International Migrants Day – December 18, 2020

Message from the Secretary General of UCLG Africa on the occasion of the International Migrants Day of December 18, 2020

On December 18 of each year, the United Nations celebrates International Migrants Day.

On the occasion of this international day, UCLG Africa reiterates its call to consider migration as part of the history of Mankind and not to criminalize it as such.

UCLG Africa is of the opinion that local authorities are at the heart of the migratory route either as territory of origin, territory of transit, or territory of arrival. The experience of migration depends largely on the way in which migrants stay in the different localities in which these migrants are called upon to live.

Local governments have been confronted with the need to take care of migrants faced with the Covid-19 pandemic because most states have not taken this category into account in the support measures they have put in place and which have been reserved for the citizens of those States.

More than ever, Local governments are on the front line to take care of migrants’ access to basic services, to housing, to employment opportunities and to income-generating activities, and above all to dignified treatment and protection of migrants’ rights.

The decrease or loss of income among migrants established in developed or emerging countries, as a result of the lockdown measures and of the interruption of economic activities enacted by these countries, has had a negative impact on money transfers to communities of origin of said migrants.

UCLG Africa invites national governments to rethink the governance of migration in the light of the role that these local authorities play in the life experience of migrants and the essential place they occupy in the organization of actions in favor of the protection of migrants in the face of the pandemic.

UCLG Africa reiterates its call to local authorities to adhere to the Charter of African local authorities on migration in order to constitute the African network of cities for migration.

UCLG Africa calls UCLG Africa calls on the local governments of Africa to draw inspiration from best practices for the reception and integration of migrants and asks them to be part of the networks of welcoming cities that are emerging around the world.

UCLG Africa calls for the facilitation of the granting of entry visas to stop the flow of illegal migration.

UCLG Africa asks the host cities of African migrants to support regularization campaigns for migrants long established in their locality to get out of the situations of virtual hiding in which they live.

UCLG Africa fervently hopes that the day of December 18 will be used everywhere to celebrate the undeniable contribution of migrants to the cultural diversity of the territories, to the dissemination of knowledge and know-how, and to the promotion of conviviality between human groups, a prerequisite for the emergence of a world of peace and harmony.