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Migration, Culture Conflict and Crime

Migration, Culture Conflict and Crime

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Migration, Culture Conflict and Crime

591 pages
4 hours
Dec 10, 2002


This was one of the first social science books to recognize migration as THE issue of the 21st century. The issue of immigration and crime in all of its many contexts and forms, is a problem which increasingly affects numerous countries throughout the world. In many countries, immigrants have been accused of disproportionate involvement in crime while, in others, immigrants are often claimed to be the victims of criminal offenders, as well as indifferent criminal justice systems. The subjects covered within this informative collection include the offending and victimization rates of immigrants and their dependants, institutional racism, human trafficking/smuggling and ethnic conflicts. In particular, the problems faced by female immigrants are addressed in detail. Whilst some papers look at the issues facing particular countries, such as Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, Israel and Turkey, others adopt a more comparative approach. Migration, Culture Conflict and Crime is an essential and compelling read for all those with a strong interest in this important area. Not only does it significantly advance our scientific knowledge concerning the relationship between immigration, crime and justice, but it also sets forth a number of proposals which, if implemented, could address many of the problems found in these areas. It is as relevant today as the day it was published.
Dec 10, 2002

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Migration, Culture Conflict and Crime - Joshua D. Freilich

Migration, Culture Conflict and Crime

Edited by

Joshua  D. Freilich

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Graeme R. Newman

University at Albany

S. Giora Shoham

Tel Aviv University

Moshe Addad

Bar-Ilan University

Harrow and Heston Publishers

New York

© 2012 Joshua D. Freilich, Graeme Newman, S. Giora Shoham and Moshe Addad 2002

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced. stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the publisher.

List of Contributors

Moshe Addad, Professor of Criminology, Bar-Han University and Supervisor of Criminology studies in the Academic Colleges under the auspices of Bar-Ilan University.

Pino Arlacchi, Under-Secretary General of the United Nations; Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention.

Alexis A. Aronoivitz, Ph.D; Rotterdam Anti-Discrimination Action Foundation; Policing for a Multi-Ethnic Society.

Ibrahim Cerrah, Ph.D.; Lecturer in Policing and Public Order at the Police Academy in Ankara, Turkey.

Ronald V Clarke, University Professor, School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University, USA.

Chris Cunneen, Institute of Criminology, Faculty of Law, University of Sydney, Australia.

Roland Eckert, Professor, University of Trier, Bonner Strase 69 d-54294 Tri, Germany.

Alek Epstein, NCJW Institute for the Innovation in Education, School of Education, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.

Edna Erez, LL.B, Ph.D.; Professor and Chairperson, Department of Justice Studies, Kent State University, USA,

Joshua D. Freilich, J.D., Ph.D; Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, USA.

Brenda Geiger, Ph.D.; Western Galilee College of Bar-Ilan University, Israel.

Adam Graycar, Director of the Australian Institute of Criminology, Australia.

Ruth G Hertz, Kyln District Court; University of Siegen, Germany.

Gregory J. Howard, Ph.D.; Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA.

Zvi Jacoby, MSW; Haifa Drug Abuse Treatment Center - Supervisor of Ambulatory Services, Israel.

Caitlin Killian, Department of Sociology, Emory University. USA.

Hans-Heiner Kiihne, Ph.D.; Professor, Lehrstuhl fur Strafecht, StrafprozeBrecht and Kriminologie, einschl, Strafvollzugsund Jugendrecht, UniversitAt Trier, Germany.

Eli Lawental, DSW; Director of the Haifa Drug Abuse Treatment Center and Senior Lecturer at the Haifa University, Faculty of Health and Welfare, Israel.

James P. Lynch, Professor, American University, Washington D.C., USA.

Satyanshu Mukherjee, Senior Research Officer, Australian Institute of Criminology, Australia.

Graeme Newman, Distinguished Teaching Professor, School of Criminal Justice, University at Albany, USA.

Rita Sever, Ph.D.; NCJW Institute for the Innovation in Education, School of Education, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.

Chuen-Jim Sheu, Ph.D.; Professor of Criminology, Department of Crime Prevention and Correction, Central Police University, Taiwan. R.O.C.

S. Giora Shoham, Professor, Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University. Ramat Aviv, 89978 Israel.

Rita J. Simon, Professor, American University, Washington D.C., USA.

Julie Stubbs, Ph.D.; Institute of Criminology, Faculty of Law, University of Sydney, Australia.


The editors thank the Israeli Ministry of Science for the financial support that made it possible for the writers of these papers to come together in the stimulating environment of Kibbutz Maale Hachamisha, July 6-8, 1999, Jerusalem. The editors were assisted in the preparation of the manuscript by Michael Klein and Aaron Spector.


List of Contributors



1. Introduction

2. Culture Conflict and Crime: A Global Perspective*

3. Trafficking in Human Beings

4. Population Diversity and Homicide: A Cross-national Amplification of Blau's Theory of Diversity

5. A Comparative Assessment of Criminal Involvement Among Immigrants and Natives Across Seven Nations*

6. Culture Conflict and Crime in Europe


7. Protecting Immigrants from Victimization: The Scope for Situational Crime Prevention

8. Bicultural Competence: A Means to Crime Reduction Among the Children of Immigrants?

9. Foreigners' in Germany: The Role of Academic Criminologists as an Interest Group Influencing Government Policy


10. Immigration, Culture Conflict and Domestic Violence/Woman Battering*

11. Migration, Political Economy and Violence Against Women: The Post Immigration Experiences of Filipino Women in Australia


12      Crime and Victimisation of Migrants in Australia: A Socio-demographic View

13. Hostility and Violence Against Immigrants in Germany Since 1992

14. Ethnic Identity Versus National Identity: An Analysis of PKK Terror in Relation to Identity Conflict

15. Assimilation, Acculturation and Juvenile Delinquency Among Second Generation Turkish Youths in Berlin

16. Immigration and Suicide in a Multi-ethnic Society: Israel*

17. Marginalization and Demarginalization of Immigrants: Diversity Management Strategies in Education

18. Substance Abusing New Immigrants from the States of the former Soviet Union as a Challenge to the Drug Abuse Treatment System in Israel: A Pilot Study

19. Confucianism as a Control Theory Explanation of Crime Among Overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia


1. Introduction

Joshua D. Freilich, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Graeme Newman, University at Albany, S. Giora Shoham, Tel Aviv University and Moshe Addad, Bar-Ilan University.[1]

The history of human societies — indeed the story of life — may be told as the history of migration. Animal and plant species migrated from oceans to land. The earliest primitive tribes were nomads — migrants by profession. Early human species radiated to all parts of the huge continents they inhabited. Natural barriers were overcome. Mountains, oceans and deserts have been traversed by migrant groups for thousands of years.

The evolution of social and economic life did, however, work against the nomadic way of life, as we know. Food gatherers figured out how to farm the land, allowing them to stay in one place. Villages, towns, and cities were gradually established. The concept of 'foreigner' inevitably emerged from the organization of humans into distinct groups, largely those of towns or cities that developed their own unique life styles, religions and cultures. Discourse between separate societies was minimal. It was only a matter of time, though, that the natural human need to exchange goods and services — that is to say commerce — led to the development of new, more complex societies where diverse cultures blended and often clashed. There are few, if any, societies today whose cultures do not reflect the adventures and sagas of past meetings of cultures. Modern societies are surely the richer for this. But they also, in many cases, bear a burden of history in which the clashes of cultures have produced violence sometimes of indescribable proportions, sometimes buried in the mythical past, and too often rekindled into a perpetual legacy of recriminations, often violent.

The story of the evolution of complex societies took eons to unfold. The story of migration over the last 100 years seems to have compressed eons into a small space. Indeed, 100 years seems to have been packed into the most recent decade. Now, because of the twin revolutions in this century of transportation and communication societies and cultures are enmeshed as never before without the physical movement of peoples at all. If it is diverse experiences that people want, there would seem to be no need to migrate. Just switch on the television. But migration continues to increase at a rapid pace.

Why do people migrate?

There have been periods during the 20th century (e.g., post World War II to about 1974, late 19th century up to World War I) when huge numbers of people have migrated to new lands. The United Nations Population Division (Teitlebaum and Russell, 1994) estimates that there are more than 100 million persons living in countries that are not their place of birth. This is probably an underestimate. It does not include those living outside their own ethnic 'polity' (e.g., 70 million citizens of the former Soviet Union), and more than 20 million designated by the United Nations as refugees (UNHCR 1993 p. 153). Russell (1999) identifies a number of reasons for this international movement of people.

I. Geographic differences in supply and demand for labor The assumption here is that labor markets are the prime cause of international migration. Thus, individual workers make rational decisions to migrate if they can make more money in the destination country.

2. Benefits of additional markets which individuals or groups seek, unable to obtain them in their own (usually developing) country. Such markets may include unemployment insurance, crop insurance and capital markets.

3. Demands by developed countries for cheap labor which result in active recruitment of workers from developing countries or at least countries in economic or social crisis. This differs from point (1) above because that explanation assumes a balance of supply and demand. In contrast, this scenario simply requires the demand to exist in developed countries. Furthermore, globalization facilitates capitalist penetration into the economies IAA countries, and those without capitalist economies become marginalized economically.

4. Feedback: Perpetuation of migration by migration itself. Migrant networks of family and friends develop because there is a protective social fabric awaiting them upon arrival in the destination country. Furthermore, private and voluntary organizations emerge to assist migrants in adapting to their new lives. Eventually, a set of perceptions about what jobs one can migrate to, and in what regions or countries this is possible, evolves, creating an effective feedback stream of new migration.

5. Environmental degradation. Recent research has found strong evidence to suggest that large scale population movements may be caused by environmental degradation (e.g., depletion of agricultural land), and that these populations often migrate to environments that are already environmentally fragile, which in turn produces civil and cultural conflict (Homer-Dixon 1991; 1994).

6. Involuntary migration. Most of the above explanations more or less presume that the decisions to migrate are voluntary, though the range of choices faced by many migrant workers may be restricted. Involuntary migration is caused by one or a combination of civil strife, war, government structure, environmental degradation, minority struggle, and oppression (Edmontson 1992). Pino Arlacchi, the Under-Secretary General of the United Nations, in chapter one of this volume, discusses how crimes committed during war act to 'push' some individuals to escape from such hardships by emigrating abroad. Sometimes, these fleeing migrants, lacking formal permission, enter the host country illegally, thus, becoming illegal immigrants. Adam Graycar, in chapter 3, focuses on Australia and explains, in some detail, not only the roles played by smugglers (who aid the migrants in their illegal entry), traffickers (who exploit the migrants) and the migrants themselves in facilitating this movement, but also the role law enforcement plays in trying to thwart such activity,

The consequences of migration

For countries of origin, the advantages are that migrants can send home much needed hard currency, and their earnings may become an important source of foreign capital. Origin countries may have excess labor (unemployment) relieved by the migration of workers to other countries. The disadvantage of course is that very often those who emigrate are those most motivated to work and are better educated, so that the origin country is losing the human capital it most needs.

For countries of destination, the consequences are complex, particularly as the range of types of countries that receive migrants is vast. The most profound consequence is that the cultures of destination countries are altered by the diverse cultures of migrants to a considerable degree. Nonetheless, there are many factors that contribute to the process of transference of cultures: in some countries integration occurs without serious conflict.

 There are some researchers, like Blau, however, who claim that increased heterogeneity produces higher levels of conflict in society. Gregory J. Howard, Graeme Newman, and Joshua D. Freilich, in chapter 4, describe a cross national study they conducted which both expanded upon and empirically tested the main tenets of Blau's hypotheses. These authors conclude that an analysis of their data does indeed suggest that greater amounts of diversity in a population act as a violence precipitator. In a similar vein, Ibrahim Cerrah, in chapter 14, focuses specifically on the current Kurdish, Turkish conflict. Cerrah maintains that the conflict partly stems from the Turkish government's decision to stress Turkish identity and culture at the expense of minority (e.g., Kurdish) identities and cultures. Cerrah, therefore, concludes that one way to reduce the current violence between Kurds and Turks is to 'neither deny the Turkics element nor denude other communities from their ethnic identities'. In short, Turkey needs to reconfigure Turkish identity from its current ethnic basis to a citizenship model (similar to England and America) which is based upon common interests.

In other countries, diverse cultural groups that are a product of migration are kept in virtual (and often actual) second class citizenship. It is at this point that the question of the effects of migration on crime and criminal justice become pertinent, particularly as they relate to the destination countries. To take just one example, in chapter 9, Ruth Hertz argues that in the 1990s German criminologists played a key role assisting the German government in implementing 'harsh' laws and policies which both restricted immigration and resulted in immigrants being viewed as a troublesome crime prone group. Meanwhile, James P. Lynch and Rita J. Simon, in a comparative study discussed in chapter 5. examined seven Western countries to determine if there was a link between a country's immigration policy and the criminal involvement of that country's immigrant population. Their review of the data indicates that nations with more restrictive immigration policies are also more likely to have higher incarceration rates for immigrants. In addition, citizens in such countries tend to believe that immigrants are more likely to commit crime.

It may also be argued that countries of origin could benefit by the export of their least desirable citizens. There is little research as to whether those persons migrating are either more or less motivated to do well in their lives, or whether they are more criminal or not — even though many countries ask this question of intending applicants for citizenship, sometimes even of those visiting temporarily.

 Crime, justice and migration

Migrants are easy to blame for crime because they are as a group almost always poor, and we know that 'traditional' street crime tends to be higher among the poorer classes, to live in the poorer housing, and congregate in the inner city (Tomasevski 1994). Furthermore, as Thorsten Sellin (1938) noted in his classic of over 60 years ago, Culture Conflict and Crime, migrants bring with them a different culture. They do things differently, they may kill and eat dogs for example, and the host country may have a law against such behavior. And there are many well known practices in regard to rape, revenge killings and so on according to which cultures differ considerably, particularly how such acts are regarded by law. For instance, in chapter 6, Dr. Hans-Heiner Kane writes that culture conflict partly accounts for some of the violent criminal acts committed by Turkish immigrants in Germany since 'male Turks settle some of their conflicts which are touching their feeling of honour by fighting... [and] these archaic patterns of behaviour ignore the state's monopoly on violence and cause some serious crimes.

History also helps blame them. Did not the Mafia arrive in America by way of the immigrants from Italy? Among researchers, this is a controversial topic. Among ordinary Americans, there is no question that the Mafia and its sister organizations, came from Italy. Cultural stereotypes arise as a result of the complex enmeshing of cultures that can occur between an immigrant group and a host country, particularly when the host country's culture seems most receptive both economically and socially to the new ways of social organization and social control called organized crime.

Recently, it has been suggested by a number of scholars and observers that migrants are more likely to be victimized than non-migrants. It is for this reason that, while Roland Eckert in chapter 13 examines the characteristics of the perpetrators of hate crimes against foreigners in Germany since 1992, Ronald V. Clarke in chapter 7 draws upon situational crime prevention to offer a number of suggestions which could be acted upon to safeguard immigrants from crime.

Finally, two chapters engage the problems faced by some female immigrants. Such women not only have to navigate through the perils confronting all new immigrants, but they must also overcome the unique hurdles faced by many females. While Edna Erez, in chapter 10, discusses a number of issues surrounding battered female immigrants, Chris Cunneen and Julie Stubbs, in chapter 11, train their gaze on female Filipino immigrants to Australia. In particular, they examine this immigrant group's vulnerability to violence. After reviewing 27 homicide cases where the victim was a Filipino female immigrant, Cunneen and Stubbs conclude that this high homicide victimization rate can only be understood within the gendered nature of first/ third world relations, the gendered nature of interpersonal violence, and the changing cultural images of gender and race.

Are migrants more likely to commit crime? Reviews of the research literature tend to reinforce the stereotype: one recent official government publication of a European country refers to migrant workers as a 'social time bomb' (Bovenkirk 1993). And a recent extensive review of the research on migration and crime in Europe concluded that migrants were overly represented in official crime statistics (Sun and Reed 1995). Likewise, Satyanshu Mukherjee, in chapter 12, concludes that some migrant groups in Victoria, Australia posted higher arrest rates, as compared to the Australian born population, in the 1990s. Relatedly, Eli Lawental and Zvi Jacoby, in chapter 18, found Russian immigrants to Israel to be more likely than native Israelis to be severe substance abusers. These authors believe that, since Russian immigrants are more likely (than native Israelis) to see their addiction in physical terms as opposed to psychological terms, special treatments, geared to combat this, need to be implemented.

Other researchers have concluded that a contributing factor to the higher crime rates among migrants was their marginalization in their host societies. Drawing upon this conclusion, Rita Sever and Alek Epstein, in chapter 17, claim that the current Israeli educational approach of assimilation, has contributed to the marginalization experienced by many young immigrants to Israel. They contend that changing the approach of the Israeli educational system to a more multicultural strategy would reduce the marginalization experienced by many such immigrant youths and thereby reduce not only their drop out rates but their involvement in juvenile delinquency as well.

But this is only half the story — or perhaps less than half. The fact is, the majority of migrants have never committed crime, so the real question is, given the difficult social and economic conditions in which many find themselves, why don't they commit much more crime than they do? Researchers have pointed to the active building of family networks and communities that migrant groups of various kinds developed in order to confront the difficult conditions in which they lived. For example, Chuen-Jim Sheu in chapter 19 states that the lower crime rate of Chinese migrants to East Asia, as compared to natives, may be due to the influence of their culture and their religion (Confucianism). In other words, Chinese culture and Confucianism, in congruence with the arguments of social control theory, may act to restrain criminal behavior. It appears, though, that some cultures may do a better job of this than others. Brenda Geiger, in chapter 16, reviews suicide and attempted suicide rates for a number of different ethnic communities in Israel. She concluded that while `acculturative stress [which is related to suicide] is experienced by all immigrants to some degree, some cultures are more able than others to act as buffers to the stress'.

Similarly, the studies of the Chicago School of Sociology, which owe much to their immigrant populations, did not show that migrants in and of themselves were crime prone. Rather they demonstrated that migrant groups of that era were resourceful and vibrant communities which, while preserving elements of their former cultures, also adapted and moved up and on in American society. Crime was rather an element of the condition of specific areas of the city of Chicago, not the condition of the migrants themselves.

Migrants have children, and their children have children. These second and third generation immigrants now pose a great challenge to governments. There is some evidence that the crime of second and third generation immigrants in some European countries is increasing. After noting this point, Caitlin Killian, in chapter 8, asserts that successful cultural socialization and bicultural competence could prevent criminal offending (or lower the crime rate) among the children of immigrants. Meanwhile, Alexis A. Aronowitz, in chapter 15, contends that one way to reduce the crime rate among second generation Turkish immigrant youths in Germany is to reduce paternal conflict and perceptions of discrimination while increasing their contact with German youths.

At the same time, the existence of these legitimate citizens has forced governments to face up to the fact that those born in the host country are citizens with rights the same as 'native' citizens, that they can no longer be marginalized as in the past. In short, the political situation and function of migrant groups has become highly visible. In some countries the numbers of migrant groups and their kin have increased astronomically, as in the Hispanic population in the United States.


In sum, the issue of immigration and crime, in all of its many contexts and forms, is presently a global problem which is both multifaceted and complex. It was for this reason, that in July 1999, leading policy makers and distinguished scholars in criminal justice, from all around the world, gathered in Israel for an international academic conference on migration, culture conflict and crime.[1] The purpose of the conference was to subject the immigration/crime relationship to a much needed, systematic rigorous analysis from the points of view of a variety of thinkers from many different countries and cultures. Some 50 countries were represented among the participants at the meeting. The current volume, growing out of the meeting, consists of 18 of the best papers which examine a wide variety of issues relating to the issue of immigration and crime. As was previously discussed, chapters in this volume not only address the issues of the immigrant as criminal or as victim, but also examine the issues of gender, and human trafficking/smuggling as well. In addition, while some pieces discuss immigrants in general others restrict their analysis to particular subgroups. Finally, some chapters only examine one particular country, while others employ a more comparative approach. In short, this volume seeks to add to our scientific knowledge concerning the relation between immigration, crime, and justice. The goal is to broaden public understanding of this extremely important issue, as well as to set forth a number of proposals which, if implemented, could disrupt the relationship between immigration and crime and provide alternative ways for the justice system to adapt to this pressing problem.


Bovenkerk, F. (1993). 'Crime in the Multi-ethnic society: A View from Europe', Crime, Law and Social Change. v.19: 271-280.

Edmonston, Barry. (1992). Why Refugees Flee: An Exploratory Analysis of Refugee Emigration Data, Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences, Committee on National Statistics, October 26, mimeo.

Homer-Dixon, Thomas F. (1991). 'On the Threshold: Environmental Changes as Causes of Acute Conflict', International Security, Vol. 16, No. 2, Fall.

Homer-Dixon, Thomas F. (1994). 'Across the Threshold: Empirical Evidence on Environmental Scarcities as Causes of Violent Conflict', International Security, Summer.

Russell, Sharon Stanton. (1999). 'International Migration: Implications for the World Bank', World Bank:

Sellin, Thorsten. (1938). Culture Conflict and Crime. NY: Social Science Research Council.

Sun, Hung-en and Jack Reed. (1995). 'Migration and Crime in Europe', Social Pathology. Vol.1, No.3.228-252.

Teitelbaum, Michael S., and Sharon Stanton Russell. (1994). 'Fertility, International Migration, and Development', in Robert Cassen, ed. Population and  Development: Old Debates, New Conclusions, New Brunswick (USA) and Oxford (UK): Transaction Publishers, 229-252.

Tomasevski, Katarina. (1994). Foreigners in Prison. Helsinki: HEUNI.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). (1993). The State of the World's Refugees: The Challenges of Protection, New York: Penguin Books.


1.The conference, entitled 'Migration, Culture, and Crime', was sponsored by the Israeli Ministry of Science, the Department of Criminology of the Western Galilee College and the Israeli Criminological Council. The success of this meeting in raising international awareness of migration and crime issues is attested to the fact that a second follow-up meeting has been funded by German funding agencies, to be held in Germany, Trier University, in October 2001.

2. Culture Conflict and Crime: A Global Perspective*

Pino Arlacchi, Under-Secretary General, Executive Director, U.N. Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention*

[*Text forming the basis of a speech delivered on July 6, 1999 on the occasion of an international conference on Migration, Culture and Crime, held at Kibbutz Ma'ale Hahamisha, near Jerusalem under the auspices of the Israeli Ministry of Science, the Department of Criminology of the Western Galilee College and the Israeli Criminological Council.]

For most practical purposes the United Nations is the global organization and I shall share with you some of the concerns I have from the vantage point of the Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention. Before turning to the topic of migration and crime in general, and to trafficking of human beings in particular, I would like to submit for your consideration a few thoughts on the definition of nationhood and the rise of ethnic conflict in the 20th century.

The definition of nationhood and the rise of ethnic conflict

We often use the word 'nation-state' as a unitary concept. However, in only a few dozen cases — usually small countries and often islands — 'nation' and `state' are co-extensive. In most countries, however, they are not one and the same. The idea of a nation-state with one people in one state, preferably speaking one language, sharing one religion, has been a powerful factor since the 19th century. Yet as a political programme, nationalism has a very dangerous reputation — it has led to numerous conflicts in this century, especially when the idea of race was also included.

If language were to be taken as a single defining factor of what constitutes a 'nation' there would be 3,000 — 5,000 nations — depending on where you draw the line between a language and a dialect. If one takes more than just language — a common history and/or a common religion — as additional criteria, there would still be some 700 'nations'.

When the United Nations came into existence after the Second World War there were little more than 50 Member States. Now the figure of UN Member States is almost four times the original number. The formation of new states has generally been accompanied by conflict, often violent conflict, over issues such as: who defines the 'self' entitled to self-determination? Decolonization has sometimes been accompanied with a peaceful transfer of power but in many cases it involved conflict, often armed conflict. The collapse of Communism in Europe and parts of Asia has been peaceful for Eastern Europe but in the Caucasus, the Balkans and to some extent also in Central Asia, it has led to armed conflict, sometimes accompanied by ethnic cleansing. While there is little disagreement in international law as to the nature of a state — it is an entity with a territory, a people and a government recognized by other states — there is no consensus in international law about what exactly defines a 'nation', or, for that matter, a 'people'. This gap has lately been filled by 'ethnic entrepreneurs' who tried to define membership of a 'people', by applying scientifically meaningless racial criteria.

Today, it is estimated that 44 percent of all armed conflicts are State vs. Nation conflicts. In addition, almost 14 percent are inter-ethnic or tribal conflicts (Scherer, 1997 p. 33). In other words, more than half of all armed conflicts are ethnic or identity conflicts, with religion often playing an important, but usually non-beneficial, role. According to the most recent count there were, at the end of the millennium, no fewer than 280 on-going armed conflicts of various intensity (Leiden University 1999).

Twentieth-century conflict has seen a steady rise of civilian casualties in war. While in the First World War a large majority of victims were still soldiers, in some of today's conflicts more than 80 percent of the victims are civilians, the majority women and children. Many of them are not victims of what is termed `collateral damage' — they are deliberately targeted. The ferocity of some recent and current conflicts, like those in Sierra Leone or Kosovo, is such that war crimes are often no longer the exception but the rule. Disciplined soldiers have been replaced by self-appointed militias which make a mockery of the laws of war. Women are raped as a tactic of warfare and children are forced to become 'child soldiers'. Drugs are often used to make these youngsters 'braver' on the battlefield.

Many of today's civil wars are protracted conflicts, lasting decades. In Myanmar, conflicts of varying intensity have been going on for more than five decades. Columbia has seen a guerrilla war for three decades and Afghanistan for two decades. It is no accident that these countries are also major drug producers and the source of refugees and internally displaced persons.

Sadly, in this century political conflicts and violent crime have too often gone hand in hand. The results have often led to an exodus or an expulsion of one people or minority groups as well as the 'production' of refugees and internally displaced persons. In our century, political conflicts and violent crime were often bedfellows. They cohabit when a culture of violence is fostered by military leaders attempting to build unitary nations, or when revolutionary dreamers try to create a new man, or when `ethnic entrepreneurs' mobilize xenophobic fear and revive episodes from history as an instrument of gaining or maintaining political power. The result has often been an exodus or an expulsion of one people or minority group from a heterogeneous population that had managed to live together peacefully in the past.

Migration and crime

After these more general observations on Culture, Conflict and Crime I would like to turn to the links between migration and crime. There are four main connections.

First, crime and especially war crimes are a major factor leading to migration. Second, migrants become the object of criminal smugglers and traffickers in human beings. Third, some migrant groups manifest a higher crime rate than the host population. And finally, culturally different migrant groups become the targets of racist attacks by criminal hooligans and ultra-nationalist parties (Schmid 1995). Let me deal with each of these in turn.

War crimes and migration

War and crime committed during war are by far the strongest push factor for involuntary migration. They have terrorized whole minority groups into fleeing their native land. There are, of course, also other push factors that lead to more or less voluntary migration: bad governance, absence of the rule of law, lack of freedom and prosperity. These make many people decide to leave their country and look for a better life abroad.

When one talks about controlling unwanted immigration, it is important to keep in mind that few people lightly leave their birthplace and all that is near and dear to them in their homeland. There has been a massive — and in many ways problematic — internal migration from rural areas to towns in almost all parts of the world in the second half of our century. Most of the world's mobile population migrates within their country, despite repression or economic hardship. Of the six billion people who now inhabit our planet only between 135 and 140 million people — little more than 2 percent of the world's population — are currently international migrants (Harkema 1998 p. 4).

This figure refers to the 'stock' of migrants, not 'annual

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