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António Guterres (United Nations Secretary-General) on COVID-19 and People on the Move.
COVID-19 continues to devastate lives and livelihoods around the globe — hitting the most vulnerable the hardest.
This is particularly true for millions of people on the move — such as refugees and internally displaced persons who are forced to flee their homes from violence or disaster, or migrants in precarious situations.
Now they face three crises rolled into one.
First, a health crisis — as they become exposed to the virus, often in crowded conditions where social distancing is an impossible luxury — and where basics such as health care, water, sanitation and nutrition are often hard to find.
This impact will be even more devastating to the large number of people on the move who live in least developed countries. One-third of the world's internally displaced population live in the 10 countries most at-risk to COVID-19.
Second, people on the move face a socio-economic crisis — especially those working in the informal economy without access to social protection.
In addition, the loss of income from COVID-19 is likely to lead to a colossal $109 billion drop in remittances. That's the equivalent of nearly three-quarters of all official development assistance that is no longer being sent back home to the 800 million people who depend on it.
Third, people on the move face a protection crisis.
More than 150 countries have imposed border restrictions to contain the spread of the virus. At least 99 states make no exception for people seeking asylum from persecution.
At the same time, fear of COVID-19 has led to skyrocketing xenophobia, racism and stigmatization.
And the already precarious situation of women and girls is ever more dire, as they face higher risks of exposure to gender-based violence, abuse and exploitation.
Yet even as refugees and migrants face all these challenges, they are contributing heroically on the frontlines in essential work.
About one in eight of all nurses globally, for example, is practicing in a country different from where they were born.
The COVID-19 crisis is an opportunity to reimagine human mobility.
Four core understandings must guide the way:
First, exclusion is costly and inclusion pays. An inclusive public health and socio-economic response will help suppress the virus, restart our economies and advance the Sustainable Development Goals.
Second, we must uphold human dignity in the face of the pandemic and learn from the handful of countries that have shown how to implement travel restrictions and border controls while fully respecting human rights and international refugee protection principles.
Third, no-one is safe until everyone is safe. Diagnostics, treatment and vaccines must be accessible to all.
Fourth and finally, people on the move are part of the solution. Let us remove unwarranted barriers, explore models to regularize pathways for migrants and reduce transaction costs for remittances.
I am grateful to countries, especially developing countries, that have opened their borders and hearts to refugees and migrants, despite their own social, economic, and now health, challenges.
They offer a moving lesson to others in a period when doors are closed. It is essential that these countries are provided increased support and full solidarity.
We all have a vested interest to ensure that the responsibility of protecting the world's refugees is equitably shared and that human mobility remains safe, inclusive, and respects international human rights and refugee law.
No country can fight the pandemic or manage migration alone.
But together, we can contain the spread of the virus, buffer its impact on the most vulnerable and recover better for the benefit of all.
Thank you. Noon briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
- Policy Brief/World of Work
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- South Sudan
- Women and Girls in Africa
- Sexual Violence in Conflict
POLICY BRIEF/WORLD OF WORK
In a new Policy Brief on COVID-19 and the World of Work released today, the Secretary-General highlighted the dramatic effect that the pandemic is having on jobs, livelihoods and well-being of workers and their families, as well as on businesses.
The Brief notes that in May, about 94 per cent of the world's workers were living in countries with some type of workplace closure measures in place.
Massive losses in working hours, which are equivalent to 305 million full-time jobs, are predicted for the 2nd quarter of 2020. Some 1.25 billion workers are employed in high-risk sectors.
In a video message to launch the brief, the Secretary-General stressed the COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world of work upside down. He warned that this crisis in the world of work is adding fuel to an already burning fire of discontent and anxiety.
The Secretary-General noted that women have been especially hard hit and young people, persons with disabilities, and so many others are facing tremendous difficulties. He emphasized that we need action on three fronts, which include immediate support for at-risk workers, enterprises, jobs and incomes to avoid closures, job losses and income decline.
The Secretary-General added that the pandemic exposed tremendous shortcomings, fragilities and fault lines and that the world of work cannot and should not look the same after this crisis.
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
The Secretary-General welcomes the agreement reached on 17 June 2020 between the relevant party leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina, paving the way for the residents of Mostar to exercise their right to vote for the first time since 2008. This is an important and long-awaited agreement.
The Secretary-General hopes that this positive momentum will enable the necessary legislative processes to unfold in a timely manner, so that the people of Mostar can partake in the country-wide local elections scheduled for later this year. Press Conference by António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, along with Prime Minister of Jamaica, H.E. Mr. Andrew Holness, and Prime Minister of Canada, H.E. Mr. Justin Trudeau, following the conclusion of the High-Level Event on Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond. Deaths from COVID-19 have now surpassed 130,000 in the U.S. as the total cases reach 2.9 million. Aired on 7/6/2020.