migrants should not be seen as a problem iom
Migrants are people first, who should not be seen as a problem, says Amy Pope, head of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). She believes valuing their human life, recognizing their dignity is the key.
Pope, the first woman to become Director General in IOM’s 72-year history, said migration will not end anytime soon. “Migration is a transformational force that can facilitate innovation, drive development and catalyze economic empowerment. It is one of the defining issues of our time.”
The newly appointed executive said IOM cannot do this alone. It needs coordinated effort and a plan of action.
280 Million Migrants Worldwide
Pope said millions of people from Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe were being impacted by conflict, persecution, climate shocks and politics to other countries. Last month, the IOM said the situation underscores the urgent need for the immediate collective involvement of governments from origin, transit and destination countries to provide humanitarian assistance.
It said the most significant trend has been the shift by Cuban migrants and those coming from African nations. These migrants are increasingly choosing air routes to reach Central America. “Only 4,100 migrants from Africa crossed the Darien between January and July 2023, a 65 percent decrease from the same period in 2022; Honduras by contrast saw a staggering 553 percent increase in arrivals from African nations to 19,412 people through its southern border.”
Pope said there are 280 million migrants worldwide. “There have been tens of millions of people who are on the move just this year because of climate impact. There are hundreds of millions more who live in extremely climate vulnerable communities.”
Migrants in Search for Better Life
The IOM Director General pointed out that whether its climate change, conflict, or inability to find a job, or a future at home, or politics, more and more people are looking for a better life somewhere else in the world. She called for more regular and realistic pathways for people.
Pope said economies that recorded a significant influx of migrants over the years saw that people tend to be better off as a result of migration innovation, labor supply, or revitalization of aging communities. She highlighted that migration is a benefit.