UN chief urges action on undocumented migration: 'Cruel realm of traffickers'
'We must do more to break the stranglehold of smugglers and better protect migrants,' says Antonio Guterres
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres sounded the alarm Thursday about the dangers of undocumented migration to those seeking a better life abroad, imploring nations to act against exploitative smugglers.
Addressing the first-ever International Migration Review Forum, Guterres said one in five migrants find themselves in the midst of "the cruel realm of traffickers," which, he said, continues "to extract terrible costs."
"We must do more to break the stranglehold of smugglers and better protect migrants in vulnerable situations, in particular women and girls," he told the UN General Assembly.
"Thousands of migrants still die every year pursuing what we all pursue: opportunity, dignity and a better life. And we must do more to prevent the loss of life as a humanitarian imperative, and the moral and legal obligation," he added.
The forum is being used to review progress on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), which was adopted in 2018, and to take collective action to further bolster the pact.
Guterres implored nations to view migration "not solely as a problem to fix," but rather as a "potential solution to many of the challenges we face."
"Migration is a fact of life. In fact, it is as old as human life itself. But too often, it has been poorly managed, uncoordinated, misunderstood, and vilified," he said. "Migrants are part of our societies -- they must be part of the renewed social contract that I called for in my report on Our Common Agenda to enable individuals, States and others to build trust, increase participation, and strengthen social cohesion."
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