Throughout human history, migration has been a courageous expression of the individual’s will to overcome adversity and to live a better life. Today, globalization, together with advances in communications and transportation, has greatly increased the number of people, who have the desire and the capacity to move to other places.
This new era has created challenges and opportunities for societies throughout the world. It also has served to underscore the clear linkage between migration and development, as well as the opportunities it provides for co-development, that is, the concerted improvement of economic and social conditions at both origin and destination.
Migration draws increasing attention in the world nowadays. Mixed with elements of unforeseeability, emergency, and complexity, the challenges and difficulties of international migration require enhanced cooperation and collective action among countries and regions. The United Nations is actively playing a catalyst role in this area, with the aim of creating more dialogues and interactions within countries and regions, as well as propelling experience exchange and collaboration opportunities.
2020 Theme: Reimagining Human Mobility
Migrants contribute their knowledge, networks, and skills to build stronger, more resilient communities. During the past months, migrants have been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19. Their work in health, transportation and food services made our lives under lockdown more bearable.
However, like many who find themselves living on the margins of society, migrants are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 through job losses, evictions and discrimination. Millions of migrants are stranded, often without income or shelter, unable to return home due to COVID-19 mobility restrictions, and they also face increased risks of trafficking and exploitation.
The pandemic cannot be used as an excuse to rollback commitments to promote and protect the rights of migrants regardless of their legal status. It cannot become an excuse for the increased use of detention, often in overcrowded conditions, and the forced return of migrants to their countries of origin without due process, in many cases in violation of international law.
People on the move hope for a brighter future. It is our collective responsibility to create a safer, more resilient world.
Migration should be a choice, not a necessity. On #MigrantsDay, let’s reaffirm our commitment to safe and dignified migration for all.