The UN on safe, orderly and regular migration

United Nations Information Centre

Sir: On the 18th of December 2017, the world celebrated the International Migrants Day. To mark the day, the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Miroslav Lajcak, organised an interactive, multi stakeholders hearing on the issue of migration across the globe.

The venue was the Trusteeship Chamber at the UN Headquarters, New York. The forum was also a preparatory session for the global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration initiated by the United Nations.

The unprecedented rate of human displacement across the world in recent years, coupled with the increasing scale of xenophobia and slavery, has further accentuated global concerns on the issues of migration. The UN global compact highlights the urgent imperative for a renewed global commitment to the plights of migrants and identify the root causes that propel people to migrate and confront uncertainties.

Dr. Dennis Siyonlo, a panelist at the forum, and the coordinator, Education International, explored a broad society approach to the issues of migration. He affirmed the role of education to create a proper framework for mass education which will help emphasize the dignity and sanctity of human life and help to stop criminalising migrants.

Migrants who have been compelled by harsh economic or political situations to migrate from their homes should not be made to further confront abusive reception, and efforts must be made to reverse the discrimination and exploitation of migrants. We must confront slavery as barbaric and criminal in its entirety, says Dr. Siyonlo.

With the spate of poverty and hopelessness across Africa and some other parts of the world, the current narrative is the reality of people’s disaffection with harsh economic condition and are daily propelled to be on the move to safer havens. Hitherto, the global elite have enjoyed the exclusive privilege of easy mobility while the less privilege are trapped at the mercy of cruel and illicit human traffickers.

This must have precipitated the statement of the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres to admit that “I am a migrant, but didn’t have to risk my life on a leaky boat or pay traffickers. Safe migration cannot be limited to the global elite.”

Very recently, the social media was awash with very gory and sordid images of the inhuman treatment meted out to African migrants in the slave market of Libya. It has attracted condemnation at various levels of government and individual stakeholders.

However, the lessons yet to be learnt from this current despicable phenomenon in Africa are the lack of citizen’s advocacy on the one hand and the failure of African leadership to create a virile and sustainable economic environment to stem illegal migration.

The vices that confront the youth of Africa are so enormous. Ranging from the scourge of youth employment, lack of access to healthcare, poverty and the attendant total loss of self-worth, the youth are daily confronted with frustration, hence the compelling force to face the hostilities and huge risk of illegal migration. This is a serious challenge for African leaders to help stem this ugly trend.

Ajibola Iwayemi is the M official representative for the Centre on Convention for Democratic Integrity (CCDI) at the United Nations, New York.

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