Govts Inflicting 'Self-Harm' By Blocking Migration -Says UN Chief

Workers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport

Governments that crack down on migrants are only harming themselves, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Thursday ahead of UN talks on a global response to migration boycotted by the United States.

As noted in his report, migrants make an important contribution to worldwide development, both for their work and for sending remittances to their countries of origin. In 2017 alone, migrants sent home approximately $600 billion in remittances, which is three times all official development assistance.

"The majority of migrants live and work legally", said the United Nations chief, noting however, that "others live in the shadows, unprotected by the law and unable to contribute fully to society".

Throughout the world, migration is still poorly managed: this is demonstrated by the humanitarian crises that affect people in the movement and the human rights violations suffered by those living in slavery or in conditions of labor exploitation, he complained.

Furthermore, authorities that erect obstacles to migration, actually end up, inflicting economic self-harm, as they impose barriers to having their labour needs met in an orderly, legal fashion.

The present report has been prepared pursuant to General Assembly resolution 71/280, in which the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to present a report as an input to the zero draft of the global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration and related intergovernmental negotiations.

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"The Global Compact is an opportunity not only for the Member States, but also for the United Nations system to adopt a more ambitious approach for the management of migration", Antonio Guterres said in his report.

"Worse still, they unintentionally encourage illegal migration".

However, the USA will be absent from the event, which aims to adopt a global compact on the issue by December.

The total number of worldwide migrants has grown by 49 percent since 2000 and now represents 3.4 percent of the world's population, according to the United Nations.

Arbour further stated that while much progress has been made in dealing with hard issues around migration, however, the increased understanding has not always been reflected in world public opinion and recent reactions towards global migration have been a cause for concern.

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