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THE IMPERATIVE FOR FAIRER, SMARTER AND MORE HUMANE MIGRATION
Endorsed by the 133rd IPU Assembly
International migration in today’s world presents multi-faceted challenges and opportunities. It has become an increasingly complex global phenomenon, which involves mixed migration flows comprising migrant workers, asylum-seekers and individuals who move for a combination of reasons, as well as those who are known as “survival migrants”.
The root causes of forced migration are often foreseeable. These include armed conflict, violent extremism, extreme poverty, food insecurity, climate change, forced enrolment in State and non-State armies and militias, harmful traditional practices and gender-based violence. These complex and sometimes novel challenges result in additional risks, especially human trafficking and migrant smuggling, with more and more people found in distress at sea and in deserts. Girls are subjected to particular risks, such as torture, sexual slavery, forced labour and other forms of abuse, both in transit and in destination countries.
This situation calls for action. This action must be guided by the principle that migrants are not numbers, but human beings. As rights-bearers, they are to be treated with dignity and with respect for their human rights, regardless of their motive for leaving their homes or their status as regular or irregular migrants.
We recall that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development urges us to ensure that migration is regulated in an “orderly, safe, regular and responsible” manner. For this purpose, governments must adopt well-managed migration policies that enable migrants to fully develop their potential to contribute to human and economic development.
Migration is an opportunity. We recognize that migration yields significant benefits for host countries and countries of origin, as well as for individuals, families and communities. Destination countries benefit from the diversity that migrants bring: new skills, a much-needed workforce, new contributions to their economies and the opportunity to counter the economic challenges posed by ageing populations. But host societies also face challenges in ensuring fair working conditions for all, as well as social cohesion through appropriate schemes of integration. As far as countries of origin are concerned, they benefit from remittances, investments from diaspora networks and from the newly-acquired skills and experiences of returning migrants, but they also have to cope with the challenges of “brain drain” and separated families, which may result in children being left without proper care.
Migration should be safe. Persons fleeing persecution require special legal protection as refugees. In a context of mixed migration, it is important to ensure that asylum-seekers have an opportunity to lodge their claims and be duly heard. The return of persons whose asylum claims have been rejected after a full and fair hearing, and of irregular migrants, must be conducted in a safe and humane manner, with due respect for the principles of non-refoulement and prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, while also upholding the best interests of the child and the right to respect for private and family life.
Similarly, migrant women and children require particular attention and protection from abuse, exploitation and violence. Migrants working in the informal sector require particular social and legal protection, given their vulnerability to exploitation and abuse in such situations.
Migration must be constructive. The social integration of migrants and refugees is best ensured when host countries provide children and young adults with unhindered access to education, and ensure access to employment, health and social services to all, while authorizing family reunification is made possible. Mutual respect for cultural differences is a shared responsibility of host societies and migrants, on the understanding that everyone is bound to respect the laws of the land and is entitled to enjoy his or her human rights. We must recognize the contribution of migrants to our societies, and must enact specific legislation to prohibit discrimination and combat xenophobia.
Migration is a reality. An understanding of the push and pull factors of migration calls for expanding safe and regular channels of migration. In addition, the current situation in the Mediterranean and in other parts of the world and the prevalence of migrant smuggling and human trafficking, as well as xenophobia, call for urgent, coordinated and robust action to save lives, show solidarity and mitigate the effects of sudden and large migration flows.
We parliamentarians have a particular responsibility in this area. We must demonstrate political leadership, listen to and voice the concerns of our constituents, raise awareness, oversee government action and support it, inter alia, by adequately resourcing the responsible bodies. We must also promote the common interest and respect for human dignity and rights above all considerations. This will require redoubling efforts and commitments, and working together across regions, countries, political parties and communities to ensure fair and concerted responses to this global phenomenon.
As parliamentarians, we commit to working towards fairer, smarter and more humane migration, Including through the following action:
Building and implementing a protective legal framework
Ensure fairness, non-discrimination and respect for the human rights of migrants
Work for social cohesion, and peaceful and inclusive societies