UN chief calls for protection of rights of 232 million migrants

By staff writers
December 19, 2014

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has called on the global community to affirm the right and necessity of migration on International Migrants Day.

“We live in the ‘age of mobility.’ International migration is a major global trend an estimated 232 million people live outside their countries of birth,” he declared.

Young people aged 15-24 represent about one-eighth (28.2 million) of global migrant population, and they are a considerably larger proportion of those currently migrating.

The United Nations Secretary-General emphasised that, “The intersection of migration and youth remains a large, inadequately addressed challenge for governance in countries worldwide and at the international level.”

Migration and Youth: Challenges and Opportunities, a publication released by The Global Migration Group, notes that young people’s motivations to migrate are often linked to the search for decent livelihoods due to lack of employment and/or under-employment, indecent working conditions and poor economic prospects in countries of origin.

Furthering education, family reunification and escaping from regions affected by war, persecution, humanitarian crises or natural disasters are also important motives for migration. In many cases, gender-based discrimination, including gender-based violence or restrictions on women’s rights, is another reason for migration.

Globally, approximately 1.5 billion people currently live in fragile states or areas affected by conflicts, the majority of them are under the age of 30. Youth, often the most vulnerable segment of society, are frequently affected disproportionately by conflict, persecution, or environmental threats.

“Migration is an expression of the human aspiration for dignity, safety and a better future. It is part of the social fabric, part of our very make-up as a human family,” the Secretary-General said in his remarks on International Migrants Day 2014.

Released in 2013, The United Nations World Youth Report offers a broad understanding of the situation of young migrants from the perspective of young migrants themselves. The report highlights some of the concerns, challenges and successes experienced by young migrants based on their own lives and told in their own voices. The report focuses largely on the phenomena of international migration which increasingly has a significant impact on the origin, transit and destination countries and communities. The consequences are complex, context-specific and subject to change over time. The Report has been drafted in an interactive manner, allowing you to navigate chapters individually.

* Read the full Migration and Youth: Challenges and Opportunities publication (*.PDF Adobe Acrobat document) here: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002277/227720e.pdf

* International Migrants Day: we need to change our thinking

* More on migration from Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/migration

* "We need a positive approach to migration" - Ekklesia statement: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/17659

* Migration: 'Why a broader view is needed', by Vaughan Jones (2010). http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/12034

* 'Are immigration controls moral?', by Vaughan Jones (2005). http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/research/280405immigration

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