Declaration on Migration and Development

We, young people of diverse ethnic, religious, cultural, and economic backgrounds, affirm that each person has inherent dignity, potential, and the capacity to give of self. Recognition of this dignity is the basis for authentic development and person-centered migration policies.

Migration is the voluntary and involuntary movement of people due to natural or manmade causes either across an international border or within a state, whatever the distance, duration, and reason. Migration can raise challenges and opportunities for development, for migrants as well as their countries of origin, transit, and destination. It is important to achieve authentic development, which is a process that takes place at all levels of society, creating a social, political, and economic environment that allows persons to reach their full physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional potential in a way that reflects and respects the values of each distinct culture.

States have the responsibility to maintain peace and security in a transparent manner and have the right to regulate migration. Where States do regulate migration they must do so in accordance with their national and international obligations, and must always protect the human dignity of all migrants, in particular refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced persons.

The family is an essential component to achieve social development. It is within the family that children first understand their dignity, realize their potential, and are prepared to be responsible agents of political, economic, and social development. Community members, government, and civil society should support families to fight practices that go against the values of universal peace and human dignity. Thus, migration policies should aim to unify families and provide access to fundamental needs such as clean water, sanitation, shelter, basic healthcare, education, and working opportunities and conditions for all migrants and their families.

As young people, we are especially concerned about the protection of minors in migration flows. Minors are vulnerable to exploitation, trafficking, abuse, and radicalization, especially in the case of unaccompanied minors. We must prioritize the protection of minors to prevent these abuses through education to enable them to identify and report potentially dangerous situations and nurture better decision-making capacity while ensuring more stringent laws to support youth affected by abuse.

Migrants contribute economically to the development of their new communities through their skills and participation in local markets whilst simultaneously contributing to their countries of origin through remittances. Regardless of the migrant’s economic contribution into a community, governments should place the respect of the human dignity at the center of their migration policies, which will result in the development of the full potential of all persons. 

We recognize that there are pressing environmental issues, including natural disasters, and we believe that these require innovative solutions. The importance of these long-term environmental measures and solutions are aimed at the protection of human dignity and ensuring the health and wellbeing of present and future generations. We also recognize that natural disasters and problems resulting from climate change have led to migration, and that these situations require both immediate and long-term responses that meet the needs of those affected.

We note with special concern those whose migration is involuntary. Suffering and injustice expose the universal human condition of vulnerability and reveal a common identity among all persons. This in turn lays the foundation for lasting solidarity. We, as young people, commit ourselves to all those who live in need, experience the vulnerability and hardships of war, violence, social unrest, and force. Conditions should be fostered that meet the needs of those who have left their homes due to force and violence with person-centered approaches and solutions that recognize and protect the dignity of all migrants. These approaches and solutions should be grounded in longitudinal, peer-reviewed research.

Therefore, we call upon individuals, as well as the public and private sectors at the local, national, and international levels, to cooperate in implementing policies that respect the dignity of the person in the areas of migration and development.

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