By Victor Asije
Lagos – The Secretary-General of the United Nations
(UN), Mr Antonio Guterres, has announced the international
organisation’s plan to negotiate a Global Compact on
Migration in 2018.
Guterres said in an article entitled: “Toward a New Global Compact on
Migration,’’ that managing migration had become one of the most
profound challenges for international cooperation.
“This year, governments will negotiate a Global Compact on Migration
through the United Nations.
“This will be the first overarching international agreement of its
kind. It will not be a formal treaty. Nor will it place any binding
obligations on states.
“This is an urgent task. We have seen what happens when large-scale
migration takes place without effective mechanisms to manage it. The
world was shocked by recent videos of migrants being sold as slaves,’’
Guterres said that the compact would recognise and reinforce the
benefits of migration and strengthen the rule of law underpinning
how states manage and protect migrants.
He added that the compact would also address the need for greater
international cooperation to protect vulnerable migrants and refugees,
in line with international law.
According to him, migration powers economic growth, reduces
inequalities and connects diverse societies.
Guterres said that migration was also a source of political tensions
and human tragedies, adding that majority of migrants live and work
The UN scribe, however, noted that minority of migrants were putting
their lives at risk when trying to enter countries where they often
face suspicion and abuse.
“There are nearly six million migrants trapped in forced labour
today, often in developed economies.
“How can we end these injustices and prevent them recurring in future?
“We must aim for a world in which we can celebrate migration’s
contributions to prosperity, development and international unity.
“It is in our collective power to achieve this goal. This year’s
global compact can be a milestone on the road to making migration
truly work for all,’’ he added.
Migration is the movement of people from one place to another. It happens for
a range of reasons, which may be economic, social, political or environmental.
Push and pull factors also drive migration, which can be permanent,
temporary, voluntary or forced.