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Cordaid NL
Cordaid

Restrictive migration policies hamper Sustainable Development Goals

On International Migrants Day, Cordaid calls on the Netherlands to protect migrants, to uphold human rights and dignity, and to enable migrants to live safe and prosperous lives.

( 2015. Refugees on the border between Greece and Macedonia. © Cordaid/Arie Kievit)

We believe that by addressing the root causes of forced migration, promoting safe and legal migration routes and integration, and enabling migrants to contribute to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals, The Netherlands can contribute to achieving the 2030 Agenda.

“Cordaid will never accept funding that forces us to demonstrate how many migrants we have stopped on their way to Europe – even if some donors would want us to.”

Kees Zevenbergen, Cordaid CEO

As violent conflicts continue to blight fragile contexts, millions across the world are forced to leave their homes and communities behind. Today, over 70 million people are uprooted, most of them within the borders of their own country. Many have crossed borders in an attempt to escape violence and persecution, putting themselves at the mercy of traffickers and criminal networks in the hope of finding a safe haven where they can live and work in peace. In addition to violence, people are forced from their homes due to debilitating poverty and hunger, unemployment, and climate change.

Stop shutting the doors for regular migration

Over the past few years, Dutch migration policies have shifted toward preventing migrants from reaching European shores. Policies intending to limit irregular migration shut the door for regular migration. Migrants are now being held indefinitely in transit countries: Libya, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. Host communities in these regions are increasingly under financial and social pressure, causing tensions that can flare into conflict. In some cases, migrants are subjected to arbitrary detention, sexual abuse, and violence.

“The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek sustainable and integral development.”

Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ (2015)

“Cordaid will never accept funding that forces us to demonstrate how many migrants we have stopped on their way to Europe – even if some donors would want us to”, says Cordaid CEO Kees Zevenbergen. “We will continue to tackle the drivers and root causes of forced migration. Only then can we make migration voluntary. Only then can we ensure that migrants can fully and meaningfully contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals”, he concludes.

Migration is part of human society and human history

Cordaid sees migration as an integral part of human society and human history. Data shows that migrants have a strong impact on the well-being of destination and origin countries. They set up businesses, help their communities build skills and orient themselves in new settings, and transfer remittances and knowledge back home. Yet restrictive integration policies in the Netherlands hamper migrants’ full participation in society. As a result, we prevent migrants from fully contributing to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals that the Netherlands is committed to.

The Netherlands should reaffirm its commitment to the 2030 Agenda

Cordaid calls on the Netherlands to reaffirm their commitment to human rights and the 2030 Agenda, by:

  • Addressing drivers of forced migration
  • Promote safe and legal pathways for migration and promote migrant integration
  • Enable migrants to contribute to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals

For more information, contact Cordaid Migration Expert Bob van Dillen.