Address the root causes of illegal migration: The Bahamas

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Frederick Mitchell

The Bahamas has called on the international community to address the root causes of illegal migration.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Frederick Mitchell told a High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development that it is an issue which has the potential, if not carefully managed, to destabilize The Bahamas and all the government is seeking to create.

” We sit in the middle of a number of countries that are sources of illegal migration to us, notwithstanding the best efforts of all of the governments concerned: Haiti to the south of us; Cuba to the west of us. The country to which the migrants go is the United States. The Bahamas therefore finds itself often in a vortex which is not of its own making but the consequences of which we often have to live with and to withstand; often the object of forces and policies which affect us but which we are powerless to control.”

Foreign Minister Frederick Mitchell noted that The Bahamas has good relations with all governments around them. However, governments sometimes are undermined by forces beyond their control: criminal elements, ideological policies that undermine common sense and the dictates of bad economies.

“What we know however is that if we have the will to stop it, we can. We can do so by ensuring that there is cooperation against trafficking and smuggling; that we discard ideology and adopt common sense and we work together to solve the economic problems of our countries and region.

The Bahamas wishes to adopt the following statement which was delivered on behalf of the Caricom region here at the U N:

The following issues must inform any efforts to elaborate the post-2015 agenda, including the development of SDGs, targets and indicators:

o Addressing the root causes of migration, so migration is by choice not necessity

o Combating trafficking and/or smuggling of migrants

o Protecting migrants against human rights abuses, racism, ethnocentrism and xenophobia

o Improving data, especially disaggregated data on international migration (including forced migration)

o Facilitating the flow and use of remittances to support development, and

o Strengthening of dialogue and cooperation between countries of origin, transit and destination”

Foreign Minister Frederick Mitchell said The Bahamas is committed to working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration, the region and the world at large to help resolve these migration issues. He said "Our future, our survival and our identity depend upon it".

This is Donn Bobb reporting

Duration: 2’50″

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January 2018
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