International Migration Day commemorated


In commemoration of the International Migrants Day, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) organized an event to mark the day with a discussion on “Global Trends of Migration” with a special focus on Africa, on Tuesday December 18, 2012, at the Hilton Hotel.
According to the presentation given, migration is being shaped by multiple pull-and-push factors; among them are economic development and disparities, the existence of migratory networks, access to information, easy access to transportation, armed conflicts, environmental deterioration and human rights violations. “We live in an era of unprecedented human mobility. More people are on the move than at any other time in recorded history; just as importantly, the dynamics of human mobility are not only more complex, they change more rapidly. This is a reflection of global population growth coupled with advances in technology and other developments,” stated William Lacy Swing, Director General of IOM.
In 2010, total international migrants in the World was estimated at 214 million people, showing a huge increase from 191 million in 2005. Internal migrants are estimated to be 740 million; in total, around a billion people or one in seven of the World’s population are migrants. With migration, the issue of human trafficking is always raised. The Global number for victims of human trafficking, including adults and children in forced labor and forced prostitution has remained high, with estimates at 12.3 million in 2010. Even though these victims face extremely harsh realities, sometimes those who migrate legally for work also share a similar fate.
“Attention to the rights of migrants is especially important at this time of global economic and financial distress. As budgets tighten, we are seeing austerity measures that discriminate against migrant workers, xenophobic rhetoric that encourages violence against irregular migrants, and proposed immigration laws that allow the police to profile migrants with impunity. During economic downturns, it is worth remembering that whole sectors of the economy depend on migrant workers and migrant entrepreneurs help to create jobs,” stated Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the UN, in a statement released in commemoration of the day.
But not all sides of migration are negative. “The migration mega-trend is here to stay. In this new world of over 7 billion people, where one in every seven is a migrant, their potential and actual influence is considerable: if the over 200 million international migrants were to form a single nation, they would be the fifth most populous country in the World. Their annual remittances sent back home comprise, on average, more than 400 billion dollars. For many countries, remittances dwarf foreign aid and are greater than foreign direct investment,” stated Swing.
The Director General also stated that finding humane and effective solutions to the complex and multi-faceted challenges of crisis-related migration flows require strong partnerships between international organizations, states and a variety of non-state actors, including NGOs, the media, the private sector, religious groups and transnational diaspora communities.