ISLAMABAD - National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq has urged world Parliaments to set a positive migration narrative through policy-making and legislation.

“We can achieve better national, regional and global migration governance frameworks through dialogue and understanding,” he said while addressing the 138th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in Switzerland, said a handout issued here by the National Assembly Secretariat on Monday.

The National Assembly Speaker said that democracies around the world were presently facing a complex mix of opportunities and challenges.

“Democracy is not holding elections alone. It is about developing a new socio-economic culture of mutual respect, understanding, the rule of law and accountability,” he said.

He said that “democracy fails when it turns its back to the needs of the vulnerable and bows to populist demands of seclusion, prejudice and pride”. 

Sadiq said that more than 258 million people were living in different countries as foreigners after they have immigrated in search of a better future and at the same time, many of them were victims of terror, prosecution and fear. 

He said that at the last IPU Assembly held in St Petersburg, it had adopted as the emergency item pertaining to the grave humanitarian crisis, persecution and violent attacks on Rohingyas and had called it a threat to international peace and security, calling for ensuring the unconditional and safe return of the Rohingyas to their homeland in Myanmar.

He said that despite a lapse of five months, the plight of the Rohingyas remains the same. “The same situation is in the Middle East where the Syrian refugee crisis and the Yemen war has led to new centres of human civilisation’s devastation while the 4th generation of the Palestinians has grown up in the refugee camps, awaiting their return to their independent homeland,” the Speaker said.

Sadiq said that Pakistan has vast experience of hosting refugees for decades. “Today, more than 80 per cent of world’s refugees are being hosted by developing countries, which are already facing their own socio-economic challenges,” he said.

He said that in such contesting times, providing protection and assistance to refugees should be the responsibility of the entire international community. “However, the burden is not shared equitably,” he said.

He urged the elected leaders to change the narrative and their cooperation on migration governance should be based on mutual respect, understanding and the spirit of accommodation.

He said that for continued asylum space, it is of paramount importance that perennial responsibility-sharing gaps in the international system for protection of refugees were addressed through increased funding, technical support, expanded resettlement in third countries and complementary pathways.  The Speaker said that despite stressing enough on the need for durable solutions and addressing the root causes of forced displacement, “we should maintain peace and security and early resolution of conflicts to ensure that refugees could return in safety and with dignity”.

Sadiq said that the international immigration was a driver for growth which has brought opportunities, experiences and new ideas for all.

He said that Pakistan has a strong, vibrant and skilled diaspora of 2.7 million working in the developed countries and their remittances were an important contribution for the development of Pakistan.

 

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