It is unfortunate that top United Nations bureaucrats and the World Economic Forum chose International Migrants Day to propagandize, instead of engaging honestly and openly with the problematic issues that migration has wrought, especially in Europe. Pictured: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, on January 23, 2020. (Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images)
When the UN marked International Migrants Day on December 18, 2019, the theme was "social cohesion." António Vitorino, director general of the UN's International Organization for Migration (IOM) wrote in an op-ed entitled "Social Cohesion: Recognizing Migration is a Benefit that Works for All":
"This year on International Migrants Day, the IOM has chosen to focus on social cohesion, in recognition not just of migrants, but of the communities in which they can and do flourish...
"Too often, when we speak of migration, we debate whether it is good or bad, costs too much or pays out too little... But to view migration as an accounting practice is to reduce it... It is an evolving...yet integral part of our societies, enriching them in multiple, intangible ways...
"Today's political climate is challenging; oftentimes migrants make for an easy scapegoat for all the ills of society, rather than one element of a cure...we need to constantly remind the international community of the reality – both historic and contemporary – that when well managed migration works, closed societies can become open, and political tensions fade away."
"Security concerns are being wrongly used to criminalize migrants and people trying to support them", according to Felipe González Morales, the UN's Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, and Can Ünver, who chairs the UN Committee on Migrant Workers:
"At a crucial moment when migration policies are being reviewed in many regions and countries, it is vital that security concerns do not override the human rights of migrants... While security can be a legitimate concern and invoked as a justification for limitations to certain human rights, it cannot lead to the criminalisation of migration, or of those who support migrants."
They also urged states to do more to combat "hate speech" against migrants:
"Hate speech often leads to the stigmatisation and criminalisation of migrants, and has a grave negative impact on the realisation of their human rights. It is time for States to step up their measures to combat it."
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged states to "bring the Global [Migration] Compact to life" as "policies shaped more by fear than fact" have caused "unspeakable hardship" to migrants.
"Migrants are integral members of society, contributing to mutual understanding and sustainable development in communities of both origin and destination... Yet, we often hear narratives around migrants that are harmful and false".
"I have frequently expressed my concern about the attitudes and behavior that reject, dehumanize, exclude and attack migrants", said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet,
"Even though such sentiments rarely represent the mainstream view of migration, a few try to divide us and shout down more moderate opinions. The effects of such divisive narratives are wide reaching within our societies, reducing our trust in and connections with each other."
The World Economic Forum, a not-for-profit foundation headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland which strives to "engage[s] the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas" published an article on its website, "Why it's time to celebrate migrants," by Marie McAuliffe, Head of the IOM's Migration Policy Research Division and Ian Goldin, Professor of Globalization and Development at Oxford University. The authors wrote:
"On this International Migrants Day, we should celebrate the wide-ranging contributions migrants have made to all of our lives and societies. None of us would be where we are if our ancestors had not migrated, and yet, migrants are increasingly regarded as outsiders and blamed for a widening range of social ills. More accurate and balanced accounts of migration are desperately needed. In this era of disillusionment, of fake news and misinformation on migration, recognizing the contributions of international migrants worldwide and why we should celebrate them is more important than ever...
"In the face of often negatively skewed discussions on migration and migrants, one can lose sight of the fact that most migration today, as in the past, results in strongly beneficial impacts not only for the migrants themselves but also for the receiving and sending countries."
It is unfortunate that top UN bureaucrats and the World Economic Forum chose International Migrants Day to propagandize, instead of engaging honestly and openly with the problematic issues that migration has wrought, especially in Europe. Claiming that most migration results in strongly beneficial impacts belies the experience with migration in large parts of Europe.
The project of multiculturalism in Europe, including the integration of people from the Middle East and Africa, has fared extremely poorly until now, and no amount of denial from the UN or the World Economic Forum, including leveling accusations of "hate speech" and "fake news" at its critics, can alter that fact.
Many migrants have made it clear that they have no wish either to contribute to, or become part of, the European societies into which they have migrated. Parallel societies, as documented in "Secrets of Britain's Sharia Councils," which aired in 2013, or the Danish three-part television documentary, "The Mosques Behind the Veil," have sprung up all over Western Europe.
Dutch sociologist and professor at Berlin's Humboldt University, Ruud Koopmans, who has been researching migration and integration for more than 20 years, has concluded:
"For anyone who takes facts and data seriously, it is undeniable that integration of Muslims is worse than with other groups of immigrants. There is no doubt about that. There can also be no doubt that in most other groups of immigrants we see great progress from one generation to the next. It is not completely absent from Muslims, but the change is much slower".
Sweden, which used to be held up as a model of the Scandinavian welfare state, is in an economic crisis because it cannot cope with the financial consequences of migration. A majority of Swedish municipalities and regions have to make severe cuts in their welfare services as a result. At the same time, the country is experiencing a wave of gang crime in which violence appears driven by mainly migrant gangs.
While UN "experts", such as the ones quoted above, claim that "Security concerns are being wrongly used to criminalize migrants and people trying to support them" the fact nevertheless remains that migration poses grave security risks: it leads to the importation of both terrorism and crime. Todd Bensman of the Center for Immigration Studies, in the report "What Terrorist Migration Over European Borders Can Teach About American Border Security", describes the extent to which terrorists disguised as migrants have entered the European Union to commit terrorist attacks:
"Between January 2014 and January 2018, at least 104 Islamist extremists entered Europe by way of migration... All 104 were killed or arrested in nine European nations after participating either in completed and thwarted attacks, or arrested for illegal involvement with designated terrorist groups...Of the 104 migrants implicated in terrorist acts, 29 were involved in 16 completed attacks inside Europe between 2015 and 2018. These attacks killed 170 people and wounded at least 878 more..."
Migrant crime gangs also pose a threat in Europe, with various migrant gangs operating from Sweden in the north to Sicily in the south. One of the growing migrant crime syndicates, the Nigerian mafia, among other criminal activities, preys on vulnerable Nigerian women, thousands of whom it has lured into sexual slavery in Europe. How is that form of migration "strongly beneficial"?
In Germany, authorities believe that it will take decades to get rid of the Middle Eastern family crime clans that have spread their criminal activities throughout the country. Sweden also is reeling from the many shootings and explosions that migrant crime gangs are responsible for throughout the country.
None of these grave issues was even hinted at by the UN's and the World Economic Forum's "experts" on migration in their statements on International Migrants Day. Instead, they encouraged states to clamp down on critics in the name of "hate speech". What are they afraid of?
John Richardson is a researcher based in the United States.