News in Brief 11 January 2018

11 January 2018

Migration “powers economic growth”, needs “global response”: Guterres

Migration is a positive force for global economic growth, which helps reduce inequality, conflict and misunderstanding.

That’s the passionate belief of UN chief António Guterres, unveiling his milestone report “Making Migration Work For All” at UN Headquarters in New York on Thursday.

The Secretary-General said that facts, not prejudice need to be the focus, to address the serious challenges of millions who are on the move as refugees and migrants.

He pointed out that migrants make a major contribution to international development, with remittances sent home adding up to nearly $600 billion last year, or three times the total of development aid.

Mr. Guterres said the key challenge was to maximize the benefits, while stamping out abuse “that make life hell for a minority of migrants”.

“We have an opportunity to fashion, for the first time, a truly global response to migration. It is an opportunity to maximize the contribution that millions of migrants are already making to our societies and to agree a set of actions to ensure that the rights of all migrants are fully respected…Migration should be an act of hope, not of despair.”

Syrian workers tell UN relief chief they just want their lives back

Displaced Syrian workers who’ve been embroiled in Syria’s “brutal and sustained” war for nearly seven years, told the UN relief chief on Wednesday that their priority is to go home and get on with their lives.

Humanitarian Coordinator Mark Lowcock, on his first visit to the country, was speaking in Homs, where he saw whole districts reduced to rubble.

He said he was particularly concerned about the fate of besieged civilians in Eastern Ghouta near Damascus, and those “trapped in horrendous conditions” throughout Syria’s north-east.

Despite the brutal conflict, he said agencies supported through the UN have reached an average of 7.5 million in need, across the country each month over the past year.

He described some of the conversations he’d had in Homs.

“The top thing they want like people displaced in many conflicts, especially here in Syria, is they just want to go home. They want to resume their lives, get their livelihoods back. I talked in particular to some civil servants, some health workers and teachers. They want to go back home and resume their contribution to building a better society and recover from this terrible trauma that so many people have suffered.”

Somalia envoy calls for calm and dialogue following clashes

The UN's envoy in Somalia has called for calm and dialogue amid reports of clashes between security forces from the self-declared Republic of ‘Somaliland’ and the Puntland region in Somalia.

Michael Keating made the appeal at a joint press encounter on Wednesday in Hargeisa, self-styled capital of ‘Somaliland’, after meeting with President Muse Bihi Abdi for the first time since his election late last year.

Mr. Keating stressed that immediate discussion is needed to solve genuine differences.

“Our position is to try and reduce tensions; to increase dialogue very quickly between both sides, so that if there are misunderstandings, these are clarified.”

The UN envoy added that a priority must be to try and prevent violence of any kind, whether in ‘Somaliland’ or, indeed, between ‘Somaliland’ and other regions.

Matt Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’56”