Refugee and migrant crisis must not become the symbol of denial of social justice to people on the move

20 February 2018, GENEVA – In commemoration of the 2018 World Day of Social Justice and its annual theme “Workers on the Move: the Quest for Social Justice.” the Chairman of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue (hereinafter “the Geneva Centre”) H. E. Dr. Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qassim appeals to decision-makers to adapt to global human mobility and advance social justice through the empowerment of migrants.

“Modern societies must adapt to contemporary patterns of global human mobility. It is in many destination countries’ interest to unleash the potential of migrants, most of whom are productive, young and eager, to share the burden of an ageing population in advanced and developed societies.

“Migrants are agents of change and social development who contribute to long-term sustained economic growth and social development and justice. They must be given the chance to contribute to the well-being of destination countries. Migration will only become a vector of change and prosperity if the rights of migrants are respected by host societies,” said the Geneva Centre’s Chairman.

In view of these observations, Dr. Al Qassim expressed disappointment with the attempts by decision-makers to erect walls and fences, seal off borders and deny global human mobility to migrants. The criminalization of people on the move – he stated – contradict the logic of globalization hailed as the panacea to the world’s problems until recently.

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“The migrant and refugee crisis is the result of decades of violence, armed conflict and geopolitical power games with no concern for enhancing social justice. One of its consequences is social upheavals and mass exodus which have contributed to the extraordinary cohorts of people on the move.

“Injustice and armed conflict result in widening income inequality and social tensions that destabilize societies. Migrants flee their home societies as they are left with no other choice than to seek protection outside their country of origin,” underlined Dr. Al Qassim.

In order to address the adverse impact of the migrant and refugee crisis, he said that decision-makers in the West and in the Arab region must resort to dialogue and alliance-building to find common grounds and mutually beneficial solutions.

In this regard, Dr. Al Qassim stated that the Geneva Centre and a growing number of civil society organizations have joined forces to promote and advance global human mobility through the adoption of the 2017 Geneva Declaration entitled “Mobility and human solidarity, a challenge and an opportunity for Europe and the MENA region”.

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It has been signed by high-level experts from the Geneva Centre, the International Catholic Migration Commission, the Norwegian Refugee Council, Webster University, the Sovereign Order of Malta, Citizens United Switzerland, the International Press Syndicate, the European Public Law Organization, the African Center against Torture, the European Centre for Peace and Development, the Global Cooperation Council, UN University for Peace and the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development.

The Geneva Declaration – he said – “acknowledges that migration is part of globalization and remains a positive factor to achieving sustainable development” in line with the provisions set forth in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It also appeals to decision-makers worldwide to be guided by the principles of human solidarity in providing assistance and protection to refugees and migrants.

The Geneva Centre’s Chairman concluded by saying that “migration must not be considered as an impediment to the social progress and emancipation of developed societies and least of all as a so-called ‘Muslim invasion’. The refugee and migrant crisis must not be met with the denial of social justice to people on the move. Societies that demonstrate respect for social justice are the ones most likely to be winners in the long run.”

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About the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue:

The Geneva Centre, an organization with special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, is a think tank dedicated to the promotion of human rights through cross-cultural, religious and civilizational dialogue between the Global North and Global South, and through training of the upcoming generations of stakeholders in the Arab region. The Centre works towards a value-driven human rights system, steering clear of politicization and building bridges between different narratives thereon of the Global North and of the Global South. Its aim is to act as a platform for dialogue between a variety of stakeholders involved in the promotion and protection of human rights.


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