“When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.” ~ Wayne Dyer
Every year on December 18 the world marks International Migrants Day, a day set aside to recognize the important contribution of migrants while highlighting the challenges they face.
Conflict, the effects of climate change and disasters are pushing people out of their homes in search of a haven. In their journeys, they are often faced with risks of abuse and exploitation.
In an increasingly mobile planet around one in eight people on the globe is a migrant or is moving. This is likely to increase due to conflicts, persecutions, environmental degradation and climate change. People also move because of a lack of human security and opportunities.
The experience of migration is a key determinant of health and well being — especially among low-skilled migrant workers. They remain among some of the most vulnerable members of society — often living and working in conditions not conducive to good health and well being.
I am grateful that when I chose to relocate to the US in 2006, these were not the circumstances I faced. We did leave our homeland though in search of improved living and working conditions for me and my daughter.
Back in the Philippines and here in the States I got used to moving every other year — it was something I even enjoyed doing. But with the arrival of a worldwide pandemic — I have been sheltering in place longer and much has changed since I last moved in early 2019.
I have lived in the same neighborhood since the end of 2009 and I am happy about the change even though I have not decided where I intend to move to just yet. For now, I am putting my stuff in storage and flying back to the Philippines for a few months to check things out and to recalibrate.
I have not been back since 2017 and am wary that the country has devolved under the mismanagement of the past two presidential administrations. It may be out of my control but it still is a bother that affects me.
For now I focus on packing and organizing. As I empty out closets and shelves I can look forward to the move and change it brings with positive expectation and excited anticipation. I pray all migrants are provided the same consideration and opportunity.
Over the past eight years at least 51,000 migrants have died — and thousands more have disappeared. Behind each number is a human being — a sibling, child, parent, elder.
Migrant rights are human rights — to be respected without discrimination. Irrespective of whether our movement is forced, voluntary, or formally authorized — we hope to all be afforded equal grace and dignity.
We must expand and diversify rights-based pathways for migration — to advance the Sustainable Development Goals and address labour market shortages.
We need greater international support for investments in countries of origin to ensure migration is a choice, not a necessity. This is not a migration crisis — rather it is a crisis of solidarity.
Today and every day let us safeguard our common humanity and secure the rights and dignity of all. Happy holidays and safe travels to all!