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Situation Report on International Migration in East and South-East Asia

Bangkok 20 October 2008  - The UN Regional Thematic Working Group on International Migration, including Human Trafficking, today launched a major new report identifying migration trends in 16 Asian countries and their socio-economic impact.

The group which is co-chaired by ESCAP- the UN Economic and Social Commission for the Asia and the Pacific and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is composed of UN agencies in the region.

Amid growing recognition that international migration is a key contributor to the UN’s Millenium Development Goals, and ahead of the Global Forum on Migration and Development in Manila later this month, the report also examines specific migration-related themes including policy development, labour migration, remittances, gender, health, children and the implications for indigenous peoples.

It points to economic disparities between countries in East and South-East Asia as the main driver behind international migration and calls on governments to introduce more coherent migration policies through greater dialogue involving the countries of origin and destination, as well as regional cooperation.

It notes that better financial infrastructures are needed to optimize the development impact of the over USD 50 billion of remittances that the region receives each year from migrant workers abroad.

Governments should also address irregular migration and the conditions which promote it – remedying the lack of jobs and the lack of opportunities for regular, safe migration. Public awareness of the risks of irregular migration, including exploitation, abuse and human trafficking, also needs to be promoted by governments and the media, it says.

The report calls for an intensification of efforts to promote the full potential and dignity of migrants through improved oversight of the recruitment industry and says that countries of origin with a large number of women migrant workers abroad should also introduce gender sensitive measures to protect them, without limiting their migration opportunities.

The situation of children who either migrate with their parents or are left behind with a single parent or relatives is also addressed. The report calls on governments to better protect and assist child migrants and to introduce more systematic and comprehensive approaches to identifying victims of human trafficking.

Finally it notes that in order to fully incorporate international migration into national development planning and policy making, governments in the region will have to compile much more comprehensive migration data.

For more information please contact Chris Lom at the International Organization for Migration, Regional Office for South-East Asia, 18th Fl. Rajanakarn Building, Bangkok 10120, Thailand. Tel. +66.8.19275215.



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