Safe migration needs strengthened international cooperation – UN Chief


Launching his second report on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, Secretary-General António Guterres said that if poorly managed, migration generates huge challenges, including “the tragic loss of life, to rights abuses and social tensions”.

The UN Secretary-General said that migration is a fact of life, a defining feature of humanity and our world, and above all, a positive phenomenon enriching societies and economies.

The UN chief said that effectively managing migration and protecting their rights, requires “strengthened international cooperation”.

“The Global Compact reflects the commitment of the international community to make migration work for all – to make it a source of prosperity and solidarity, not a byword for inhumanity,” he stated.

The UN chief commended all who have helped migrants integrate into host countries, facilitated regular pathways, and advanced collaboration between countries of origin, transit and destination.

However, he underscored that “much more can and should be done”.

Mr. Guterres’ outlined report recommendations that encompassed four priorities, beginning with promoting inclusive societies and include migrants in Covid-19 response and recovery efforts.

Despite playing an “outsized heroic role” in frontline response and providing a “vital lifeline” for families with scarce resources through their remittances, migrants are often excluded from recovery measures and denied access to basic services.

Moreover, many experience growing stigmatization, racism, and xenophobia.

As women and child face higher risks of trafficking along with gender-based violence, abuse and exploitation, others are forcibly returned, “with insufficient regard to health risks, due process or procedural safeguards”, he said.

It is imperative that all governments better protect migrants’ human rights, break down barriers for access to essential services, expand migration pathways and suspend forced returns, he added.

Although over 80% of the world’s migrants move between countries in a safe and orderly fashion, unregulated migration continues to extract a terrible human cost.

“Large migration flows today are essentially managed by smugglers and human traffickers. This is totally unacceptable,” said Mr. Guterres, stressing the need for safe and regular migration.

He painted a grim picture of “these criminals” robbing people of their fundamental rights, stealing their dreams, and causing serious problems around the world, with women and girls targeted again and again.

The only way to break the stranglehold of smugglers and traffickers is to establish pathways for regular migration in close cooperation between countries of origin and destination, according to the UN chief.

“We must better protect migrants in vulnerable situations, including those affected by disasters and the climate crisis…expand and diversify rights-based pathways for regular migration to address labour market shortages, and advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

He said more needed to done “to ensure returns and readmissions are safe, dignified and in full accordance with obligations under international law”.

All governments must also work together to ensure their safe and sustainable reintegration into home communities, he added.

In the last seven years, nearly 50,000 migrant deaths have been recorded across the world, although the actual numbers are higher.

“Behind each number is a human being,” said the UN chief, outlining the priority of preventing loss of life and other tragedies during migration, and ending the exploitation of the vulnerable.

Calling their deaths “a source of collective shame”, the UN chief said it is a humanitarian imperative and a moral and legal obligation to eliminate smuggling and human trafficking. (Source: UN News)