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COPENHAGEN, 18 December 2017 – Today’s observation of International Migrants Day is an opportunity to build momentum towards adopting a strong global compact at the United Nations next year, said Chair of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Ad Hoc Committee on Migration Filippo Lombardi (MP, Switzerland).

The negotiations on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, as well as the Global Compact on Refugees, should take into account the need for a comprehensive approach to human mobility and enhanced co-operation at the global level, Lombardi said today. He noted that the OSCE has an important role to play, pointing out that the principles of human rights and international co-operation that are at the heart of the OSCE’s founding documents are central to the New York Declaration that UN Member States agreed to in September 2016.

“International co-operation on migration does not undermine sovereignty or infringe on the ultimate right of governments to determine their immigration policies,” Lombardi said. “Global challenges require global solutions and we need all countries to do their part in establishing a comprehensive co-operative approach to migration that shares responsibility equitably.”

He added that policymakers must honestly assess the political mistakes of recent years, which have resulted in the destabilization of many African and Middle Eastern countries, emphasizing that only such a straightforward approach can lead to solving the crisis. He further stressed the need to prioritize a humanitarian approach.

“The international community must mobilize resources to address the deplorable conditions that migrants and refugees at times must endure, including in detention centers and alleged slave trading on the Libyan migrant route. We must support the emergency evacuation mechanism of migrants and step up voluntary returns from Libya,” he added.

There is also an urgent need to provide support for stabilization programmes aiming to promote reintegration of migrants, socio-economic development, and governance at the local level, Lombardi said. He stressed that returns to Libya must be accompanied by an oversight mechanism to ensure that migrants’ rights are protected in co-ordination with relevant international bodies.

Last October, the Ad Hoc Committee on Migration issued a set of observations and recommendations, stressing the urgency for the international community to address the dire situation for migrants and refugees attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea. OSCE participating States cannot allow a handful of countries – such as Greece, Italy and Turkey – to deal with the problems alone, the report said.

The Ad Hoc Committee’s report was the result of a year and a half of extensive field visits, meetings with key international actors, and deliberations. More information about the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s migration-related work can be found here.