Statement delivered by Ambassador Sophia Tesfamariam, Permanent Representative of Eritrea in New York, during the General Debate on International Migration Review Forum
The adoption of the Global Compact for Safe Orderly and Regular Migration in 2018 was a historic outcome of several years-long processes. Eritrea is proud to have actively contributed to the discussions of the New York Declaration and the Global Compact on Migration, based on its firm belief that a well-managed migration is life-saving and benefits migrants and societies in countries of origin and destination.
The success of the GCM lies in its implementation and in that regard, my delegation thanks all that have contributed to the holding of the first International Migration Review Forum (IMRF), including the UN Migration Network (UNMN) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for conducting regional consultations to solicit views of member states. We also congratulate all delegations for their efforts on the progress declaration and we look forward to its consensual adoption later today. Allow me, madam chair, to briefly share Eritrea’s views on migration.
First, Eritrea believes a discussion on migration should recognize the fact that every person deserves the right to better opportunities and prosperity in her/his country of origin. While socio-economic and political issues contribute to pushing citizens out of their countries, in search for better economic and educational opportunities, for many in Africa, external military and economic interventions, destabilization and stocking of regional tensions, remain the most crucial factors. Wars are waged, illegal unilateral sanctions imposed and pressures applied, over nations, who opt for sovereignty over their policies. Any long-term solution for forced migration, therefore, should include ending this exploitative system that has been depriving Africans of their right to peace and development, and draining African human capital.
Second, Migrants are human beings with hopes and dreams. While aiming to realize their dreams, they are faced with difficult and harmful situations that put them in perpetual state of vulnerability. In the past years, worrying reports emerged regarding the mistreatment of migrants in countries of transit and prolonged detention by countries of destination. We have serious concerns about the illegal push back of migrants, including migrants carrying boats in the Mediterranean Sea, putting many innocent lives in danger. We are also concerned about illicit schemes such as offshoring, where some states aim to establish migrant processing locations in geographically faraway places. Such actions are a violation of international law and an affront to the dignity and rights of migrants.
Third, migrants are agents of development, yet, very often, they lack access and recognition for their contribution. We must ensure migrants’ rights to contribute to development in their countries of origin and destination as well as to maintain their cultural connection with their countries of origin, while receiving adequate support for their integration and equal access and opportunities in their countries of destination.
Fourth, we continue to witness disturbing acts of racism and xenophobia committed against migrants and diaspora communities. We find it unacceptable that in an age of information, disinformation and negative narratives continue to inform peoples opinion on migrants and migration. Governments and the media should not only condemn racism but play a leadership role by demonstrating equal treatment of migrants and sharing positive narrative in the media.
In conclusion, recognizing international cooperation as a crucial means of achieving safe, orderly and regular migration, underpinned by the recognition of migrants rights, regardless of their migration status, Eritrea will continue its cooperation with the IOM, its engagement with the Khartoum Process, and the new Horn of Africa Initiative, and remains ready to work with all countries to realize these goals.