Newsroom Archive: Dec 2016
18 December 2016
UN Women Statement for International Migrants Day
On International Migrants Day, UN Women reaffirms its commitment to work with partners to ensure that migration remains a matter of choice, with respect for the rights, and guaranteed safe passage and arrival for all migrants, especially women and girls, seeking a better future.
18 December, 2016
Throughout history, women and men have left their homes in search of safety, opportunity and better lives. Today, there are more than 244 million migrants in the world, and almost half are women. With large movements of refugees and migrants garnering international attention as never before, it is critical that the global community comes together with unified and gender-responsive solutions that address both the opportunities and challenges that migration presents.
Migrants bring new ideas and innovations to both host and home countries, and can significantly boost economies. According to recent estimates, migrants contributed 9.4 per cent of global GDP, a value of US$6.7 trillion in 2015. Migrants can also help to even out population disparities around the world, for instance, through young workers migrating to countries with aging populations and declining birth rates. Nearly two-thirds of migrants are filling vital employment gaps in destination countries.
Yet too often migrants, particularly women and girls, remain invisible. Many migrant women are considered “irregular”, because their journey was outside official immigration regulations and under precarious conditions. They may take on informal jobs, such as care and domestic work, which are essential to the functioning of the economy, yet tend to be low-paid, receive little or no legal protection, healthcare coverage or other benefits, and are often carried out in unsafe conditions. Domestic work, in particular, is hard to regulate, making access to visas and official protection difficult for migrant women and leaving them at further risk of physical and sexual violence at the hands of unscrupulous agencies, recruiters or employers.
The United Nations is working together to meet these challenges. In 2016, UN Women was honoured to chair the Global Migration Group, which aims to better coordinate UN efforts on migration and to leverage the benefits of migration for development. In September, UN Member States adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, which recognizes the positive economic and social contributions of migrants, and commits to addressing the challenges faced by migrants, as well as those faced by source, transit and destination countries. The New York Declaration also underlines the need for promoting and protecting the rights of migrant women and girls at all stages of migration.
The Declaration is a critical step towards the adoption of a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration in 2018. This global compact is expected to become a dynamic vehicle for migration governance, which sees migrants, including women and girls, as agents of change with valuable skills, powerful voices and the potential for leadership. To do so, it will be important to include commitments to reduce irregular migration and to promote the inclusion of migrants and their access to services and protections. At a time when anti-immigrant sentiments are on the rise across the world, it will be vital that the global compact contains critical commitments to combat racism, xenophobia, discrimination and intolerance.
Today, on International Migrants Day, UN Women reaffirms its commitment to work with partners to ensure that migration remains a matter of choice, with respect for the rights, and guaranteed safe passage and arrival for all migrants, especially women and girls, seeking a better future.
1 December 2016
I can’t believe how quickly we’ve reached 25% of our goal to buy a new Meri Seif bus. It’s heart-warming to know that so many new and existing supporters are making an investment in women’s safety and freedom of movement in Port Moresby.
I am writing from Port Moresby, right now. This afternoon, I joined a bustling bunch of women and children for a portion of the Meri Seif bus route. What I witnessed were joyful faces, and smiles teeming with gratitude for the kind support received from people like you. They asked me to say ‘thank you’, and to let you know what a comfort it is to know that every morning and evening, that there is a space on the Meri Seif bus for them, a safe space, where they don’t need to give a second thought to being harassed, assaulted, or worse.
Now when I say there is a ‘space’, I use that term in the broadest sense of the word. What I experienced today was a busy bus, with standing room only, and this is the norm. What is so clear to me is that the demand for the Meri Seif bus program is bigger than ever. Women know what the bus looks like – painted purple, with messages of safety within – and queue up in hopes of getting on board.
We are in a fortunate position to have a family of Empowerment Champions who donate monthly, to help UN Women respond in times of crisis and to be able to scale up UN Women’s most successful programs. So I recently made the decision to send urgent funds for one bus to be purchased right away – which will address the immediate need of women and children living in Port Moresby given the unreliability of the current services.
Replacing one of the buses is one part of the solution. But after being here in Port Moresby and speaking with women today, I know that we need more than one new bus. One that’s built for Port Moresby, which will respond to the need, and ensure reliable and safe transport.
So let’s not stop now! Join me in celebrating this interim milestone, and in continuing my outreach, one person at a time, to close the gap to purchase another Meri Seif bus for Port Moresby’s women and children. We’re one quarter of the way there. Will you help us get to 100%?