Recent literature on populism influencing democratic society in regard of migrants’ rights shows tremendous changes in its treatment. Throughout history, there has been no more need for migrations than in present, especially from the East. However, these changes in the treatment of migrants’ rights have shown that citizens are less willing to welcome refugees and provide them help needed. This paper will show how populism influences Europe in meeting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights focusing on Migrants’ Rights and how Hannah Arendt talks about it in her essay with reflection as being a refugee. Also, it will be discussed how does the influence of populism in democratic society change the perspective of the migrants’ rights and tools
Keywords: Populism, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Migrations’ Rights, Hannah Arendt
The migration of humans has been present before pre-modern civilizations. Conscious human unsatisfied with their surroundings is very likely to seek a better place to live. This fact has had an impact on primitive societies million years ago resulting in migrations happening throughout history. It is well known that history and rising influence of the economy have started to classify Worlds’ humans in regard their status and political decision-making in society. This resulted in the disclosure of the new phenomenon in human kind called Populism. The general influence of populism in the World has reached remarkable results in changing the mindsets of democratically structured countries. The same follows when it comes to migrations rights. Elites have been trying to make a distinctive division between classes. Unfortunately, this has resulted in great confusion in democratic countries where everyone should have been treated in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Therefore, it is difficult for people to move from one country to another, especially from developing to developed countries. This rise the question related to migrants. The paper will discuss more about the influence of populism leaving trails on democratic society tied with peoples’ right to move and migrants’ rights. It results into questioning why populism does not meet migrants’ rights and which tools are the most commonly used to change perspective.
1. Populism: Phenomena in Europe and Migrations Pre and Post WWII
Populism has started to take place at the beginning of 20th century. It changes aspect of the real meaning of a democratic or liberal-democratic country. Although it can be recognized in the left-sided parties (that populism is more individual than institutional), it is more likely to be considered in the right-sided ones. The specific fact about European populists is their bigger focus on movements and engagement of voters rather than activists.[footnoteRef:2] This populists’ approach to politics obviously implies to their greater importance to win rather to actually deal with specific concerns of a certain society. In this way, elites are taking over the control of large number of population as well as their way of thinking.
The distinctive division between classes is being made by weakening the lower classes in regard general decision-making. For example, in both developed and developing European countries ethnic nationalism has became more influential in terms of disrespect minority rights.[footnoteRef:3] In this regards, the aspect of migrations has also changed throughout the last century in Europe. Especially in the time before WWII stubborn nationalism was waking up and taking places not just in rural places but also in cities. Hannah argued that Nazi Germany and Stalin’s USSR in WWII had characteristics of populism. People who are not politically involved are the most likely to be manipulated by propaganda. In this case, leaders who do not have particular political plans as guidelines in their mandate are taking over the control with radical slogans and wrong ideology.[footnoteRef:4] In this case, nationalism is closely related to populism which implies as well to immigrants and opportunistic migrants. [2: Erik Jones. 'Populism in Europe' In SAIS Review of International Affairs, Volume 27, Number 1, by John Hopkins University Press, 37-47. Winter-Spring 2007.] [3: Pranab Bardhan. 'Populism In Less Developed Countries Is Somewhat Different.' 3 Quarks Daily, 2018.] [4: KLANT. 'Populism through the eyes of Hannah Arendt: Now and Then.' Eyes on Europe, 2016.]
By Arendt, Term ‘refugee’ itself underrates all the immigrants living in a country. Furthermore, she discussed that this term should been used in a context that referred to those who moved to another country but held grudges of some structure and had a specific state of mind in a negative political context.[footnoteRef:5] dodaj [5: Hannah Arendt. 'We Refugees.' In The Jewish Writings, Edited by: Jerome Kohn and Ron H. Feldman, Hannah Arendt, 264-274. New York: Shocken Books, New York, 2007.]
After WWII, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has improved many things related to general respect among nations. It also proposes respect of the rights regarding migration. In the ‘Text of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and ‘Text of the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees’ proves that from 1951 Convention removed limitations regarding geographical and temporal limits, and further in 1967 Protocol removed limitations in scope to persons fleeing events occurring before 1 January 1951 and within Europe:
Grounded in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of human rights 1948, which recognizes the right of persons to seek asylum from persecution in other countries, the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, adopted in 1951, is the centerpiece of international refugee protection today.(1) The Convention entered into force on 22 April 1954, and it has been subject to only one amendment in the form of a 1967 Protocol, which removed the geographic and temporal limits of the 1951 Convention.(2) The 1951 Convention, as a post-Second World War instrument, was originally limited in scope to persons fleeing events occurring before 1 January 1951 and within Europe. The 1967 Protocol removed these limitations and thus gave the Convention universal coverage.[footnoteRef:6] [6: The Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees. 'Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees.' Text of the 1951 Convention; Text of the 1967 Protocol. Geneva: UNHCR, 2010. 2-5.]
After the creation of the European Union as a free trade market area, many European countries have become popular to migrants all over the World. All of this could not be possible without respect of migrants’ rights in those countries. The first phase of migration happened from 1945-the 1970s. People from all over the World were moving to Europe (Germany, France, Italy, Great Britain, Holland, Luxembourg etc.) for better economic status and quality of life. For example, in the 1960s it was popular that Turks, Moroccans, Algerians and Tunisians would move to work for the EU countries.[footnoteRef:7] As it can be understood, Europeans were very welcoming towards migrants for a particular reason. At the time, it was beneficiary for both Europeans and migrants. Migrants became diaspora and were able to finance and help families in their home countries. [7: Joint Research Center. 'European Migrations: Dynamics, Drivers, and the Role of Policies.' Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. Luxembourg, 2008. 6-9.]