NCHR launches report on irregular migration from Pakistan

ISLAMABAD   -   The National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) has called for addressing root causes of migration through sector-specific programs and local development initiatives.

The recommendation was made in a study titles ‘Perilous Journeys: Unravelling Irregular Migration from Pakistan,’ launched by NCHR in collaboration with International Organisation on Migration (IOM) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Denmark . Federal Minister for Law and Justice AzamNazeerTarar was the chief guest on the occasion.

The report calls for dedicated awareness units in smuggling-prone areas, awareness campaigns, special investigation units within districts, investment in training systems to enhance human capital development and fiscal benefits and improved coordination and data sharing among the stakeholders.

The report also recommends clarity on responsibilities among law enforcement agencies, establishment of well-defines pathways for regular migration, inter-institutional coordination, poverty alleviation and literacy promotion among vulnerable communities, enhancing the prospects of safe, orderly and regular migration accommodating diverse skills and provision of incentives to retain high-skilled professionals in the country.

Speaking on this occasion, Chairperson Rabiya Javeri Agha said that the commission, through this report, aims to comprehensively examine the landscape of irregular migration originating from Pakistan. “It also emphasises the distinction between human trafficking and migrant smuggling while shedding light on the drivers of migration, gaps in policy and legislation and the associated human rights abuses.

Federal Minister for Law and Justice Azam Nazeer Tarar appreciated the efforts of NCHR and said that irregular migration is a serious global issue. He said that primarily it is the state’s responsibility to provide its citizens with the environment where could see their future in the country but that environment could be created only with collaborative effortsof all stakeholders. “Such studies guide these efforts in the right direction,” he said.

Chief of Mission IOM Mio Sato said that irregular migration is one of the most pressing issue of the time. She said that there are 281 million international migrants worldwide, almost 3.6 per cent of the total population of the world and the trend is increasing due to conflict, violence, political instability as well as climate change and other disasters. She called for joining hands to address the issue at every level.

The report says that the primary driver of migration from Pakistan is economic opportunity, along with factors such as job availability, education access, social network influencing destination choices. It says that a significant portion of Pakistan’s population expresses a desire to leave the country,particularly in urban areas.

The report mentions that Pakistani authorities, while noting the complexity in measuring irregular migration, have highlighted a new route via Dubai to Egypt or Libya leading to Europe. In the first half of 2023, around 13,000 left Pakistan for Libya or Egypt. Notably, about 10,000 of these migrants have not returned.  

The report states that in 2022, Pakistan was not even among Europe’s top ten countries for migration. “However, by mid-2023, it became the tenth most prominent, with arrivals reaching 8778 December. This surge reflects factors such as political and economic uncertainty, terrorist attacks, inflation, and declining education and job opportunities. Furthermore, the devastating floods in 2023 worsened economic prospects, with forecasts predicting a slowdown to 2.8 per cent growth,” says the report.

It recommends that efforts to address irregular migration requires a multifaceted approach involving collaboration among government agencies, civil society organisations, and international stakeholders. It says that by addressing the underlying factors driving migration and ensuring the protection of migrants’ rights, policy makers can work towards creating a more secure and prosperous future for individuals and communities affected by irregular migration.

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