UN Envoy of International Migration’s comments on importance of changing narrative on migration



UN Envoy Louise Arbour has observed that the narrative of migration “overwhelmingly” focuses on the “negative sides” of it and that there needs to be a greater focus on the positive impact it can have.

Arbour was appointed as the Special Representative of International Migration to United States Secretary-General António Guterres in March of this year. In the past, she had also served the UN as the High Commissioner for Human Rights from July 2004 until August 2008.

In an interview with UN News, she has stated that that the conversation of migration is as much part of a public discussion within the general public as it is among policymakers. Thus, it is important for policymakers to engage with conversations on the matter, and to make informed decisions with regards to their involvement in international migration.

“I think we have a lot of educating to do, so people could understand better what we are talking about when we talk about the mobility of people, what it is and how we can manage it better” – UN Envoy Louise Arbour

In their continuing efforts to deal with the issue of international migration, and facilitating more open and safer movements, the United Nations have prepared initiatives to promote these conversations and efforts on international migration. Recently, this culminated in the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants 2016 in September of that year, with the New York Declaration, signed by 193 Member States that detailed their commitment to protect and respect the rights of migrants and refugees.

One other initiative from the 2016 Summit is the ‘Together’ campaign, which promotes “respect, safety and dignity” for migrants and refugees. On the campaign in question, Arbour has said that it would be an “extremely important vehicle to attack some of the stereotypes of migrants as either suspicious, as being a burden or a threat”. As such, it could effectively play a role in “[changing” the narrative” on international migration.