PPD Statement on Migration by Dr. Joe Thomas, Executive Director of PPD at the General Assembly – Seventy First Session, UN Headquarters, 21 September 2016

Honorable President of the General Assembly, Excellences and the delegates,

Let me congratulate the house for   considering the “New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants”, by the General Assembly on addressing large movements of refugees and migrants. Partners in Population and Development (PPD), an inter-governmental alliance of 26 developing countries, representing more than half of the world population, fully endorses the “New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants”. We place our appreciation on record for a successful and inclusive process of intergovernmental negotiations leading to the adoption of a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration

The history of civilization is founded on population mobility.  People move from one place to another for many reasons including for better economic opportunities, or to escape violence, poverty, food insecurity, persecution, discrimination, terrorism, or human rights violations or protracted effects of climate change and natural disasters.  Today human mobility is growing at a rate faster than the world’s population. In 2015 alone their number surpassed 244 million.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, fully recognizes the positive contribution made by migrants for inclusive growth and sustainable development. The benefits and opportunities of safe, orderly and regular migration are substantial and are often underestimated. Large trans- national movements of refugees and migrants have political, economic, social, developmental, and humanitarian and human rights ramifications. The complex challenges emanating from forced displacement and irregular migration in large movements are visible in many parts of the world today.

These global phenomena call for global approaches and global solutions and require collective commitment and action by nations. No one State can manage such movements on its own.  Neighbouring or transit countries, mostly developing countries, are disproportionately affected. Their capacities have been severely stretched in many cases, affecting their own social and economic cohesion and development. On the other hand desperate refugees and migrants are forced to take great risks, embarking on perilous journeys, which many may not survive.

Mr. President,

PPD strongly reaffirms, that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, and that everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law. Despite our obligations under international law which prohibit discrimination of any kind on the basis of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, or national or social origin, yet increasingly xenophobic and racist responses to refugees and migrants are commonly experienced in many parts of the world. We strongly condemn acts and manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance against refugees and migrants.

We acknowledge the general assembly’s commitment to mainstream a gender perspective, promote gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls and fully respect and protect the human rights of women and girls. PPD reaffirms its commitment to work with member countries to combat sexual and gender-based violence to the greatest extent possible, and facilitate access to sexual and reproductive healthcare services.

The declaration underlines the multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination against refugee and migrant women and girls. Recognizing the significant contribution and leadership of women in refugee and migrant communities, it urges the international community to work towards ensuring their full, equal and meaningful participation in this effort. PPD also urges all countries to address the vulnerabilities of migrants and refugees to HIV and the specific health-care needs, including sexual and reproductive health needs the development of local solutions and opportunities.

Global community must commit to combating xenophobia, racism and discrimination in our societies against refugees and migrants, and take measures to improve their integration and inclusion, as appropriate, and with particular reference to access to education, health care, justice and language training.

Mr. President ,

Partners in Population and Development (PPD) is fully committed to the spirit of “New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants”. It would foster intergovernmental efforts in pushing the agenda for adoption of a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration. In particular, we will facilitate this commitment, in the frame work of South to South Partnership, through greater support for Capacity building, encouraging commodity & technology transfer, policy and advocacy/dialogue, knowledge sharing , developing partnership and population diplomacy.

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