Statement by Ambassador Jorge Lobo de Mesquita, Permanent Representative of Portugal to the OSCE: 

"Mr/Madam Chairperson,

There is a “need to deepen dialogue and co-operation at all levels within and between all States, as well as with all relevant stakeholders, including social partners, business community, civil society and academia, to effectively address the opportunities and challenges related to comprehensive migration management”.

These words are not my words. These are our words, taken from the Athens Ministerial Decision on Migration Management.

They were true a decade ago and their validity remains today.

Addressing migration requires international and global answers. That is why Portugal was committed to the process leading to the elaboration of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and is proud to be among the first countries to deliver a national response for its implementation.  

Our National Plan is structured along five fundamental axes:

  • Promote safe, orderly and regular migration;
  • Improve the integrated management of borders;
  • Enhance the mechanism of reception and integration of migrants;
  • Facilitate the link of the migrant with the country of origin and create ways to support voluntary returns;
  • Step up partnerships for development in the countries of origin and transit of migrants, in order to tackle root causes.

In order to review and assess the implementation of this Plan, an inter-ministerial coordination committee was established.

Mr/Madam Chairperson,

The Global Compact is based on a set of cross-cutting and interdependent guiding principles, but I would like to particularly highlight two: national sovereignty and human rights.

Regarding human rights, the Pact upholds the principles of non-regression and non-discrimination. By implementing the Global Compact, we ensure effective respect for and protection and fulfilment of the human rights of all migrants, regardless of their migration status, across all stages of the migration cycle.

As we hear many times in the OSCE, regarding other topics, national sovereignty or national security and human rights are not mutually exclusive. They should go hand in hand.

In fact, the Global Compact reaffirms the sovereign right of States to determine their national migration policy, taking into account different national realities, policies, priorities and requirements for entry, residence and work, in accordance with international law.

As I already said, since no country can address the challenges and opportunities of this global phenomenon on its own, joint international action does not weaken national sovereignty. On the contrary, it reinforces that sovereignty by delivering the added value a country alone simply cannot.

Mr/Madam Chairperson,

Our time demands multilateralism in so many topics such as arms control, terrorism, transnational crime, climate change, water management, human rights or migration.

Multilateralism is global, but also regional. The OSCE should thus continue to, and I quote again from Athens 2009, “assist the participating States, upon their request, to promote effective migration management, including exchange of best practices, and to facilitate legal migration and fight illegal migration, while paying particular attention to bilateral and multilateral co-operation in this field”.

Thank you!"

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