António Vitorino, Director General of the UN migration agency, posted a speech for International Day of Migrants (December 18) on YouTube. He warned against the politicization of migration and called for acknowledgment of migrants' contributions to society.
The IOM on International Migrants Day on December 18 recalled that over 59 million were internally displaced by the end of 2021.
Due to a lack of safe and legal migration pathways, millions continue to take perilous journeys each year. Since 2014, more than 50,000 migrants have lost their lives on migratory routes across the world, the IOM said in a statement.
"This Migrant's Day I want us all to reflect. Reflect on what it truly means to be a migrant," said IOM Director General António Vitorino in a message on YouTube.
"They are the people who have been a cornerstone of development and progress, who have enriched communities and societies since the dawn of time. And they are the same people who too often have suffered, have been stranded, abused, exploited, and discriminated against," he said.
'We can't let the politicization of migration divert us from the values that matter most'
Vitorino warned against populist narratives and a politicization of migration.
"We can't let the politicization of migration, hostility and xenophobia towards migrants, and divisive narratives and hate speech divert us from the values that matter most: community, solidarity, tolerance, diversity."
Conflict, insecurity, and the effects of climate change are among -- but not the only -- reasons why many people have been forced to move.
"People move for many reasons and in many ways. But, regardless of what compels people to move, their rights, their human dignity, must be respected and their contributions must be acknowledged," Vitorino underscored.