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Monday, 19 September 2016

"Economic migration should not be linked to war exile"

  |   Polish President Andrzej Duda at a UN summit in New York (photo by Andrzej Hrechorowicz / KPRP) Polish President Andrzej Duda at a UN summit in New York (photo by Andrzej Hrechorowicz / KPRP) Polish President Andrzej Duda at a UN summit in New York (photo by Andrzej Hrechorowicz / KPRP)
Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

An increasing number of states is confronted with the unprecedented scale of migratory flows in various parts of the world. This phenomenon does not concern only Europe, Africa and Middle East. In fact, every region, every continent struggles nowadays with large movements of people. Their source is not only in armed conflicts, aggressions and violence, they also arise as a consequence of economic crises and natural disasters.

 

When I ponder on the solution to the problem of mass migrations I come to the conclusion that the element that is often missing in debate on the subject, is the differentiation between economic migration and war refugees. These different phenomena require entirely different reactions as a matter of fact. If we tend to merge the tragedy of refugees with the needs of economic migrants, we are not in a position to give effective aid to any of those groups.

 

This is because their aspirations are entirely different. While what causes economic migrations is generally people’s striving to improve their financial situation and to obtain entitlements to social policies, the source of war and political refugee flows is always desire to save one’s life or protect one’s health.

 

The scale of migratory flows in the world of today is immense. According to estimates in my country, Poland, permanently reside more than one million of economic migrants, mainly coming from the East. In turn, based on various estimated figures, about one up to two million of citizens left Poland to work in other European Union countries.

 

Major social migrations require from politicians a very responsible course of action. There are many areas where social migrations may produce social tensions, prejudice, false charges about alleged stealing of jobs or intention to abuse the social system of the receiving state. Unfortunately, there are some politicians who make use of such attitudes. Dwelling on unfair generalizations, they try to gain popularity. Whereas it should be incumbent on politicians to prevent such harmful stereotypes from emerging and destroying social order.

 

I do realize the fact that there are also people for whom the object is not to improve their situation in life through work but to abuse social rights. Obviously, state authorities are obliged to curb such practices. All the more so since the latter tend to reinforce the conviction among the public that all economic migrants are dishonest.

 

As far as war refugees are concerned, I would like to flag up two tasks ahead of us.

 

In the first place, it is incumbent on the international community to eliminate the real root causes behind refugee flows and to restore to everyone the right to live in his or her home country. We shall never consign to the past the tragedy of refugees as long as we do not put an end to conflicts which often arise from imperial ambitions, ethnic hatred or economic interest. There are no wars without reasons, thus, there are no wars which could not be terminated.

 

In the second place, it is our duty to engage in cooperation for a permanent erasure of criminal procedures run by the people who in an inhumane way prey on the tragedy of refugees. What I have in mind is the operations of criminal groups which collect protection money for transportation or smuggling of refugees, and also the phenomenon of laundering of money procured in such a way in renowned banks of the civilized world, and striking deals with criminals and murderers.

 

Putting an end to such practices will not solve the problem entirely but will certainly reduce the tragedy of people who suffer twofold: first, as a result of war, and then because of actions perpetrated by those who prey on their misfortune. We cannot turn a blind eye on bloodstained money which circulates around the world.

 

In each of those aspects, the situation today requires from us effective solutions to be found. The Republic of Poland is prepared to actively participate in such pursuits.

 

Thank you for your attention.

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