Global economic downturn putting migrants at risk: Ban

December 18th, 2008 - 7:54 pm ICT by IANS  

United Nations, Dec 18 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stressed that migrants were highly vulnerable to the global economic crisis.”The world’s more than 200 million migrants are especially vulnerable to the financial downturn shaking the global economy,” Ban said on the occasion of the International Migrants day.

“The crisis in markets has put them (migrants) at greater risk of destitution, stigmatization, discrimination and abuse. Reports of layoffs and lower remittances only begin to tell the story of the human suffering that this crisis has wrought,” he said in a statement issued to the press.

“Moreover, migration policies are growing ever more restrictive. We continue to see the criminalisation of irregular migrants. And all too often, migrants are being dealt with primarily from the perspective of security.

“There is a growing tendency in many parts of the world to subject them to mandatory or prolonged detention, even though human rights law says that detention should be the exception, not the rule,” Ban added.

To save migrants from abuse, and allow them to contribute to development in their home and receiving countries, people must acknowledge them as human beings whose rights, like those of everyone else, must be protected, the secretary-general said.

“The best way to do this is to reaffirm the fundamental role of international human rights law as a framework to govern national and international policy.”

Ban also said in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “we should recognise that, regardless of an individual’s immigration status, fundamental human rights are non-negotiable, and the treatment of migrants, regular and irregular alike, must always conform to international standards.”

“I urge all member states to become parties to the international convention on the protection of the rights of all migrant workers and members of their families, which is the most comprehensive international framework on this issue.

“People will continue to move from one place to another to live and work. Only by ensuring their protection can we live up to the declaration’s recognition that the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,” he said.

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