Human migration is “a powerful driver of economic growth, dynamism and understanding,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres has said, in his message commemorating International Migrants Day, marked on 18 December.
The UN chief explained that migration allows millions to seek new opportunities that benefit communities of origin and destination alike.
However, he pointed out “when poorly regulated, migration can intensify divisions within and between societies, expose people to exploitation and abuse, and undermine faith in government.”
“This month, the world took a landmark step forward with the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration,” he continued, referring to the first-ever UN global agreement on a common approach to international migration.
“Backed with overwhelming support by the membership of the United Nations, the Compact will help us to address the real challenges of migration while reaping its many benefits,” elaborated the UN chief, calling the Compact “people-centered and rooted in human rights.”
“On International Migrants Day, let us take the path provided by the Global Compact: to make migration work for all,” he concluded.
Also marking the day and drawing attention to the peril that so many migrants face, the UN Migration agency, IOM, said that close to 3,400 migrants and refugees have died worldwide this year so far.
In an appeal for respect and dignity for people who choose or who are forced to leave their homes, IOM Director General Antonio Vitorino said it was also time “to respect and listen” to those who are frightened of the “changes that migration brings to their lives”.
On 19 September 2016, the General Assembly adopted a set of commitments during its first ever Summit on Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants for their protection. These commitments, known as the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, reaffirms the importance of the international protection regime and represents a commitment by Member States to strengthen and enhance mechanisms to protect people on the move and paved the way for the landmark Compact.