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  • Statement by Mr. Yemane Gebreab Special Political Advisor to the President of the State of Eritrea During the High Level Meeting on Large Movement of Migrants and Refugees New York 19 September 2016

Mr. Chairman,

Excellencies,

Eritrea has played an active role in the preparations for this “Summit for Refugees and Migrants” because we believe it is an issue of vital importance for all peoples and nations of the world.

In Eritrea’s view, our goals must be:-

1. To agree on the need and importance of, and provide meaningful avenues for, legal, safe and regular migration. It really is incongruous that in an increasingly globalized world, where much is done to advance the movement of goods and finance, human mobility is stridently opposed and essentially blocked. This needs to change as much of the current crisis and suffering could be significantly reduced by means of safe and orderly migration.

2. To protect and promote the rights and dignity of all migrants and to provide them with opportunities for education, skills training and jobs, without which they cannot lead a life of dignity.

3. To address the main perennial drivers of migration, including forced migration, which are growing global inequality, poverty and lack of development, violation of fundamental freedoms, as well as wars and conflict; and to take cognizance of other significant drivers such as demographic and climate change.

Eritrea believes that every nation has primary responsibility to provide a safe, secure and dignified life for its citizens in their country and to enable them to pursue opportunities in other countries. However, nations, and in particular developing nations, need support and solidarity to address the daunting challenges of ensuring peace and sustainable development. Meaningful global efforts are required to make our world more equal, fair and just. The propensity to seek unilateral economic, financial and trade advantages at the expense of developing countries, the resort to the violation of international law and national independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty in the pursuit of power politics, the imposition of unjustified pressures and sanctions must be firmly resisted. On the issue of refugees care must be taken to refrain from exploiting their plight and suffering against select countries in the pursuit of political goals and away from humanitarian considerations.

Mr. Chairman,

Given the fate of previous summits and solemn declarations, including on migration, it is understandable that many are skeptical about the outcome and impact of this gathering. It is, therefore, imperative that at the national and global arenas, at the level of governments, national institutions as well as regional and international organizations, we all shoulder our responsibilities to end the suffering associated with migration, to protect and promote the rights of migrants and to welcome human mobility as an integral and desirable feature of our globalized world.

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