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UN Secy Gen says

Migration shouldn't mean suffering

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12th-Jan-2018       
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UNB, Dhaka :
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called joint efforts to have a world in which they can celebrate migration's contributions to prosperity, development and international unity.
"It's in our collective power to achieve this goal. This year's global compact can be a milestone on the road to making migration truly work for all," he said mentioning that migration should not mean suffering.
The UN chief said migrants make a major contribution to international development by sending remittances to their home countries and remittances added up to nearly $600 billion last year-three times all development aid.
"The fundamental challenge is to maximise the benefits of this orderly, productive form of migration while stamping out the abuses and prejudice that make life hell for a minority of migrants," Guterres said in an op-ed 'Towards a new global compact on migration,' a copy of which UNB obtained from UN's Dhaka office.
Secondly, he said, States need to strengthen the rule of law underpinning how they manage and protect migrants - for the benefits of  
their economies, their societies and the migrants themselves.
He said, authorities that erect major obstacles to migration - or place severe restrictions on migrants' work opportunities - inflict needless economic self-harm, as they impose barriers to having their labour needs met in an orderly, legal fashion.
The UN chief said managing migration is one of the most profound challenges for international cooperation in our time. "Migration powers economic growth, reduces inequalities and connects diverse societies. Yet, it's also a source of political tensions and human tragedies."
He observed that the majority of migrants live and work legally but a desperate minority is putting their lives at risk to enter countries where they face suspicion and abuse.
This year, governments will negotiate a Global Compact on Migration through the United Nations.
"This will be the first overarching international agreement of its kind. It won't be a formal treaty. Nor will it place any binding obligations on states," he said.
Instead, Guterres said, it is an unprecedented opportunity for leaders to counter the pernicious myths surrounding migrants, and lay out a common vision of how to make migration work for all our nations.
"This is an urgent task. We've seen what happens when large-scale migration takes place without effective mechanisms to manage it. The world was shocked by recent video of migrants being sold as slaves," he said.
The UN chief said aspiring migrants, denied legal pathways to travel, inevitably fall back on irregular methods. "This not only puts them in vulnerable positions, but also undermines governments' authority."
He said, the best way to end the stigma of illegality and abuse around migrants is, in fact, for governments to put in place more legal pathways for migration, removing the incentives for individuals to break the rules, while better meeting the needs of their labour markets for foreign labor.
"States also need to work together more closely to share the benefits of migration, for example through partnering to identify significant skills gaps in one country that migrants from another are qualified to fill," said the UN chief.
Guterres laid emphasis on greater international cooperation to protect vulnerable migrants, as well as refugees. "We must reestablish the integrity of the refugee protection regime in line with international law."
He said they must fulfill the basic obligations to safeguard the lives and human rights of those migrants that the existing system has failed.
"We must take urgent action to assist those now trapped in transit camps, or at risk of slavery, or facing situations of acute violence, whether in North Africa or Central America. We have to envisage ambitious international action to resettle those with nowhere to go," Guterres said.
He further said, "We should also take steps - through development aid, climate mitigation efforts and conflict prevention - to avoid such unregulated large movements of people in future."

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