|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
SECRETARY-GENERAL, IN MESSAGE TO MARK MIGRANTS’ DAY, STRESSES ROLE
OF INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION IN ENDING ABUSES
Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message on International Migrants’ Day, to be observed on 18 December:
Migration is a strong expression of an individual’s will to overcome adversity and live a better life. Over the past decade, improved travel and communication facilities have increased the number of people with the desire and capacity to move to other places.
This new era of mobility has created opportunities for societies throughout the world, as well as new challenges. It has also drawn attention to the strong link between international migration and development.
Evidence of migration’s potential benefits is mounting. The estimated $167 billion migrants from the developing world sent back to their families last year easily exceeded the total of international aid. Migrants also use their skills and know-how to transfer technology, capital and institutional knowledge. They form a dynamic human link between cultures, economies and societies.
Unfortunately, the experience of migrants has evolved in less positive ways as well. Rising numbers of migrants are being exploited and abused by smugglers and traffickers. Others suffer discrimination, xenophobia or racism. In some instances migrants are demonized as a burden on their host societies, even when objective assessments suggest otherwise.
International cooperation can play a crucial role in ending such abuse. Last September’s High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development at the UN General Assembly highlighted a core set of priorities shared by UN Member States. These range from ensuring the human rights of migrants and preventing exploitation and people-smuggling to increasing the development gains from international migration and ensuing harmonious relations between communities of diverse origin living side by side within the same society or State.
Many important safeguards are also contained in the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. Yet, most States have yet to adhere to this Treaty. On this International Migrants Day, I urge all Member States who have not done so to sign and ratify the Convention, and, in any event, to provide all migrants with the rights and protection they need and deserve.
Today, more people are affected by international migration than at any other time in history. Let us work together to ensure that this global trend benefits all concerned –- countries of origin and of destination, and the migrants themselves.
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