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UN chief says migration is ‘inevitable’

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The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres hosts a meeting of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation organised in Helsinki, Finland, on June 18, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Lehtikuva / Vesa Moilanen / Finland OUT

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday that migration, which is currently posing serious challenges to political leaders around the world, was “inevitable”.

The topic is being hotly debated across Europe and in the United States. In recent days, migrants have been shunted around the Mediterranean, three European countries have formed an ‘axis’ against clandestine immigration, and the US administration is under fire for separating the children of illegal immigrants from their parents.

Countries have the right to adopt their own immigration policies “provided obviously that they respect the human rights of migrants and that this is done in a way in which international cooperation becomes much more relevant than what has happened until now,” Guterres told reporters in Lorenskog, near Oslo, on the sidelines of an annual forum gathering peace mediators.

“Migration is a phenomenon that is inevitable,” he stressed.

Guterres gave the example of his own 95-year-old mother who, he said, is cared for around-the-clock by migrants in his native Portugal.

“I never met a Portuguese (person) taking care of my mother. It’s always migrants and it is clear for me that migration is a need,” he said.

“And if migration is a need, then it’s better to organise it, it’s better to regulate it, it’s better to make it happen in a way in which countries cooperate with each other and in a way in which there is a win-win situation for everybody, especially for so many migrants that are now in desperate conditions,” he said.

The international community is scheduled to meet in Marrakech on December 10-11 for a conference on migration issues, which is expected to lead to the adoption of a global pact on safe and regulated migration.


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