Secretary-General calls for greater protection of rights of migrants

1 December 2011

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on countries to work together to protect migrants’ rights, adding that they are an important force with an increasing influence in the global economy.

“Even in this weak global economy, migrants continue contributing to their home States,” Mr. Ban said in a video message to the Global Forum on Migration and Development in Geneva, Switzerland. “Remittances are even higher than foreign direct investment (FDI) in many developing countries.”

Mr. Ban stressed the importance of protecting them as they face serious threats in many countries. “Too many migrants face exclusion, discrimination and violence,” he said. “The recent fighting in North Africa showed how vulnerable migrants can be.”

The two-day forum, which ends tomorrow, is the largest platform for dialogue on international migration and development where countries can discuss emerging migration and development issues.

Mr. Ban said the forum had already made progress by advancing initiatives aimed at reducing the cost of remittance transfers, empowering migrants, and making it possible for them to eventually return home.

“We can help migrants move safely and legally. We can protect their rights. We can encourage their contributions to the countries that they left, and the countries where they live,” he said.

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