No fewer than 60,000 migrants have perished in desperate attempts to escape from the difficulties in their countries and have better lives in other countries, mostly in Europe and America.
UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said during a press briefing at the UN headquarters as the General Assembly set to agree on a new global compact on migration that migration is a positive global phenomenon.
Guterres highlighted the “immense potential” of harnessing the benefits of orderly migration and lower the risks facing millions on the move without documentation.
“Migration is a positive global phenomenon. Migrants are a remarkable engine for growth.
“Yet more than 60,000 people on the move have died since 2000 – at sea, in the desert and elsewhere.
“And often, migrants and refugees are demonised and attacked,’’ the UN chief said.
Negotiations on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is expected to conclude on Friday in New York, for formal adoption in December in Marrakesh.
He noted that migrants number more than 250 million around the world, making up three per cent of the global population and contributing 10 per cent of the overall global gross domestic product.
The UN chief said the Compact has three important objectives.
These include reorienting national development policies and international development cooperation to take migration into account and create opportunities for people to work and live in dignity at home.
Another, he said, is to strengthen international cooperation against smugglers and human traffickers as well as to protect their victims.
The UN chief added that “Smuggling and trafficking are criminal activities; migration is not’’.
He called for more opportunities on the part of nations to broaden legal migration adding that many ageing developed countries need migrants to fill crucial gaps in labour markets.
He said climate change and other factors, including simple human aspiration, would continue to lead people to seek opportunity far from their homes.
“If migration is inevitable, it needs to be better organised through effective international cooperation among countries of origin, transit and destination.
“This is important so that we do not leave control of movements of people in the hands of smugglers,’’ he said.
Guterres said the vast majority of the world’s refugees were hosted in developing countries that themselves face constraints.
“This responsibility must be shared globally.’’
The two global compacts are being developed, following the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants in 2016, in which 193 Member States adopted the New York Declaration – an overarching plan to manage large movements of refugees and migrants.
“The two Global Compacts were the product of intense and inclusive consultations bringing together a wide range of actors, including migrants and refugees themselves.
“These agreements show multilateralism in action and give us a strong platform for progress,’’ Gutteres said.