From the enlightenment period up to the modern era, activists from all around the world have been fighting for the recognition of human rights and equality for all. Given the effort that has been put to fight for this course, it is unfortunate that there are still individuals, organizations, and states that condone and advocate for the abuse of human rights. The paper presented by Huffman et al (2012) presents a unique case of human rights abuse and racial segregation in Kazakhstan. The main challenge presented in the paper is the unequal utilization of health services by the residents. In the paper, Huffman et al (2012) identified that it is the immigrants, especially those who originate from Uzbekistan, that provide most of the unskilled labor in the country. However, due to the poor working conditions, the prevalence of tuberculosis (TB) among immigrants is relatively high.
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Although TB treatment is offered for free in the country for all residents, immigrants rarely have access to this service. Thus, the delay in treatment coupled with seasonal immigration patterns has resulted in the increase in severity of the disease. This has also encouraged its spread and ultimately, a move that might result in the disease being drug resistant. Therefore, to prevent this from happening, it is essential for all the migrants to form trade organizations and political alliances. These organizations will not only fight for their rights (improved working conditions, wages, and recognition as workers, and so on) but they will also act as avenues through which immigrants can be screened for TB, treated, and given basic education that will prevent the spread of the disease. This will ultimately improve the lives and experiences of immigrants in Kazakhstan.
Challenges Faced by Anderson (2010) and the Way Forward
The paper presented by Anderson (2010) took a different approach in tackling social determinants. The paper focused on the role played by Waling Waling, a domestic workers organization, and Kalayaan, a support group. These two organizations fought for the rights and recognition of Filipino workers in the UK during the 1980s. The UK phased out domestic work permits in 1979 with an exception of immigrants who accompanied wealthy employers (Anderson, 2010). Thus, their immigration status solely relied on their employers. This situation provided an avenue for the exploitation and abuse of such immigrants. This led to the increase in the provision of advice and support services by the Commission of Filipino Migrant Workers (CFMW). Due to the increase in the frequency of providing this service at an individual level, Waling Waling, through the directions of CFMW was formed. The organization fought for the recognition of Filipino migrants not only as workers but also as citizens. With the alliances that the organization formed with political parties and trade unions, the demands of the organization were ultimately met.
Challenges and Pitfalls
The main challenge that faces the process of tackling social determinants is representation. There are many people whose rights are abused. These people work under poor conditions and earn minimum wages. Some of them are victims of forced labor and human trafficking. They do not have access to basic amenities like food, shelter, healthcare, and education. However, it is hard to ascertain who these people are and what problems they face. Most of these people are not aware of their rights as workers, immigrants, or citizens. It is thus essential for such people to form organizations such as trade unions that will collectively represent them. This will make it easier for them to air their problems and form alliances. Such groups and organisation will also act as a forum through which they can be empowered. This will ultimately lead to the improvement of their living and working conditions.
Anderson, B 2010, ‘Mobilizing migrants, making citizens: migrant domestic workers as political agents’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, vol. 33 no. 1, pp. 60–74.
Huffman, S, Veen, J, Hennink, M M, and McFarland, D 2012, ‘Exploitation,vulnerability to tuberculosis, and access to treatment among Uzbek labormigrants in Kazakhstan’, Social Science & Medicine, vol. 74 no. 6, pp. 864–872.