For the second time in UN history, a high-level panel will discuss international migration and its potential economic benefits, while aiming to reduce the stigma around foreign workers, dpa reported.
UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson said Wednesday that the discussion - planned for Thursday and Friday - will include delegates from 150 countries, with dozens of ministers among them.
The goal is to identify measures to promote better cooperation between migrants and their host countries with a special focus on protecting human rights.
"At the heart of migration are human beings who move," Eliasson said. "The term 'migrant' describes what they do, but let us remember who they are: human beings with human rights."
European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom, who will represent the European Union, welcomed the initiative and said the EU will have to "redifne" its approach to migration.
"Unleashing the full potential of migration for economic development is one of the great challenges for the 21st century," she said. Peter Sutherland, UN special representative for migration, called migration "one of the great and more toxic issues of our time."
He condemned countries where highly-trained foreign professionals are not allowed to practice their trade due to what he called "protectionism."
"Virtually every developed country in the world ... is doing well out of migrants," Sutherland said. "It's not a cost, it's the opposite."
Eliasson said he hopes the panel will identify goals and guidelines that could be included in the post-2015 development agenda, a set of global objectives that will be decided by the UN in 2015.
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