Boutros is a refugee: he left Syria three years ago after his village was attacked. He paid over USD 5,000 to smugglers and it took him more than two years to get to Europe. The most precious thing he carried with him was his smartphone.
You have probably have seen one recently – at the airport, perhaps after the security check or at the local public service office and after pressing one, you have wondered ‘what next?’ Where does this information go, who does what with it and does anything happen after you press the button?
What are the chances that of all the vibrant diverse #MigrationMeans photos submitted over the past six months, that the winning photo would be the very (and only) one that carries the exact same message selected by DG Swing last month as this year’s International Migrants Day theme ‘Saving Migrants Lives’?
The meeting about the typhoon response had just ended. As I walked down the devastated streets of Tacloban, I heard two young girls singing a familiar chorus: “We’ve been through a storm but we’re not defeated. We all carry pain but are ready to move on. We’ll build a new life together, a safe place for everyone. Building strong foundations so we can stand,” they sang (in Waray, the local language of Tacloban).
Some people live in the same place their entire lives. Others choose to migrate in search of greater opportunities - economic, educational, or other. Many other people are forced to migrate, oftentimes displaced by disasters be they natural or man-made that require them to seek refuge and start over elsewhere.
When a Haitian youngster held a knife to my throat while getting off the bus from the Dominican Republic, in Petion Ville the other day, it was a harsh reminder of what can happen when youth in a displaced population are left to fend for itself.