‘There Is No Migration Crisis’, Only Crisis of Solidarity, Secretary-General Says on International Day, Acknowledging 51,000 Migrants Who Died Seeking Better Life

Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for International Migrants Day, observed on 18 December:

On this International Migrants Day, we reflect on the lives of the over 280 million people who left their country in the universal pursuit of opportunity, dignity, freedom and a better life.

Today, over 80 per cent of the world’s migrants cross borders in a safe and orderly fashion.  This migration is a powerful driver of economic growth, dynamism and understanding.

But unregulated migration along increasingly perilous routes — the cruel realm of traffickers — continues to extract a terrible cost.  Over the past eight years, at least 51,000 migrants have died and thousands more have disappeared.  Behind each number is a human being — a sister, brother, daughter, son, mother, or father.

Migrant rights are human rights.  They must be respected without discrimination and irrespective of whether their movement is forced, voluntary or formally authorized.

We must do everything possible to prevent the loss of life — as a humanitarian imperative and a moral and legal obligation.  We must provide for search and rescue efforts and medical care.  We must expand and diversify rights-based pathways for migration — to advance the Sustainable Development Goals and address labour market shortages.  And we need greater international support for investments in countries of origin to ensure migration is a choice, not a necessity.

There is no migration crisis; there is a crisis of solidarity.  Today and every day, let us safeguard our common humanity and secure the rights and dignity of all.

For information media. Not an official record.