Eritrea’s Statement on Migration and Development

Statement by H.E. Mr. Osman Saleh Mohammed Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Eritrea during United Nations High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, New York – 3-4 October 2013.

Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh at 68th UN General Assembly

Mr. President,

Excellencies and Distinguished delegates,

At the outset, I would like to congratulate you, Mr. President, for organizing this High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, and I wish to thank the Secretary-General also for his report.

My delegation associates itself with the statement delivered by Fiji on behalf of Group 77 and China.

Many of the global issues that we try to address at the United Nations have their own complexities and implications to the policies and actions that we would like to undertake. Equally, “International Migration and Development” is no less complex. I am convinced that this high level dialogue will allow us to duly assess the progress and challenges of international cooperation on migration and development.

Mr. President

Migration has always been part of human condition. Today, people’s movement affected and effected by faster and better communication and transportation systems have created a web of interdependence and interconnectedness rendering international migration a complex issue with overarching global policy implications. A world situation suffering from rising youth unemployment, unresolved conflicts, political and economic crisis, changing climatic conditions, global economic inequalities and political inducements are among the contributing factors to the current rapid mobility of people from many countries and regions.

International migration is a multidimensional reality of major relevance for the development of origin, transit and destination countries and we should not shy away from addressing it head on, so that it also becomes a positive force for the post-2015 MDGs. The linkage of Migration to development is dynamic and we should be able to address the challenges and opportunities that it presents. My delegation believes that building on its positive implications for countries of origin, transit and destination is a way forward. To do this, reliable statistical data on international migration is needed, including where possible on the contributions of migrants to development in both origin and destination countries.

Mr. President,

International migration is not without its own problems or perils, as we heard this morning of the tragic and sad incident in Lampedusa (Italy). I wish to extend my condolences to the families of the victims. Many migrants are facing death, violence, horror, abuse, exploitation, and are becoming subjects of organ harvesting by organized criminal elements. Human trafficking ought to be combated in all its manifestations and we need to cooperate and build a common front by fully implementing the United Nations Global Plan of Action on Human Trafficking.

While the introduction and consolidation of coordinated policies for the safe, orderly and legal migration is vital in reducing the vulnerabilities of migrants, I wish to stress that it is important that irrespective of the status of the migrants, they need to be allowed to live in dignity and security and that their basic rights are respected, including issuance of residence and work would greatly benefit to the theme under discussion. Integration policies ought to be considered and reinforced. Involuntary or forced repatriation cannot be acceptable. Their right to voluntary return and reintegrate to their country of origin must also be respected without any interferences or impediments from any quarter.

As a commitment to the protection of Eritrean migrants from abuse, including xenophobia and racism, Eritrea has signed 7 out of the 8 core Conventions of the ILO. The 8th Convention is in process and the ILO Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers is already submitted for ratification to the competent body.

Mr. President,

Eritrea has a relatively large Diaspora polulation. In 2007, a dedicated department has been established to Eritreans living overseas within the Ministry of Foreing Affairs in addition to the existing diplomatic structures within its Embassies and consular missions. The role and contribution of Eritreans abroad in the struggle for Independence has laid out the foundation for their active participation in the social, political, and economic development of the country. There has been a long history of changing the road map from brain drain to brain gain as several professional Eritreans in the Diaspora were involved in the movement for liberation. Eritreans in the Diaspora enjoy the rights of full citizenship, including the right for representation in the national assembly, own properties and open businesses. Eritreans in the Diaspora support their families through remittances and a significant number of them fulfill the 2% “Recovery and Rehabilitation Tax”, promulgated by the National Assembly in 1995. There are however, some campaigns in some countries that want to impede these contributions of Eritreans in Diaspora by politicizing it. Diaspora’s rights to contribute to poverty alleviation and to the overall sustainable development programs ought to be enhanced not impeded.

 

Mr. President,

In conclusion, our major challenge is how best to consolidate and maximize the benefits of migration and mitigate its effects. Closer international cooperation aimed at enhancing the contribution to migrants in development is needed today more than any time before. I would like to express my delegation’s commitment to an effective and inclusive agenda on international migration that integrates development and that strengthens existing institutions and frameworks at all levels.

Thank You, Mr. President

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