International Migrants Day 2021: Statement from the UN Network on Migration in Iraq

Baghdad — Every year, on 18 December, the United Nations observes International Migrants Day to highlight the contributions made by migrants, as well as the challenges that they may face.

Overwhelmingly, migration benefits individuals and societies — in countries of origin and destination. In spite of this, in recent years, several worrying trends confirm that too often, migration doesn’t happen under safe circumstances.

The public health crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have affected everything about how people live, work and travel. In Iraq, while a majority of the estimated six million people displaced by the ISIL crisis have returned to areas of origin, ongoing support is needed to help those who are mostly unable to return achieve durable solutions.

This year, the extremely difficult conditions facing migrants and refugees at the borders between Belarus and Poland and Lithuania – including several thousand Iraqis – highlighted the plight of those who don’t have access to legal means of migration and may put their lives in the hands of unscrupulous smugglers and traffickers. 

“Both scenarios show that the promotion of safe migration – as called for by the Global Compact for Migration – is more crucial than ever,” said Irena Vojáčková-Sollorano, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for Iraq, and Resident Coordinator. “As Iraq continues to experience complex migratory flows, including return migration from Europe and elsewhere, a focus on migration policies that prioritise respect for human rights and rule of law will be essential.”

In February of this year, the UN Network on Migration welcomed Iraq’s decision to express solidarity with the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, and with the Network, in becoming a Champion country.

The Government of Iraq has made important strides towards improving migration policy, notably through the development of a National Migration Strategy. The UN Network on Migration will work to support the Government in implementing the Global Compact for Migration and expanding migration governance efforts.

The United Nations Network on Migration in Iraq is coordinated by the International Organization for Migration (IOM); and counts the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR); the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO); United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA); the International Labour Organization (ILO); the World Food Programme (WFP); the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); the UN Population Fund (UNFPA); the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS); the UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF); and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) as members.


For more information, please contact the Network Secretariat via 

SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
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