The Secretary-General of the United States, António Guterres revealed that 280 million people worldwide left their nations to seek greener pastures elsewhere.
In his message to commemorate International Migrants Day on December 18, Guterres said over 80 per cent of the migrants crossed borders in a safe and orderly fashion.
He noted that migrants seek opportunity, dignity, freedom and a better life and are powerful drivers of economic growth, dynamism and understanding.
He however, decried the rate of deaths among those who migrate illegally, noting that “unregulated migration along increasingly perilous routes – the cruel realm of traffickers – continues to extract a terrible cost”.
“Over the past eight years, at least 51,000 migrants have died – and thousands more have disappeared. Behind each number is a human being – a sister, brother, daughter, son, mother, or father.
“Migrant rights are human rights. They must be respected without discrimination – and irrespective of whether their movement is forced, voluntary, or formally authorized.
“We must do everything possible to prevent the loss of life – as a humanitarian imperative and a moral and legal obligation.”
“We must expand and diversify rights-based pathways for migration – to advance the Sustainable Development Goals and address labour market shortages. And we need greater international support for investments in countries of origin to ensure migration is a choice, not a necessity.
“There is no migration crisis; there is a crisis of solidarity. Today and every day, let us safeguard our common humanity and secure the rights and dignity of all.”