UN: Migration can help ailing economies out of financial crisis
Countries affected by the global financial crisis should remain open to migrant workers who can help boost their ailing economies amid the economic slowdown, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday.
Ban said he was "deeply concerned" that more than 200 million migrant workers around the world were adversely affected by the economic slowdown, as labourers in badly hit sectors such as construction and tourism start to lose their jobs, dpa reported.
"Today, we face a cascade of national financial crises throughout the world," he told the Global Forum on Migration and Development in Manila. "Almost none of our economies is insulated."
"Given these developments, it would be naive to think the current crisis will have no effect on the movement of people across borders, and on how our public perceive migration and the migrants in their midst," he added.
Ban warned that migration flows were already reversing as companies inevitably cut back on investments.
"In several instances, we are seeing a net outflow from countries facing economic crises," he said. "There is also mounting evidence of a significant slowdown in remittance flows. And in several countries, the political discourse on immigration has become discouragingly negative, heightening the risk of discrimination."
Ban called for greater cooperation among countries of origins of migrant workers and their destinations to protect their rights so they can further help the economies of their host nations.
"Migration can and should be a tool to help lift us out of this economic crisis," he said. "Human mobility makes our economies more efficient, even when they are not growing by ensuring that the right skills can reach the right places at the right time."
"Human mobility also helps redress the enormous imbalances that have led to harsh economic inequality," he added. "This inequality, both within and across borders, is one of the most dangerous realities we need to confront. International migration can be a force for good in this respect."
Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said the global financial crisis highlights the need to protect migrant workers not only from economic shocks but also from side effects such as exploitation and abuse.