Today we are living in a world that is headed towards insecurity and new challenges, unknown and unthought-of before. Reflecting upon the complicated and global nature of today’s challenges, the primary reason why the United Nations (UN) was established, and supported unanimously by the post-World War II nations, was to create an intergovernmental institution to address issues that go beyond national borders, mainly peacekeeping; conflict resolution and the addressing of issues that concerns all, such as poverty, access to basic services and the need for human rights to be respected and valued across states and continents.
As such, the United Nations has always served as a moral voice in the midst of confusion and local interests that typically surround the international political landscape. In many occasions, when political interests have been aligned against the interest of the peoples and their rights, it has always been the UN insisting on the preservation of the international law and advocating for human rights to be fully protected.
One of the grave challenges that threaten us and the planet today is migration. This has become a sensitive issue, specifically throughout the recent years, because of the great movements of people from conflict areas in Northern Africa and in the Middle East. Many of these people have taken very dangerous challenges to Europe and North America in hope of finding safe shelter and the possibility to work for a dignity life; a prospect that has been completely stripped away in their home countries. The current challenges that face in regards to migration should be pointed out in two main categories: (i) First and foremost, any person would like to abandon home, countries, family and everything that might own, willingly, if isn’t absolutely obliged by the circumstances of the country of origin; (ii) Secondly, migration is not by any metric a new phenomenon. It has taken place massively since the beginning of humankind and it has continued until our days. Large populations were displaced throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, which are considered historically as the eras that nationalism had a great importance. Additionally, it was not until after WWI that people were required to have a passport to travel from one country to another. So, by no means having hard borders and extreme control of them has ever been the historic norm, but mostly it has become a modern trend, largely due to the great inequality of wealth and opportunities between the developed countries of the Scandinavia and those underdeveloped of the global south. Naturally, people feel the urge to protect the standards and the society that they live in and isolate themselves, but this urge is irrational.
A global phenomenon with global proportions could not be countered by the will and the struggle of solely one, so migration an issue that has taken international proportions, and for this reason, it requires international framework and coordination to be dealt with. On 19th September 2016 Head of States and Government came together within the UN General Assembly to discuss issues related to migration and refugees. The migration issues squarely in the international agenda, so the 193 UN Member States recognized the need for a
comprehensive approach to human mobility an enhance cooperation at the global level. A step towards this goal, namely the creation of international political and legal framework for migration is “The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (hereinafter GCM)” drafted by intergovernmental experts under the scope of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) signed 18 December 2018 in Marrakesh, Morocco. Although all 193 Un member states had formally agreed to the Compact in July 2018, as of March 2019 only 164 member states have officially signed the Compact. It should be noted that the Global Compact on Migration was not legally binding but serves as a guide; again, a moral voice of the UN.
Most notably is the rejection of the pact by the United States of America and some of the members of the European Union, the largest among them being Austria. This rejection indicates that alongside the positive effects the progress of interconnection and globalization has created, is a great reactionary force that seeks not to find constructive solutions to complicated issues, but solely reject any initiative that seems to tackle global issues in a progressive manner. This seems rather worrying, judging from the fact that in the Mediterranean Sea, as per the statistics provides from IOM, until the mid July 2018, 34,361 lives were lost trying to cross from the shores of Northern Africa into the continent of Europe. Many amongst the casualties were women and children and the death toll is still rising as we speak now. Surely and undoubtedly, some of them might not have qualified as refugees and probably would not have been granted with the permission to reside and live in Europe, but we will never know, because they never got the chance to file their requests; they were deprived of the greatest gift of all, life itself.
Currently, as per the statistics provided by UNHCR there are at least 79.5 million people around the world that have been forced to flee their homes, among them around 26 million refugees in the world that have no legal protected status in the host countries and that face uncertainties beyond what we can perceive. In light of this issue, humanitarian aid has played a key role in preventing and ensuring the survival of local communities in under developed countries that keep the situation of the migration crisis from escalating further.
After 2 years of GCM including now the new global health crisis and climate crises, have driven strong affirmations of allegiance regarding the GCM, by increasing recognition of common ground and clear appetite for much greater partnering, among civil society, business and city actors in particular Again, it is cooperation and openness to the world that facilitates change and solution of problems and not isolation and ignoring them.
Nothing can be challenged alone, and united we stand strong and determined.
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