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Migration is a positive global phenomenon: UN chief

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday urged governments to view migration as a positive global phenomenon and to refrain from establishing barriers to international legal migration.

“Let me stress that migration is a positive global phenomenon: it stimulates economic growth, reduces inequality, connects different societies and helps us take advantage of demographic waves of population growth and decline,” Guterres said. at an informal meeting. the United Nations General Assembly.

Migrants make an important contribution to international development, both for their work and for sending remittances to their home countries, he said, noting that remittances totaled nearly $ 600 billion. last year, three times more than development.

States must strengthen the rule of law that underpins the way they administer and protect migrants for the benefit of their economies, societies and the migrants themselves.

Authorities that create significant barriers to migration or impose severe restrictions on employment opportunities for immigrants cause unnecessary economic difficulties, as they impose barriers to meeting their labor needs in an orderly and legal.

“Worse still, they inadvertently encourage illegal migration, and budding migrants, who are denied legal travel, inevitably resort to irregular methods, not only by putting them in vulnerable positions, but also by undermining the authority of the authorities. governments. “

The best way to end the stigma of illegality and abuse against migrants is, in fact, that governments implement more legal channels for migration, he said.

“This will eliminate incentives for people to break the rules, while better meeting the needs of foreign labor markets.” It will also help suppress smugglers and traffickers and help their victims. “

Migration is also a source of political tension and human tragedy, the secretary general said.

“Most immigrants live and work legally, unfortunately, others live in the shadows, without legal protection and unable to contribute fully to society, and a desperate minority risk their lives to enter countries where they are suspected and abused.

The Secretary-General said the consequences include increased mistrust and policies aimed more at stopping than at facilitating human movement.

“I ask that we focus on the positive aspects of migration and that we use the facts without prejudice to meet their challenges, and above all I demand a respectful speech that places our collective humanity at the center of the debate”, he declares.

He stressed the need to address mixed flows of refugees and migrants and also urged all member states to participate openly and actively in future negotiations.

A blow to the global initiative, US President Donald Trump decided in early December to end his country’s participation in negotiations on the Global Compact on Migration, arguing that the initiative was inconsistent with immigration and immigration policies. refugees from the United States. United and the immigration principles of his administration.

The United States is home to the largest number of international migrants in the world.