We need a positive approach to migration

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Commenting on the importance of International Migrants Day, 18 December 2014, Simon Barrow, co-director of the religion and society thinktank Ekklesia, said:

"We are pleased to use this annual occasion to note the fundamental importance of migration, the enormous benefits it has brought innumerable societies, as well as the genuine challenges that forced or coerced migration causes.

"This is an issue we have been concerned with for many years, arguing that migrants should not be scapegoated for a range of other problems faced by societies in transition; that the core issues of economic and social justice, as well as war, human rights abuses and climate change, are frequently unjustly loaded onto migrants; that discourse about migration is deeply imbued with racist and xenophobic assumptions; that migration is core to the story of religions, not least Christianity; and that policies on migration need to be rooted in humanitarianism, openness to the other, justice, mutuality, and a bias towards enabling rather than preventing the free movement of peoples.

"All this requires proper regulation of capital, armaments and other flows that threaten, marginalise or limit the dignity and stability of persons and communities. It also requires active support for refugees and asylum seekers.

"We have to stop blaming migrants for our fears and woes, and start developing a positive, proactive approach to migration issues."

* International Migrants Day: we need to change our thinking: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/17659

* Migration news and comment from Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/migration

* Migration: 'Why a broader view is needed', by Vaughan Jones. http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/12034

* 'Are immigration controls moral?', by Vaughan Jones. http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/research/280405immigration