Joint Statement on Mediterranean Crossings

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for International Migration and Development Peter Sutherland, and Director-General of the International Organization for Migration William Lacy Swing

  

Source:

Gregory A. Maniatis (EMAIL)
Apr 23, 2015  

A tragedy of epic proportions is unfolding in the Mediterranean. We, the undersigned*, strongly urge European leaders to put human life, rights, and dignity first today when agreeing upon a common response to the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean. 

The European Union is founded on the fundamental principles of humanity, solidarity and respect for human rights. We urge EU Member States to demonstrate moral and political leadership in adopting a holistic and forward-looking action plan centred upon these values.

The European Union response needs to go beyond the present minimalist approach in the 10 Point Plan on Migration, announced by the EU on Monday, which focuses primarily on stemming the arrival of migrants and refugees on its shores. As a paramount principle, the safety, protection needs, and human rights of all migrants and refugees should be at the forefront of the EU response. EU leaders must look beyond the present situation and work closely with transit and origin countries both to alleviate the immediate plight of migrants and refugees and address in a more comprehensive way the many factors that drive them to resort to such desperate journeys by sea. Enforcement alone will not solve the issue of irregular migration, but could increase the risks and abuse faced by migrants and refugees.

We would therefore encourage bold, collective action to expand the range of measures under consideration to include:

  • Setting in place a State-led, robust, proactive, and      well-resourced search-and-rescue operation, urgently and without delay,      with a capacity similar to Mare Nostrum and a clear mission      to save lives.
  • Creating sufficient channels for safe and      regular migration, including for low-skilled migrant workers and      individuals in need of family reunification, and access to protection      where needed, as safe alternatives to resorting to smugglers.
  • Making a firm commitment to receive significantly      higher numbers of refugees through EU-wide resettlement, in addition to      current quotas, and on a scale which will make a real impact, combined      with other legal means for refugees to reach safety.
  • Bolstering arrangements to support those countries      receiving the most arrivals (Italy, Malta, and Greece) and to      distribute responsibility more equitably across the European Union for      saving lives and protecting all those in need.
  • Combatting racist and xenophobic rhetoric vilifying      migrants and refugees.

*Peter Sutherland, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for International Migration and Development

António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees; 

William L. Swing, Director-General of the International Organization for Migration; 

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

MEDIA CONTACTS 

SENIOR ADVISOR TO SRSG SUTHERLAND

Gregory Maniatis  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. +1 917 609 8777

UNHCR

GENEVA

Adrian Edwards, UNHCR Spokesman,   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. +41 79 557 9120

William Spindler, UNHCR Senior Comms Officer,  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. +41 79 217 30 11

PARIS

Philippe Leclerc, UNHCR Paris Representative,  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. +33 1 44 43 48 50

LONDON

Andrej Mahecic, UNHCR UK Spokesperson,  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. +44 78 802 30 985

WASHINGTON DC

Brian Hansford, UNHCR US Spokesperson,  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. +1 202 999 8253

ROME

Carlotta Sami, UNHCR Southern Europe Spokesperson,  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. +39 335 679 4746

IOM MEDIA CONTACT

Joel Millman  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.+41 79 103 8720

OHCHR MEDIA CONTACT

Rupert Colville  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.+41 22 917 9767 

Source: 

Gregory A. Maniatis (EMAIL)
Apr 23, 2015

 

European Leaders Urged to Strengthen ‘Minimalist’ Approach to Mediterranean Migration Crisis

Source:

By NICK CUMMING-BRUCE
The New York Times

migrantsfromafrica04 24 2015
Migrants from Africa, rescued 40 miles off the shore of Libya, arrived in Sicily on Wednesday.CreditLynsey Addario for The New York Times

GENEVA — United Nations officials joined a leading relief agency on Thursday in exhorting European leaders to improve their planned response to the Mediterranean migration crisis and address root causes of the surge of people risking death at sea to reach Europe.

“A tragedy of epic proportions is unfolding in the Mediterranean,” they said in a statement released in Geneva, as European ministers prepared to hold an emergency meeting on the crisis in Brussels. “The European Union response needs to go beyond the present minimalist approach in the 10 Point Plan on Migration.” The European ministers agreed to that plan on Monday.

The statement was issued by António Guterres, the United Nations high commissioner for refugees; Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, its high commissioner for human rights; Peter Sutherland, its special representative for international migration and development; and William L. Swing, director general of the International Organization for Migration, a 157-member intergovernmental group based in Geneva.

Their plea reflected what one United Nations official called an attempt to influence a debate that appeared to be driven by short-term political expediency at the expense of humanitarian principles. The 10-point plan outlined at the start of the week called for enhanced search and rescue efforts in the Mediterranean but put the emphasis on border protection and action against traffickers rather than addressing the causes of the crisis or the plight of migrants.

“As a paramount principle, the safety, protection needs, and human rights of all migrants and refugees should be at the forefront of the E.U. response,” the United Nations and International Organization for Migration officials saidThursday.

April is already the deadliest month on record in terms of migrant deaths. There have been more than 1,300 fatalities in the Mediterranean, bringing the total to more than 1,776 so far this year, the United Nations refugee agency has reported. This is roughly half the number who perished at sea in all of 2014.

“The worry clearly is that the European response doesn’t look as if it will be sufficient by a long way and we will see more deaths,” a United Nations official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment. “If you think you can close the gates to people fleeing war and repression, then you are clinging to a fantasy.”

More than 219,000 people crossed the Mediterranean seeking entry to Europe in 2014, a record. While the political discourse on migrants labels most as people seeking a better life, the United Nations refugee agency says half of them were fugitives from conflicts in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East, mayhem in Somalia and an abusive dictatorship in Eritrea.

“It is clear there are push factors as well as pull factors,” Volker Turk, the assistant head of the refugee agency, said earlier this week. “In our assessment, the push factors are much stronger.”

The statement on Thursday called on Europe to begin a “robust, proactive and well-resourced” search and rescue mission in the Mediterranean, to create channels for safe and regular migration and to make a firm commitment to take in significantly higher numbers of refugees.

“These are ideas that have been around for 20 years, but the E.U. isn’t doing them, and politics and xenophobia keep getting in the way,” said Rupert Colville, a spokesmen for Mr. Hussein.

Source:

By NICK CUMMING-BRUCE
The New York Times 

 

How To Channel Migrant Remittances To Deliver Growth

Source:

Asian Development Blog
http://blogs.adb.org/blog/how-channel-migrant-remittances-deliver-growth
By Mayumi Ozaki
17 April 2015

Photos ADB 2011 SGP LL 1090607
Migrant workers from South and Southeast  Asian countries contribute to manpower needs in developed countries, and to their home countries by sending remittances. A laborer works on a construction project in Singapore.

Over the past decade, many developing countries have made substantial progress toward reducing poverty, and remittances sent by migrant workers have hugely contributed to this progress.

In ADB’s developing member countries, remittances nearly tripled from $92 billion in 2005 to $246 billion in 2013. This huge flow of remittances helped reduced poverty levels, mostly through increased spending on food and other essential items, housing, and education. It is estimated that remittances helped reduce the poverty level by 1.5% in Bangladesh, 5% in Indonesia, and 2% in Viet Nam from 2000 to 2005.

The remittances growth is a reflection of high worker migration from developing countries to wealthier economies such as those in the Middle East. Migration and remittances have grown rapidly, however, with little or nosupport from the public sector or from donor agencies which have few projects to directly support migrant workers and remittances.

Moreover, we in fact know little about remittances beyond the headline numbers. How are they transmitted? How exactly do migrant worker households spend that money? How can we better channel remittances to reduce poverty? Have remittances really contributed to inclusive, sustainable economic growth in receiving countries? And above all, how can governments make use of remittances to create more domestic job opportunities, and thus reduce the need for so many workers to leave?  

ADB recently hosted the Forum on Promoting Remittances for Development Finance to find answers to those questions. The discussions covered issues like impact on economic growth, household investments, access to finance and technology innovations, and investments. Here are a few takeaways:

  • Remittances can contribute to economic growth if the receiving household saves or puts the money into the formal financial system which would channel the money into  public and private investments.
  • Households spend most of the remittances they receive. In Bangladesh, 84% of remittances is consumed. Only 14% is saved, mainly due to transaction costs such as fees to open a bank account, lack of trust in financial institutions, regulatory barriers like official identification documents that many poor people lack, a dearth of information and financial literacy, social constraints, and behavior barriers. Studies suggest more financial education helps households to save more.
  • To channel remittances for investments, it is essential to expand access to formal financial services. Digital finance has an enormous potential to capture remittances in the formal financial system. In Bangladesh, only 15% of the population has access to banks, but 60% have mobile phones. “bKash,” the mobile-based banking service offered by the country’s BRAC Bank, has 15 million registered customers and daily transactions worth $26 million. Digital finance can help include poor people in the formal financial sector, and enable them to save and invest in financial assets.
  • Capital market instruments such as diaspora bonds and securitization of future flow of remittances are available to capture remittances for investments on a national level. In Africa, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Kenya raised $400 million, $20 million and $154 million, respectively, through sovereign bond issuances targeting non-resident nationals willing to contribute part of their savings to their home countries. To tap diaspora investments, though, countries should develop the right structure, marketing and distribution channels, and build long-term relationships with the target investors.

So what is the way forward? The forum identified three potential areas for support:

  1. Improving financial education.
  2. Expanding digital finance.
  3. Promoting remittance-linked capital market instruments.

Both the public and the private sector, including donors, must think about concerted assistance in these areas. For example, governments can promote financial education for migrant workers before they go abroad. Donors can support developing financial sector infrastructure IT systems such as core banking system, e-payment and networks to promote digital finance. They can also help develop enabling legal and regulatory frameworks for remittance securitization and diaspora bonds. More essentially, governments and donors must have a vision to leverage remittances to develop viable local industries to generate local employment opportunities, so in the long run workers can find good jobs at home rather than migrate out of necessity.


Source:

Asian Development Blog
http://blogs.adb.org/blog/how-channel-migrant-remittances-deliver-growth
By Mayumi Ozaki
17 April 2015

 

Metropolis Professional Development in Ottawa, Canada on 22-26 June 2015 - REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN


Source: 

Daniel Cervan Gil
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

mpd06 22 2015

 

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