World

Govts inflicting ‘self-harm’ by blocking migration –says UN chief

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Governments across the world are inflicting needless economic self-harm by creating barriers to migration, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday.

Guterres, the former UN High Commissioner for Refugees, once again made case for countries to step up routes to legal migration in his address to the UN General Assembly.

“Authorities that erect major obstacles to migration or place severe restrictions on migrants’ work opportunities inflict needless economic self-harm.

“As they impose barriers to having their labour needs met in an orderly, legal fashion, worse still, they unintentionally encourage illegal migration.

“The best way to end the stigma of illegality and abuse around migrants is, in fact, for governments to put in place more legal pathways for migration,’’ Guterres added.

The comments could be seen as a jab at U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration, which had been taking steps to crack down on migration.

The U.S. announced in December it would pull out of the UN’s global refugee pact as some of its provisions were inconsistent with Trump’s immigration policies.

The U.S. agreed to take part in the compact under former president Barack Obama, but the terms of the UN declaration are in conflict with many of Trump’s migration and refugee policies.

Guterres was presenting his report of recommendations for the UN’s Global Compact on Migration, which he hopes would be adopted by participating UN Member States in 2018. (dpa/NAN)

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