Wednesday, 22 November 2017

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Just laws, justly enforced key to managing migration flows

Migrants Mediterranean MOAS rescue UNHCR Giuseppe Carotenuto

22.6.2017 – A crisis of migration governance at all levels continues to unfold, United Nations Special Representative for International Migration, Louise Arbour, told the European Parliament yesterday.

During a high level conference on migration management, ahead of the European Council meeting set to start today, United Nations representatives, along with members of the European Commission and Parliament, gathered to discuss migration challenges and opportunities.

Root causes, irregular migration, returns and integration were some of the topics on the front burner, requiring a collective, global response that in many cases has been lacking so far.

Louise Arbour Special Representative Migration UN Photo Mark Garten“In 2017, more than 2,400 women, men and children have lost their lives on migratory routes worldwide – more than 70% in the Mediterranean”, Special Rapporteur Arbour reminded the parliament. “ While the legal status of refugees is clear, one cannot conclude that others on the move do so voluntarily or are primarily motivated by economic reasons.”

Challenges linked to migration are likely to be one of the dominant themes during the European electoral campaign of 2019.

“The EU is set to face a shortfall of one million health workers, while thousands of vacancies remain unfilled in the field of information technology”, said the Special Representative, and called on the European Union to step up action to counter xenophobia and promote the successful integration of migrants.

While EU leaders seem to agree about the need to put an end to the exploitation of migrants, implementing concrete measures or proceeding with the relocation of refugees remains a matter of discord. In total, 160,000 people in need of international protection should be identified for relocation to European Member States. As of 9 June, however, only 20,869  relocations had been carried out in total.

The Special Rapporteur stressed the need for the Global Compact on migration, set to be adopted in 2018, its role being to facilitate safe, orderly and regular mobility.

“It is neither about curtailing migration, nor stopping it”, said Ms Arbour. “When we address the drivers of migration we need to recognize the strong pull factors that contribute to the choice of destination. These include the underground economy which for many provides sufficient promise.”

“Our common objective should be to increase a variety of legal pathways to regular migration, thereby enhancing public trust in state capacity to manage domestic labour markets including through the essential input of migrants”, she said. “ Facilitating access to regular migration through expanded opportunities for labour mobility, as well as for family reunification and for education, will reduce the need for many to migrate through irregular channels, while meeting a clear need for labour in many societies.”

 

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