Ban calls for measures to protect rights of migrants

posted in: Africa

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon – Photo: UN


New York, US – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for the implementation of measures that protect the rights of millions of migrants as well as recognise their contributions to society.

Ban made the call Thursday at the UN General Assembly High-level Dialogue on Migration and Development, adding: “It is our collective responsibility to make migration work for the benefit of migrants and countries alike. We owe this to the millions of migrants who, through their courage, vitality and dreams, help make our societies more prosperous, resilient and diverse.”

The UN chief also used the event to express his sadness over reports that scores of African migrants may have been killed or gone missing when their boat capsized off the coast of Italy.

“I offer my deep condolences and hope that we all take this as another spur to action,” Ban said.

The Secretary-General, who presented his report on International Migration and Development to the delegates, recommended eight key recommendations to “make migration work” for all.

They include protecting the human rights of migrants who are frequently the subject of abuse and exploitation, lowering the cost of migration, and changing public perception of migrants, as many face discrimination on a daily basis.

The report also stressed the need to find ways to integrate migration in the development agenda, improve data collection on migrants and the impact they have on development, and enhancing migration partnerships so governments, the private sector and civil society can share ideas and knowledge on mobility.

“Given the complex realities countries face, including the recent global economic crisis, it is essential for nations to work together, with courage and vision, recognising that our actions will have an impact on the lives of millions of women, men and children across the globe,” the UN chief said.

Also speaking, UN General Assembly President John Ashe said member states should learn from their experiences from the past seven years, when the first high-level meeting on the issue took place and move from dialogue to action.

“This means setting realistic targets, committing to implementation and monitoring progress. In short, we must hold ourselves accountable in following up our dialogue.

“We need to redouble our efforts to ensure that the contributions of migration are not only apparent to us, but also to the public at large. We have an important responsibility to get the message right,” he added.

At a press briefing after the opening of the meeting, the UN Special Rapporteur on the protection of migrants, Mr. Francois Crepeau, highlighted the human dimension of migration, stressing migrants should not bee seen as agents of global remittances only.

“Migrants are human beings with human rights, not simple agents of economic development remittances,” he said.

PANA reports that the two-day dialogue seeks to identify concrete measures to strengthen cooperation and enhance the benefits of international migration for migrants and countries, while reducing its negative implications.

The event will feature presentations by UN member states and panel discussions on specific issues such as the links between migration and sustainable development, and labour mobility and its impact on development.

According to the UN, there are some 232 million international migrants.

A World Bank latest global remittance figures showed that migrants from developing countries alone are expected to send home US$414 billion in 2013, a 6.3 per cent increase from the previous year. The figure is projected to rise to US$540 billion by 2016.