SIHMA | Scalabrini Institute For Human Mobility In Africa

World Day of Social Justice: A Call to Uphold the Rights of Migrants and Refugees in Africa

Today the international community observes the World Day of Social Justice. It is a day dedicated to promoting efforts to universally ensure fundamental rights, employment opportunities, social protections, and constructive social dialogue. As the world confronts injustice, labor insecurity, inequality, and global crises,  it is essential to consider migrants and refugees in the African context, where millions cross borders seeking safety and opportunity.

Migration is intrinsic to the continent's history, culture, and socio-economic fabric. Yet, the narrative surrounding migration in Africa is dominated by the challenges faced by people on the move, including forced displacement, irregular migration, and human trafficking. The lived reality of migrants and refugees forced to navigate these issues makes it practically impossible to achieve social justice within and across borders.

Of the many obstacles those on the move must face in Africa, lack of adequate legal protection and access to essential services is one with widespread consequences for every migrant. Many migrants embark on perilous journeys in search of safety and opportunity, only to encounter discrimination, exploitation, and abuse along the way. Once reaching a destination country, restrictive immigration policies and anti-migrant sentiments exacerbate their vulnerability, perpetuating cycles of poverty and marginalization.

This World Day of Social Justice, the world must uphold the rights of migrants and refugees in Africa by addressing the root causes of forced displacement, including conflict, persecution, and environmental degradation, while also ensuring that those who are forced to flee their homes receive the protection and support they need. Promoting social justice for migrants and refugees requires fostering inclusive societies where diversity is embraced and celebrated by combating xenophobia and discrimination, promoting equal access to education and healthcare, and creating pathways for migrants to fully participate in the social, economic, and political life of their host communities.

At SIHMA, we believe that research plays a pivotal role in advancing social justice for migrants and refugees in Africa. By generating evidence-based insights and advocating for evidence-informed policies, we strive to empower stakeholders at all levels to make informed decisions that promote the rights and dignity of all migrants, regardless of their background or status. As we observe the World Day of Social Justice, let us recommit ourselves to building a more just and inclusive world for migrants and refugees in Africa and beyond. Social justice, where every individual enjoys the full range of human rights and opportunities they deserve, cannot be achieved without ensuring it for all, regardless of the country they were born in. 


Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash


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