Monday, 18 January 2021

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Migration: Guterres warns of the“self-harm” of erecting barriers

Migrants wait in line to be registered in Berlin, Germany. Photo: UNICEF/Ashley Gilbertson VII

12 January 2018. The United Nations Secretary-General has warned that countries which erect major obstacles to migration are inflicting “economic self-harm” on their economies.

The Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres, has published a report on migration which serves as as an input into negotiations that are underway on a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

At the launch of his report “Making Migration Work For All” at UN Headquarters in New York, 11 January, Mr.Guterres called for a focus on what he called “the overwhelming positives of migrations and to use facts not prejudice as the basis for addressing the challenges.”

António Guterres delivers his report to the General Assembly's meeting on Migration. UN Photo/Mark Garten

“Let me emphasize: migration is a positive global phenomenon,” the Secretary-General said. ”It powers economic growth, reduces inequalities, connects diverse societies and helps us ride the demographic waves of population growth and decline. It is also a source of political tensions and human tragedies.”

According to the report remittances of migrants to their country of origin amount to nearly $600 billion last year, three times all development aid.

“The fundamental challenge is to maximize the benefits of this orderly, productive form of migration while stamping out the abuses and prejudice that make life hell for a minority of migrants,” Mr. Guterres said.

He warned that closing border for migrants did not make economic sense.

“Authorities that erect major obstacles to migration – or place severe restrictions on migrants’ work opportunities – inflict needless economic self-harm, as they impose barriers to having their labour needs met in an orderly and legal fashion. Worse still, they unintentionally encourage illegal migration,” the Secretary General said.

The legally non-binding compact, which according to Mr. Guterres “stands as one of the most important collective priorities for 2018”, is expected to be adopted by the end of the year.

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