United Nations: Migration, declaration on trafficking adopted


More than 100 countries have endorsed a statement calling on governments to step up efforts for safe and orderly migration, to crack down on human smuggling and trafficking, and to ensure that migrants are respected and receive health and care. ‘other services.

The 13-page declaration was adopted by consensus by UN member countries attending a four-day meeting to consider the first international agreement dealing with migration. The Global Compact was endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2018, and participants at this week’s meeting recommended that the 193-member global body also endorse Friday’s declaration in the coming months.

Assembly Speaker Abdulla Shahid said many migrants leave their countries to find work while others are forced to leave due to violence, poverty, environmental degradation and of climate change.

“Whatever their situation, the international community has a responsibility to ensure that the human rights of all those involved are respected,” he told a news conference on Friday.

The statement expresses concern “that progress in facilitating and harnessing the benefits of safe, orderly and regular migration is slow and uneven in many areas” and stresses that “increased efforts are needed on the part of Member States to develop ambitious national responses for the implementation of the Global Compact.

Antonio Vitorino, director general of the International Organization for Migration, told a press conference ahead of the adoption that there are several areas where “an extra push” is needed to make the vision of the Global Compact a reality: “respect for human rights, access to basic services, alternatives to the detention of migrants and, above all, I insist, saving the lives of migrants.

The statement said that no less than 281 million people were international migrants in 2020 worldwide, of which 48% were women and girls and 15% were under the age of 20. It recognized “the value and dignity of the work of all migrant workers everywhere” and said it had transferred more than US$751 billion in remittances, which are “an essential source of support for families and communities. to their country of origin.

The 34-page pact addresses all aspects of migration – why people leave their countries of origin, how to protect them, integrate them and cooperate to bring them home safely. Its principles include recognizing the sovereignty of nations and reaffirming that migrants have the same human rights as all other peoples which “shall be respected, protected and fulfilled at all times”.

The pact has 23 goals “for safe, orderly and regular migration” which aim to strengthen cooperation in the management of legal migration and discourage illegal border crossings.

These range from technical issues such as data collection, ensuring that migrants have proof of their legal identity and promoting a faster and safer transfer of income from migrant workers, to issues such as the prevention and eradication of trafficking, access to basic services for migrants and the use of immigration detention “only as a measure of last resort”.

Vitorino said 15,000 migrants have died “in dangerous and perilous migration tragedies” since the adoption of the Global Compact.

“We believe it is necessary to intensify some rescue operations, especially for migrants crossing the sea, desert and jungle,” he said.

“We have a number of hotspots and know where the problems are,” Vitorino said, pointing to the Gulf of Aden, the central Mediterranean and the jungle of Darien Gap, the inhospitable strip of land that separates Colombia. and Panama.

“We need to be more efficient in opening up regular channels for migration,” he said. “It is the real alternative to let migrants be subject to traffickers and smugglers, because trafficking and smuggling is the most heinous attempt against the fundamental rights of migrants.”

The top UN migration official said all migrants move in vulnerable conditions, but some are more vulnerable than others, including women and girls who have been “particularly prone to abusers, gender-based violence and rape”.

The statement said migrants continue to struggle to obtain humanitarian assistance, including search and rescue efforts at sea and medical care, “which creates and exacerbates situations of vulnerability”.

“Limited progress has been made in distinguishing the activities of smuggling networks from the provision of assistance of an exclusively humanitarian nature to migrants along perilous routes and in other situations where their life or safety is at risk” , did he declare. “In many cases, the provision of such assistance has been deemed illegal.”

In the statement, the governments said they are committed to eliminating all forms of discrimination targeting migrants, including racism, xenophobia, stigma, hate speech and hate crime. They also pledge to protect freedom of expression and “to respect, protect and fulfill the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants”.

Vitorino said the statement provides guidelines for action “and we are ready to work over the next four years to make a difference, every day, to improve outcomes, thinking above all about the millions of lives of migrants. which depend on international protection and cooperation.”

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