February 2022

UN Secretary General says on migration: We can do better, and we must

The Secretary General’s report on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, issued ahead of the first International Migration Review Forum, sets out progress and challenges: both how States and the UN system have shown that they can do better, and also where they must go further.

 In his conclusion he says:

The human rights of migrants and the prosperity and well-being of communities should be at the centre of all that is done. This includes meaningfully engaging migrants and host communities, including children and young people, in decisions that concern them. Today’s world is more interdependent than ever and faces intractable and unpredictable challenges, which are undermining the social contract upon which collective peace and progress depend. More stable, equitable and just societies cannot be built and such challenges cannot be overcome if the participation, contributions or well-being of some are ignored. In particular, narratives that depict migrants solely in terms of the perceived benefits that they bring, as a burden or, worse, as a threat, deny them dignity and agency. They also expose them to discrimination and danger and are contrary to the overwhelming evidence that migration contributes to shared prosperity.

We welcome the strong thread through the report on the centrality of rights and dignity for all migrants regardless of status. We will work to see this reflected in the IMRF’s Progress Declaration. We also appreciate the emphasis on migrant participation, which we explore in more detail in our Migration Justice and the GCM briefing paper series.

The priority areas for accelerated action identified in the report provide focus and framing for the coming discussions and deliberations:

  • Promoting inclusive societies and including migrants in COVID-19 response and recovery
  • Promoting safe and regular migration
  • Preventing loss of life and other tragedies during migration
  • Building capacity

We echo the importance of these topics which relate closely to the four priority issues we identified for the International Migration Review Forum:

Guaranteeing a human rights based approach to post-COVID migration governance and upholding the rights of migrants in future pandemic preparedness

  1. Ending lethal disregard for migrants
  2. Dismantling systemic racism in migration governance
  3. Reducing situations of vulnerability and ensuring protection

On International Migrants’ Day in December, a pledging initiative was launched. We welcome the first pledges and look forward to seeing what concrete action States and others commit to in order to step up their action to implement the GCM.

We will work with this report as we support human rights based pledging to accelerate national implementation and work towards an IMRF Progress Declaration that lifts up these concerns and helps deliver on the GCM’s promise of people centred migration governance.





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