instead, they can contribute to the economic and cultural fabric of the host countries.
Shanu also urged the rich and powerful nations of the world to be more accommodating and open their doors to provide refuge to those fighting persecution and corruption at home. She said the developed nations, which have huge land and natural resources, can set up small industries, manufacturing units and service industries that can help provide employment to the refugee and migrant communities.
"This is about sharing the responsibilities collectively and growing the economies of the world. What is preventing countries like Russia China, Saudi Arabia and other rich nations as well as the private sector to join hands and set up small industries and manufacturing units that employ migrants and refugees," she said.
Shanu also stressed on the need for accountability of the host country towards each individual looking for a home base. "It is important to ensure that the host countries do not abuse the refugee in any way. The UN as well as the ID card can bring assurance to the refugees," she said.
She added that as the refugees and migrants add to the economic growth of the nations hosting them, the governments can ensure safety and security through the issuance of the ID cards that will bring accountability on the part of the refugees.
"The young new leaders of the world across various sectors need to become more committed to resolving this world crisis situation than before. If politics needs a goal, it should be a home for all in the world. Basic sense of belonging to a country, a space, a city, a home is also the perfect goal for young business entrepreneurs to provide for all those who need it," she said, urging citizens to build a commitment towards this cause.
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