UN Chief Calls for Collective Global Response to Migration

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UN Chief Calls for Collective Global Response to Migration

Development & Aid, Featured, Global, Headlines, Human Rights, Migration & Refugees, Population, TerraViva United Nations | Opinion António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, speaking at the launch of his report on Migration UNITED NATIONS, Jan 12 2018 (IPS) – I am very pleased to present this report, “Making Migration Work For All”, which serves as my principal input to the zero draft of the “Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.” UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Credit: UN PhotoThe adoption of this Compact stands as one of our most important collective priorities for 2018. As we look forward to the zero draft, I would like to commend your efforts to date under the wise stewardship of Mexico and Switzerland, aided by the President of the General Assembly and my Special Representative, Louise Arbour. Allow me to express a very deep gratitude to Louise Arbour and her team – your extraordinary contribution was absolutely vital for me to be able to present a report that, I hope, you will find both bold and constructive. We have an opportunity to fashion, for the first time, a truly global response to migration. It is an opportunity to maximize the contribution that millions of migrants are already making to our societies and to agree a set of actions to ensure that the rights of all migrants are fully respected. My report describes the reality of migration today. It outlines what a system of safe, orderly and regular migration could realistically look like. It identifies key challenges and possible solutions. And it calls for more concerted collective action to deal with the unbearable limbo in which many migrants find themselves trapped. Let me emphasize: migration is a positive global phenomenon. It powers economic growth, reduces inequalities, connects diverse societies and helps us ride the demographic waves of population growth and decline. It is also a source of political tensions and human tragedies. But the majority of migrants live and work legally. Unfortunately, others live in the shadows, unprotected by the law and unable to contribute fully to society. And a desperate minority put their lives at risk to enter countries where they face suspicion and abuse. Globally, migration remains poorly managed. The impact can be seen in the humanitarian crises affecting people on the move; and in the human rights violations suffered by those living in slavery or enduring degrading working conditions. It can be seen, too, in the political impact of public perception that wrongly sees migration as out of control. The consequences include increased mistrust and policies aimed more at stopping than facilitating human movement. In my report, I call for us to focus on the overwhelming positives of migration and to use facts not prejudice as the basis for addressing its challenges. Above all, I urge a respectful discourse that places our collective humanity at the centre of the debate. Migrants make a major contribution to international development – both by their work and by sending remittances to their home countries. Remittances added up to nearly $600 billion last year, three times all development aid. The fundamental challenge is to maximize the benefits of this orderly, productive form of migration while stamping out the abuses and prejudice that make life hell for a minority of migrants. States need to strengthen the rule of law underpinning how they manage and protect migrants – for the benefit of their economies, their societies and migrants themselves. Authorities that erect major obstacles to migration – or place severe restrictions on migrants’ work opportunities – inflict needless economic self-harm, as they impose barriers to having their labour needs met in an orderly and legal fashion. Worse still, they unintentionally encourage illegal migration. Aspiring migrants, denied legal pathways to travel, inevitably fall back on irregular methods. This not only puts them in vulnerable positions, but also undermines governments’ authority itself. The best way to end the stigma of illegality and abuse around migrants is, in fact, for governments to put in place more legal pathways for migration. This will remove incentives for individuals to break the rules, while better meeting the needs of markets for foreign labour. It will also aid in efforts to clamp down on smugglers and traffickers and to assist their victims. Simultaneously, development cooperation policies must take human mobility into account. It is essential to provide more opportunities for people to be able to live in dignity in their own countries and regions. Migration should be an act of hope, not of despair. We must also address the drama we witness in mixed flows of refugees and migrants. What happens all too often with these movements represents a humanitarian tragedy and an abdication of our human rights commitments. They are reflective of acute policy failures: of emergency response; of
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On January 14, 2018
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