Tuesday, 21 November 2017

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“Migration is not only inevitable, but also necessary and desirable”

Gustave Deghilage / Manifestation pour le droit des migrant-e-s / Flickr 2.0 Generic CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

18 December 2014 – On this International Migrants Day, IOM Director-General William Lacy Swing calls for urgent action to save the lives of migrants, stop smugglers from exploiting their desperation, and address the drivers of irregular migration.

While the share of international migrants in the world population remains constant at around 3 per cent, the number of displaced people is the highest since World War II, with 33.3 million people internally displaced and 16.7 million refugees.

Additionally, 2014 was the deadliest year on record, with double the number of last year’s deaths. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), some 5,000 migrants lost their lives this year at sea or in remote deserts and mountains, with the highest death toll in the Mediterranean, where over 3,000 people drowned. Those who survive often face exploitation and discrimination.


IOM 2014


That’s why the IOM wants to see better access to safe, regular migration. This includes promoting labour migration partnerships and family re-unification, providing clear information about the risks of irregular migration, and supporting community stabilization and job creation efforts in countries of origin.

"Many are deprived of their liberty, rather than met with empathy and necessary protection," says UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. "Persistent discrimination against migrants generates sharp inequalities, threatens the social fabric and, all too often, leads to violent and deadly attacks."

Counter the worrying rise of xenophobia

The IOM Director General also calls on countries to pass laws to crack down on the smugglers, not on the irregular migrants.

"The international community must work together to change the actual migration narrative to something more positive, focusing on what migrants contribute to their host countries, as well as their countries of origin, which benefit hugely from the remittances they send home."

"Migration is not only inevitable, but also necessary and desirable", Swing adds. "Societies are ageing in the North, while in the South, young populations are growing. The rise of anti-migrant sentiment is a cruel irony at a time when ageing societies need migration to provide much-needed labour."

Adressing the factors driving migration

But Director General Swing also stressed that the factors driving migration must be addressed, including an unprecedented number of man-made crises in the world, Ebola impacting the economies of West Africa, climate change and extreme weather events.

"On International Migrants Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to shape diverse and open societies that provide opportunities and lives of dignity for all migrants," Ban Ki-moon concluded.


'7 Billion Others' celebrates International Migrants Day


Read also…

"Rich countries must not become gated communities"

IOM deplores cuts in the efforts to save migrants on the Mediterranean

Migrants: removing the stigma

 

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