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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu, Head of the Chinese Delegation at the General Debate of the 107th session of the IOM Council

Mr. President,

Let me first congratulate you on your election as President of the Council. I am confident this session will achieve positive results under your able leadership.

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the IOM. Over the past 65 years, the IOM has been actively promoting dialogue and cooperation on international migration and has made important contributions to promoting the orderly movements of global population. It is now more prominent and influential in international affairs than ever before. This year, the IOM became a related organization of the UN and admitted China to its big family. On behalf of the Chinese Delegation, I would like to congratulate the IOM on its outstanding achievements over the past 65 years and express our appreciation for the hard work by the Director General and his team.

Mr. President,

As economic globalization deepens, transnational movement of personnel has become more frequent and on a large scale. Migration is now an important issue in global governance. As part of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which started this year, States are making positive efforts towards the migration-related targets set out in the document. The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants recently adopted is another source of impetus for global migration cooperation. And a Global Compact on Migration is expected to be formulated by 2018.

Yet at the same time, international migration cooperation still faces many challenges. The numbers of displaced persons and forced migrants have increased dramatically as a result of armed conflicts and natural disasters. This puts immense pressure on the receiving countries in managing migration and borders and imposes economic and social burdens on them. Some countries are tightening their migration policies; xenophobia against migrants is reasserting itself; and transnational organized crimes, such as smuggling and human trafficking, are still on the rise. Migrants now face challenges to their life, security and dignity.

In order to effectively meet the challenges and promote international dialogue and cooperation on migration, China believes:

First, we should move towards the Global Compact on Migration in an gradual way. China welcomes the adoption of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants at the 71st Session of the General Assembly and believes that the Global Compact on Migration should be developed under the principles of mutual respect, equal consultation and gradual progress. On the one hand, we need to recognize the positive effect of migration on economic and social development and safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of migrants; on the other hand, we need to respect national migration systems and policies, avoid taking a “one-size-fits-all” approach, and differentiate between the two concepts of migrants and refugees. States should be encouraged to implement migration-related goals in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on the basis of their national conditions, thereby promoting regular and orderly human mobility.

Second, we should tackle the problem of forced migration by treating both the symptoms and the root causes. The international community should settle disputes through peaceful means, uphold regional peace and stability, and give priority to development. Developed countries should earnestly fulfill their aid commitments to developing countries, bridge the gap between the North and the South, and help improve the capacity of developing countries to respond to challenges like natural disasters and epidemic outbreaks. This will help turn off the valve of large-scale forced migrants.

Third, we should improve the governance of global migration by taking comprehensive measures. China supports the IOM as a greater leader and coordinator in global migration affairs. We support the organization in further deepening cooperation with other international organizations, such as the UN, and improving its effectiveness and internal coordination. Countries of origin, transit and destination should assume their respective responsibilities. The legal channels for orderly migration should be kept open with the arrangements in policies, public finance and social security made in light of local conditions. Meanwhile, countries should join hands to combat smuggling and human trafficking, taking mutually reinforcing initiatives at the global, regional and national levels.

Mr. President,

In recent years, the Chinese government has been improving its laws and regulations regarding entry and departure, increasing the capacity of customs clearance and the use of information technology, developing and updating its policies on entry, departure and stay, and facilitating the integration of foreigners into local communities. China has actively participated in the global governance of migration. In September this year, Premier Li Keqiang announced, during meetings on refugees and migrants at the 71st session of the General Assembly, that China will provide a total of 300 million US dollars of humanitarian aids, actively consider using some of the funding of China-United Nations Peace and Development Fund to support developing countries in their work on refugees and migrants, and actively explore tripartite cooperation with relevant international institutions and developing countries on refugee and migration issues. China is implementing in all seriousness the aforesaid aid commitments and has decided to provide the IOM with one million US dollars to be used on humanitarian assistance projects in developing countries.

Together with all other parties, China is ready to continue its active participation in international cooperation on migration, so as to contribute more to the well-being of migrants and orderly human mobility in the world.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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