UN: Migration poorly managed, uncoordinated, misunderstood, vilified

This Dec. 24, 2020 photo shows passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
The STAR / KJ Rosales, file

MANILA, Philippines — With an estimated 281 million international migrants worldwide, migration is a fact of life, but it has too often been poorly managed, uncoordinated, misunderstood and vilified, according to the United Nations.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday addressed the official opening of a meeting to review progress toward implementing the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, adopted by governments in 2018.

The first International Migration Review Forum examined the interplay between migration and broader concerns, including the COVID-19 pandemic, conflict, development finance and climate emergency.?

While commending efforts to improve the lives of migrants, such as helping them to integrate into host countries, Guterres noted that these measures are too often the “exception and not the norm.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has painfully demonstrated how far we still are from realizing rights-based, child-sensitive, and gender-responsive governance of international migration for all,” he said.

Globally, there are an estimated 281 million international migrants who have left their home countries for travel, work, or other opportunities, or due to conflict, poverty, natural disasters or other crises.

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“Migration is a fact of life but too often it has been poorly managed, uncoordinated, misunderstood and vilified,” Guterres said.

“Today, over 80 percent of the world’s migrants move between countries in a safe and orderly fashion.??But unregulated migration – the cruel realm of traffickers – continues to extract a terrible cost,” he added.

The UN chief underlined the humanitarian, moral and legal imperatives for safe and orderly migration as thousands still die each year in the pursuit of opportunity, greater dignity and a better way of life.

“We must do more to break the stranglehold of smugglers and better protect migrants in vulnerable situations, in particular women and girls,” he said.

Countries must also expand and diversify what Guterres called “rights-based pathways for migration” and ensure that returns and readmissions are safe and in full accordance with international law.

The Global Compact, he said, represents the international community’s resolve to put human rights into practice to transform how we understand and manage migration.

He added that migrants are a part of society and must also be part of the renewed social contract, outlined in his “Our Common Agenda” report, to build trust, increase participation and strengthen social cohesion.

“The Global Compact speaks to the heart of the mission of the United Nations.?It is a global response to a global phenomenon for which we need to be much better prepared,” Guterres said.

He also highlighted support for member states through the UN Network on Migration, which has established a mechanism to contribute technical, financial and human resources toward the Compact’s implementation.

The four-day International Migration Review Forum began last Tuesday and concluded Friday.

Guterres urged participants to secure?a strong political outcome through actionable pledges and strong monitoring and follow-up mechanisms.

“Let us keep up the momentum as we work together for a safer and more prosperous future for us all, including migrants,” he said.

The Philippines reiterated its commitment to implement the GCM, especially through the Migration Multi-Partner Trust Fund or the Migration MPTF, which the Philippines actively supports as donor, recipient and founding member of the steering committee.

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