International Organisation for Migrations - 82nd Session of its Council.

Statement by H.E. Mrs. Anda Filip, the Permanent Representative of Romania

Geneva, 29 November 2001

Mr. Chairman,
Mr. Director General,
Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please allow me to begin by warmly congratulate you and the other members of the Bureau for your appointment and to wish you full success in exercising the important mandate you have been invested with. We also congratulate the outgoing Bureau for their hard work and important achievements.

Mr. Chairman,

On this special anniversary occasion I wish congratulate - on behalf of the Romanian delegation and authorities - Mr. Director General Brunson McKinley and his team for their remarkable achievements. 50 years do not necessarily represent a long period of time but the outstanding activity developed by this organisation brings IOM forward as one of the most relevant and visible international organisations of the world today.

In this context we appreciate the initiative of the IOM to open a wide debate on migration issues. Migration represents in our view one of the major questions that will inevitably shape our future and therefore need to be addressed in a comprehensive and concerted manner. The agenda of this session allows for many perspectives on demography, trade and globalisation, integration and prevention of xenophobia, combating human trafficking. In our opinion, these analysis and preoccupations are welcomed in order to offer a better perspective of the evolutions in this matter, as well as to suggest practical lines for future action.

In our view, a key question here is to find the means to better synchronise OIM actions in the field of migration with developments in the international framework and to make both theoretical and practical approaches compatible with the global dynamics in real time.

Mr. Chairman,

The Romanian authorities have recently been taking a series of legislative, administrative and organisational measures, in order to ensure a more cohesive framework and a greater protection of aliens temporarily on Romanian territory, as well as in addressing the causes of migration, preventing irregular movements and curbing the negative effects of immigration. During the course of this year Romania has pursued the implementation the national mechanism concerning asylum and migration which includes, inter alia:

  • a new "Law on Foreigners in Romania" was adopted in March 2001 and it became applicable starting with April of this year;
  • a national strategy on anti-trafficking was finalised in the middle of this year and is now in the process of being implemented;
  • a new anti-trafficking law was proposed by the Government, approved by our House of Representatives and Senate and now awaits swift promulgation by the President;
  • a shelter for victims of trafficking will be operational in the near future within the National Bureau for Refugees, with the valuable support of the International Organisation for Migration, the first project of this kind in our region;
  • cooperation between Romania and IOM has been steadily building these past three years since we joined the Organisation and a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Interior of Romania and IOM will soon be signed, focusing on the assisted humanitarian voluntary return of aliens found temporarily in Romania, as a country of transit or destination.

As for authorities of Romania regaining true freedom by the citizens of Romania also means ensuring freedom of movements after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the lifting of the visa regime for the Romanians travelling in the Schengen area is a national priority. Active and consistent Romanian governmental action has been focusing on this field, with the results accordingly mentioned in the recent Report of the European Commission and we are expecting a formal decision in this direction to be taken in the coming weeks. Certainly, there is still a lot to be done. What is important, though, is that we have been able to mobilise efforts at the national level and in cooperation with our friends and partners and to move forward in addressing these concerns. Throughout this process, IOM has provided invaluable support most particularly through technical assistance in planning, development of national strategies, project design, evaluation and implementation programs.

At the regional level cooperation has been enhanced in strengthening vulnerable border services; intensifying law enforcement co-operation; pooling information and experience. To this end, the South-East European Regional Centre for combating Trans-Border Crime based in Bucharest is ready to contribute to counter the negative effects of irregular migration. After one year of operation, the Centre has already begun dismantling human trafficking networks in the region. Looking ahead towards future cooperation with the IOM on issues of joint interest, the Regional Centre has very recently applied for observer status with the IOM.

From the same perspective of building upon inter-institutional synergies, we welcome the Memorandum of Understanding concluded between OSCE and IOM on August 29th, during the period of the Romanian Chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. We are sure that a more structured cooperation of the two international organisations will increase the quality of the response to migration issues which, certainly, represent an important component of overall international security.

Mr. Chairman,

In 1998, Romania joined the IOM as a new member state. After three years of fruitful experience, we have the sense of being part of a great family, where common problems are treated in an open and cooperative manner. Today, this family is enlarging even more and we take this opportunity to welcome the new members: the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Ukraine, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Cape-Verde and the Republic of Madagascar. We also welcome representation by observer of the Nepal, l'Union du Maghreb Arabe and Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office.

Mr. Chairman,

The key factor in the migration process is trust. The trust between the countries of origin, transit and destination, the trust of states and citizens in a global policy in the field of migration. But the trust can be weakened either by the perceived risk to economic and social stability on national level, or by the lack of clear, predictable steps towards turning irregular movements into legal migration.

We consider that there are two more key words for the definition of the phenomenon of migration: tolerance and solidarity. A culture of pluralism will in fact enhance the cultural and human diversity of our societies. Tolerance needs to become standard practice throughout the world accompanied by the economic support against poverty and social exclusion. Let us not forget that the greatest strength and potential of our world lies in its diversity. Respect of the identities, success of the migrants' integration into the receiving countries' societies, cohesion and solidarity in the international framework are all enormous challenges, and so much so, we have to emphasise this, from a OIM perspective.

We believe in the capacity of the IOM to improve solidarity, in a world where every legal migrant should fell protected and included in the society of the country where he lives. We congratulate the IOM for their efforts thus far and stand ready to bring our contribution to furthering this generous objective.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman

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