Govt committed to fairness and equity in treatment of migrants – Foreign Secretary

Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud

Guyana has committed to ensuring that there is fairness and equity in the treatment of migrants, which Foreign Secretary, Mr. Robert Persaud, said remains critical to sustainable development.

Mr. Persaud made those statements today during his address at the virtual launch of the Migration Governance Indicators Assessment, hosted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The IOM is working under target 10.7 of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, which calls for orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and the mobility of people through the implementation of planned and well managed migration policies. Through its data-driven programme, the organisation assists countries to create policies relating to migration, and fill gaps where necessary.

Mr. Persaud said Guyana has been seeing a large inflow of migrants seeking refuge, particularly from neighbouring Venezuela.

“In this regard, the Government of Guyana is extremely mindful of the positive effects the whole-of-Government approach can have in addressing the problems associated with the unprecedented flow of migrants into Guyana. In the same vein, the Government of Guyana is aware of the sensitivities surrounding the treatment of migrants as against locals, especially in cases of non-governmental intervention.

“We therefore, see the need to provide resources within our capacity to augment the efforts of all our partners in ensuring that there is fairness and equity in responding to the situation of migrants. These are the basic tenets that will underscore a National Migration Policy,” he said.

The Foreign Secretary said the world, over the last decade, has experienced a massive growth in the migrant population. He said more people worldwide live outside their countries of birth than ever before – an estimated 272 million in 2019, an increase of 51 million (24 per cent) from 2010.

With Guyana’s large and vibrant diaspora, the Government is working to strengthen its engagement with its nationals who live overseas, he said. At the same time, the Administration knows that the influx of migrants both regular and irregular, cannot be overlooked.

“This has necessitated an examination of these movements and the creation of systems that can manage its impacts on the country. As the country moves towards economic prosperity, it must be expected that there will be growth in the influx of migrants into Guyana, whether from our neighbouring states or the re-migration of our own nationals,” the Foreign Secretary said.

The Ministry, he said, has played an active role in the global political debate on migration governance and has come to understand the important role of evidence-based and data driven policies in addressing the challenges that have emerged from the mass movement of people.

The Foreign Secretary said the Migration Governance Indicator Assessment is an important tool in this endeavour, as it will allow the Government to have a holistic picture of the country’s current governance systems for dealing with migrants.