Migrants played “crucial role” during Covid and are “champions of resilience”

Robaird O’Cearbhaill
Hong Kong Correspondent

The United Nations-backed International Migrants Day every December 18, on its 21st this year, broadcast the theme “Reimagining Human Mobility” and underlined how “migrants play a critical role in the front lines of our fight against Covid-19, caring for the sick, working to maintain essential services.” Furthermore, their “dedication and entrepreneurial spirit” will be an integral part of the return to normal life, stated Antonio Vitorino, the head of the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM), and they should be rewarded by official integration.

UN Secretary- General, António Guterres, wants a much larger role and inclusivity for migrants and to contribute their skills “at home and abroad.”

“On this International Migrants Day, let us seize the opportunity of the recovery from the pandemic to implement the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, reimagine human mobility, enable migrants to reignite economies at home and abroad and build more inclusive and resilient societies,” Guterres said.

In his encyclical Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis stated similarly on migrants and on Vitorino’s attitudes to integration and support,: “Many migrants have fled from war, persecution and natural catastrophes.” Others, rightly, “are seeking opportunities for themselves and their families. They dream of a better future and they want to create the conditions for achieving it.” Additionally “our response can only be the fruit of a common effort” to develop a form of global governance with regard to movements of migration. Thus, there is “a need for mid-term and long-term planning which is not limited to emergency responses. Such planning should include effective assistance for integrating migrants in their receiving countries, while also promoting the development of their countries of origin through policies inspired by solidarity.”

Vitorino expounded more on how we should treat and regard migrants as to be integrated but treated as equals – the unfairness of inequality is a frequent theme of the Pope. The IOM head said migrants should be brought into “national programming” (for health, Covid vaccines, social services etc ) “not as a special class of people but as friends, neighbours and co-workers. The Global Response to Covid-19 presents a unique opportunity to reimagine human mobility from the ground up, to implement the vision of the Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and build prosperous, healthy and resilient communities. We together can make it happen. Migrants are champions of resilience when times are tough.” (Photo: reporter.world)