STATEMENT BY H. E. MRS. YOLANDA FERRER GÓMEZ, CHAIRPERSON OF THE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE OF THE PEOPLE'S POWER NATIONAL ASSEMBLY AND HEAD OF THE CUBAN PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION
(OCTOBER 20, 2015)
Ladies and gentlemen delegates and guests:
Illegal migration is one of the major problems for the human development of the 21st century.
As the President of Cuba Raúl Castro said recently at the UN General Assembly and I quote: "For the past few weeks we have been moved by images of migratory waves arriving in Europe, a direct result of the destabilization actions promoted and executed by NATO in countries of the Middle East and North Africa, and of poverty and underdevelopment prevailing in countries of the African continent. The European Union should take up full and immediate responsibility for the human crisis that it helped generate". End of the quote.
The UN Agency for Refugees (UNHCR) warned of the potentially disastrous consequences that the arrival of winter and low temperatures will have for the tens of thousands of people who are arriving in Europe. It warned further that 'the bad weather will aggravate the suffering’ of the thousands living in makeshift camps in central and eastern Europe and the Balkan region.
As more than once noted, the way to Europe in rickety boats, across borders or trough the Sahara desert, are just some of the dangerous routes used by migrants, whose travels are full of risks and pain while death, violence and abuse at the hands of traffickers are unleashed.
About half of all international migrants live in only 10 countries, but the largest number (46 million, 12 million of them undocumented) reside in the United States where they suffer all types of discrimination.
Another alarming issue is that human trafficking has become the second most lucrative illegal business in the world, only behind drugs and arms trafficking. Earnings obtained by this crime amounted to 32 billion dollars per year. Those criminals consider people as mere commodities, objects that can be exploited and traded to profit from them. It is estimated that worldwide about 30 million people live as slaves.
Another anomaly in the migration field is the brain drain. In some reflections published on July 17, 2007, the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, noted that, and I quote: "The trend towards the privatization of knowledge and the internalization of scientific research companies subordinated to big capital has been creating a kind of "scientific apartheid" which affects the vast majority of the world's population". End of the quote.
The rapid uptake of migrant professionals in the underdeveloped world is rampant, without taking into account the incentives of scholarships to the most talented. Out of the 150 million people who participate in scientific activities around the world, 90 percent is concentrated in the seven most industrialized nations, so that the production of knowledge is increasingly more monopoly-like.
The walls and barriers being built today may hinder migration, but do not solve the causes for which just over one-sixth of the world's population (more than one thousand hundred million people) is affected by the migration phenomena; from the countryside to the city, from poor regions of a country to its capital, from poor countries to wealthier nations in the same region and from the underdeveloped world to rich countries.
The intensity and generality of what is happening today is unprecedented in humanity, while racism and xenophobia increase particularly aimed at migrants from different cultures and regions of the world where violence abounds.
The international community should demand policies to address the causes and consequences resulting in these migratory waves; ensure their physical integrity protection, and to protect poor nations from these evasions. Otherwise now it can be already predicted that it will not be possible to achieve the objectives of sustainable development.
The vulnerability of these people is strengthened, although entire sectors of the economy depend on their workforce, because the States that have ratified the main international legal instruments demonstrate lack of political will to implement their provisions. Some governments allow entry of migrants to their countries but do not invest or promote the process of integration that is needed for these people to develop their full potential and make a positive contribution to the society they live in.
If we really want to find a lasting solution to the phenomenon of migration, cooperation among States is needed at the bilateral, regional and international level, to recognize the shared responsibility of all nations in dealing with a problem of global concern.
It is an issue that does not withstand more speeches or slogans, but decisions to ensure respect for the integrity, dignity and welfare of those human beings.