International Organisation for Migrations - 83rd Session of its Council.

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

Geneva, June 5th 2002

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

On the occasion of the current special session of the IOM Council, I would like to express our appreciation for this new and structured international dialog on migration, which starts now, as a process hosted by the Council of the International Organization for Migration. The complexity of migration poses a number of challenges to governments, but also to international organizations - be they the United Nations, other inter-governmental organizations and NGOs. International research and cooperation, involving these partners, are meant to build synergy and ensure a more effective migration management and results-oriented approach. To make real progress we need to strengthen our partnerships, based also on the simple - but not simplistic - fact that ultimately we are all responsible stakeholders. Research for durable solutions represents an essential dimension of humanitarian activity, since promoting orderly migration and deterring irregular migration cannot be achieved by control measures alone. The reasons that make people leave their homes and move also need to be addressed.

These efforts towards research and cooperation have become a necessity also because of the nature of new population displacements. In earlier crises it was relatively simple - maybe too simple - to categorize victims as refugees, displaced persons or IDPs. Today, many of the emigrational flows we are confronted with are of a mixed nature. Motives for moving range from government to non-state persecution, from drought and other natural factors to economic considerations, and the simple wish to bring up a family in a safer environment. Often there is a mix of such motives. This in turn calls for new approaches and more coordination among the traditional and new players.

The subject of our debate today is "IOM's role in crises and post-conflict situations". It offers the opportunity for a practical discussion on an important element of the activity of IOM, which has to provide better solutions to the needs on the international arena, while reflecting the practical approach of the organization - that of providing assistance as it has done so well throughout the years. Indeed, the rich history of the IOM is testimony to its broad experience and know-how in addressing crises and post-conflict situations and these capabilities can and should be improved in the future. In this respect, in our opinion, the activity of the organization in terms of policy and research in the field of migration must be able to offer to the IOM members and observers the capacity to contribute to a more fruitful coordination at the regional and international level.

Mr. Chairman,

For my own country, Romania, a major step forward in ensuring to the Romanian citizens their real freedom of movement came on the first of January of this year, when restrictions of travel in the Schengen area were lifted. At the same time, this decision was accompanied by bold and comprehensive measures by the Romanian Government in the field of asylum and migration. The technical support of IOM, through a series of programs, complementary to and interdependent with our own national strategies, was of particular relevance. In the same context, we are currently working with the IOM in finalizing a new Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of assisted humanitarian voluntary return.

Moreover, as we have presented on various past occasions, Romania supports and is very much involved in fostering arrangements of regional and sub-regional cooperation. I would mention that, these very days in Bucharest, we are hosting a special session of the Working Table III on security issues of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe. Tomorrow, the Justice and Home Affairs sub-table will focus on trafficking in human beings, migration and asylum, law enforcement, border control initiatives, and the fight against corruption and organized crime. The organizers have welcomed the participation to this meeting of Mr Peter Schatzer, Director of the International Relations Department of IOM.

Mr. Chairman,

The IOM has come a long way from ideas and ideals that brought the 16 founding members of IOM together more than fifty years ago. In 1998, Romania became member of IOM, with the conviction that it was joining a community of states sharing the same principles and values in addressing an issue of common interest. For these reasons we would like to take the opportunity to welcome and congratulate the new members of the Organization: Republic of Ireland and Mexico. We also welcome representation by observers of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiria, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and SECI Regional Center for Combating Cross-border Crime.

Mr. Chairman,

Allow me to stress the importance my country attaches the granting of IOM observer status to the SECI Regional Center. South Eastern Europe has within its broad region all the push and pull factors of migration. All the different parts of the region have experience of some of the elements, and have in place some of the measures to address them effectively. But almost all our countries that used to be countries of origin are now finding themselves also countries of transit and of destination. Our governments are finding that they need to look afresh at the whole range of policies and practices which have served for so long, but which do not maintain the same relevance in the current and swiftly evolving situation. In this respect the role of the SECI Regional Center in improving regional cooperation in this field is particularly important, and we are proud of its capacity to contribute to regional and European stability. We are also confident in the capacity of the SECI Regional Center to find the better way of cooperation with IOM with the goal of mutual support.

Mr. Chairman,

The global number of migrants today is larger than at any time before in human history. Apart from ethnic violence and strife, a combination of economic constraints and opportunities (real or perceived), the growing relevance of ethnic networks, the population growth predicted for the next decades - even under recently downward-revised forecasts - that will occur mainly in the poorer and less developed parts of the planet and the aging of populations in many industrialized societies, will certainly result in additional migration pressures. Consequently, there is an increased need to find suitable and mutually acceptable arrangements to deal with them.

Discussion of migration issues has become more visible each year, mainstreamed into the agenda of many institutions and reunions. While the discussion about migration has been focusing primarily on issues such as successfully integrating migrants in multicultural host societies and opening legal migration channels to match labor market requests, now we find the discussion is shifting to security related aspects as well. We share the opinion that, while the fight against terrorism is imperative, the vast majority of persons moving around the globe do so for legitimate reasons and many of them need international assistance.

In the last year much has changed in the world. What has not changed one bit, though, is the basic principle that all migrants - irrespective of their race, creed, national origin or legal status - should be guaranteed the full enjoyment of their fundamental human rights. It is in this sense that all of us - citizens, governments and organizations - need to wok together, in partnership, cooperation and solidarity. Throughout the process, we count on the leadership and contribution of the International Organization for Migration.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman

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