Statement by H.E. Prof. Dr. Mr. Mehmet Aydın, Minister of State of the Republic of Turkey, at the High Level Dialogue of the General Assembly on International Migration and Development

Mehmet Aydın 14.09.2006
Madam President,
Mr. Secretary General,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me take this opportunity to congratulate both of you for organizing this timely and critical High-Level Dialogue which is indispensable for understanding the current migration predicament and its management.

A close and complex relationship exists between migration and economic, social, cultural and even political development of societies involved. The future of many international relations in general and international politics in particular largely depends on how we approach to the issue of migration which is in need of rationally and scientifically coordinated strategies and action plans at the levels of the countries of origin, transit and destination. Especially those strategies and policies regarding integration requires creative and honest dialogical approach for the establishment of practical parameters of economic, social, cultural and political adaptation quite compatible with the implementation of democratic values as w ell fundamental human rights. This point is extremely important since the current "migration p redicament" is tending to become a very sensitive issue not only in terms of economic development but also in terms of world security and peace.

In many parts of the world immigrant populations are experiencing irksome difficulties in accessing education, housing and job opportunities. Unbearable discriminations, racism and cultural discrimination are becoming a major problem. Various culturalist and civilizationalist arguments have began to demand not a humane integration, but clearly forced assimilation which shows little respect for cultural identities and diversity that are in keeping with commonly shared values. Needles, perhaps to say no one has the right to ask us to be tolerant towards cultural differences that infringe upon the fundamental human rights. But it ought to be borne in mind that creative and sustainable integration and co-existence can only be realized in a common space defined by such values as respect for human dignity, justice, rule of law, tolerance, cultural pluralism and so on.

Madam President,

Integration is the key issue and it necessitates an holistic and dynamic perspective on the part of the countries of origin and destination.

Economic development is only one component of the whole human development.

Without an adequate legal and socio-cultural rights and freedoms, immigrant communities can hardly be in a position to feel themselves at home. Discrimination of all kinds tends to alienate people, especially the youth. To avoid this we have to be engaged in a dialogue which rests on reliable knowledge, critical communication and honest existential and morally responsible involvement. We have to take the relevant international institutions, their decisions and efforts seriously.

Madam President,

Turkey, which is a country of origin, transit and destination as far as migration is concerned, has always been ready to be an active partner in such noble engagement. That is why it supports, for example, the establishment of a Consultative Forum which is recommended in the Secretary General's report. We are not happy to see that except few countries, many migration receiving states have not yet ratified "The UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families".

To conclude, Madam President, immigrants shall continue to contribute to demographic structure, economy and social security system of the countries of destination. However, their contribution depends primarily on solution of their own problems. For this purpose, firstly, countries of destination should liberalize their restrictive immigration policies

which only allow admission o f well education and highly s killed migrants. Secondly, countries of destination should promote investment projects to employ unskilled workers locally in the countries of origin. Thirdly, countries of destination should ratify the international conventions which guarantee migrants' human rights. Lastly, effective international cooperation on the prevention of abuse of immigrants, the illegal migration and trafficking in human being should be among the priority targets.

We hope this High-level Dialogue will be instrumental in providing a better understanding of all aspects of migration and development.

Thank you Madam President.