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The COVID-19 Pandemic Is An Opportunity To Reimagine Human Mobility

Today, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has urged that global efforts to manage the COVID-19 crisis will depend upon public health responses and a comprehensive recovery that include all people. The United Nations Network on Migration welcomes the Secretary-General’s policy guidance, as key lessons that can guide us in advancing safe and inclusive mobility.

COVID-19 is presenting critical challenges for humans everywhere. Restrictions on human mobility are exposing many people on the move to significant risks, impacting their human rights and well-being. But this current environment is also an opportunity to reimagine how migration can be governed in a more humane and effective way, during and after this crisis.  

The Network calls upon the international community to act now upon these recommendations from the Secretary-General. We have a strong framework to do so in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), the cornerstone for international coordination and cooperation on migration. Shared responsibility and innovative solutions are critical to address the challenges and opportunities of migration. As with fighting COVID-19, no country can do this on its own.  

The GCM provides practical solutions to the greatest challenges in migration, now amplified by the pandemic. This includes commitments by states to ensure access to basic services for all migrants regardless of status and generate a more humane perception of migrants and migration. The Network urges all governments to follow suit and has called for efforts to confront a rise in xenophobia, a moratorium on the use of immigration detention and the suspension of forced returns.

Together, we must find solutions where protection of the rights of all people – whoever they are – is accepted. Where fear and xenophobia are discouraged not promoted and where we value and recognize the vital contribution that migrants make to our societies.