Mixed Migration Platform releases a new paper discussing the use and the flaws of the terms “refugee” and “migrant”

Date published



The organisation Mixed Migration Platform has published a new paper that explores the “politics of labelling” in the UK, focusing on the terms “refugee” and “migrant”. This publication argues that every term used when talking about migration has an eventual people on migrants’ lives, since they shape the public discourse and the perceptions of the society. Media in the West has often classified people on the move in two big boxes: refugees, who seek asylum due to armed conflicts in their home countries; and migrants, who travel through choice for economic reasons.

According to Ben Whitham, the author of this paper, right wing parties have sought to keep out those who fit within the concept of “economic migrants”, whereas leftists have promoted the slogan of “refugees are welcome” in response. The main argument of this article is that there are reasons to seek asylum from poverty, and that the refugee/migrant paradigm that has developed in recent years should be resisted for the false moral distinction it draws, and the policies of asylum denial this enables.

Access the full article here.

Related countries

United Kingdom

Thematic area

  • Migrant rights

Document language


Document type

Focus area

Migration and Local Governance
Migrant Rights

Publisher / Organisation

Mixed Migration Platform

JMDI publication