ISLAMABAD: Pakistan joins the international community in the observance of International Migrants Day today. As a country of origin, transit, and destination, Pakistan believes in the potential and promise of migration, as it unlocks a host of opportunities for the individuals and their families as well as the countries concerned. Pakistani diaspora overseas is not only a major source of support for our national development but also contributes to the progress of host countries. Pakistanis living abroad have excelled in all fields in their host countries.
Under the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, all necessary measures are being taken to facilitate overseas Pakistanis, to promote the welfare of our migrant workers, and to create special investment opportunities for them in Pakistan as well. The Government undertook a massive effort earlier this year to support our migrant workers around the world and to facilitate their safe return to the country in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a country of destination, Pakistan continues to host millions of regular as well as irregular migrants from neighbouring and regional countries. Pakistanis have always shown generosity and hospitality towards all migrants without any discrimination.
The adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) by the United Nations two years ago marked the beginning of a new era of migration governance, dialogue and international cooperation. It reflected a growing global understanding of the benefits of human mobility. At the same time, it also recognized that, if poorly managed, migration can generate huge challenges, ranging from tragic loss of life to human rights abuse and social tensions. In this regard, the destination States, in particular, need to ensure fair and ethical treatment including access to health care and social protection without discrimination. Legal avenues of migration need to be expanded and the transfer costs of remittance reduced.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the challenges being faced by migrants. Some of the measures implemented to contain the virus such as lockdowns, border closures and stay-in-place orders have at times worsened the living conditions of migrants by restricting their ability to move, to have access to health and other basic services, and to send remittances back home. Thousands have lost their jobs. Moreover, migrant workers have also been exposed to increased hardship due to xenophobia, discrimination, disinformation and the use of stigmatizing narratives.
On this Day, Pakistan calls upon the international community to show greater solidarity by strengthening cooperation to enhance the protection, well-being, working conditions, and effective integration of migrants, in addition to ensuring that in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, no one is left behind.