Joining Bangladesh and the United Nations Regional Network on Migration for Asia and the Pacific, Sri Lanka co-hosted the 2019 ‘UN Intentional Day of Migrants’ for the first time in Bangkok.
Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Thailand and UNESCAP Permanent Representative Samantha K. Jayasuriya said, “Over 80% of migrants travel intra-regionally, and many are hosted in developing countries in the south as well. In this Day of International Migrants, the generosity and resilience of all these host governments and societies should not go unnoticed, and they need to be supported in their efforts until migrants find safe return or resettlement options.”
The International Day of Migrants is celebrated on 18 December, following the adoption of the International Convention on the Rights of all Migrant Workers and the Welfare of Their Families in 2000 at UNGA in New York.
This year’s event, held at the UNCC in Bangkok, hosted a panel discussion moderated by the IOM for Asia and the Pacific Regional Director Dr. Nenette Motus, with the participation of representatives from ILO, civil society, governments and migrant voices, in keeping with the multi-stakeholder nature of the dialogue on a cross-cutting issue such as migration.
Further addressing the gathering, Ambassador Jayasuriya said Sri Lanka’s proactive engagement and collective work experience, including giving leadership to the Colombo Process and the Abu Dhabi Dialogue – two dynamic yet informal inter-governmental platforms on addressing issues related to contractual labour migration in the Asia-GCC migration corridor – has been the key reason Sri Lanka decided to co-host this year’s celebration.
The long years of a very cordial and productive relationship with IOM that began before Sri Lanka became a Member of the IOM Council in 2000, was held up as a convincing example of the work that has been carried out by IOM as an effective operational organisation. The yeomen services by all IOM staff in the field were commended for ensuring the dignity and welfare of millions of migrants. The event was attended by the ambassadors and diplomatic community in Bangkok, representatives from the Thai Government, international organisations and civil society. Following the event, participants partook of traditional food and refreshments arranged by the Embassies of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Philippines.