LOS ANGELES (CMC) — Four Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders on Friday joined their counterparts from Latin America, the United States and Canada in signing the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection.
The Heads of Government of Barbados, Jamaica, Belize and Haiti gathered with 16 other counterparts in Los Angeles, California, on the margins of the Ninth Summit of the Americas, to reiterate their will to “strengthen national, regional, and hemispheric efforts to create the conditions for safe, orderly, humane, and regular migration and to strengthen frameworks for international protection and cooperation.”
“We embrace the need to promote the political, economic, security, social, and environmental conditions for people to lead peaceful, productive, and dignified lives in their countries of origin,” the declaration states.
It added that “migration should be a voluntary, informed choice and not a necessity”.
The leaders said they were committed to protecting the safety and dignity of all migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and stateless persons, regardless of their migratory status, and respecting their human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The leaders also acknowledged that addressing irregular international migration requires a regional approach, and that ongoing health, social, and economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbate the root causes driving irregular migration, including the vulnerabilities of many migrants and their communities.
The declaration said further that:
“We value the tradition of our region in welcoming refugees and migrants and showing solidarity with our neighbours.
“We recognise the positive contributions of refugees and migrants to the socio-economic development of their host communities.
“We recognise the sustained efforts of States in our hemisphere in hosting refugees, providing regular migration pathways, promoting local economic and social integration, facilitating safe, dignified and voluntary return, and supporting the sustainable reintegration of returnees”.
The leaders said they remain committed to collectively leveraging the benefits of migration while addressing its challenges in countries and communities of origin, transit, destination and return.
The heads of states and government also said they intend to strengthen the institutions that are responsible for migration management in their respective countries and to exchange best practices in order to provide “efficient and adequate care to migrants and access to protection for refugees”.
They affirmed that countries of origin and countries and communities hosting large numbers of migrants and refugees may need international financing and assistance related to development, basic humanitarian needs, protection, security, public health, education, financial inclusion, and employment, among others.