On 24 February 2020, ICMPD’s Director General was a panelist at the High-Level Panel Discussion “A New Balanced Narrative on Migration – Attaining rights-based migration policy through a balanced public debate on migration” in Geneva.
The panelists were Hon. Evarist Bartolo, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Malta, H.E. Ambassador Ehab Fawzy, Assistant Foreign Minister for Multilateral Affairs and International Security of Egypt and Carl Hallegard, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to the UN Office in Geneva.
The event took place within the 43rd Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council and was co-organised with Malta, the Permanent Mission of the Arab Republic of Egypt, with the support of the European Union in framework of Euromed Migration Programme, which is implemented by ICMPD.
Panelists discussed ways to enable policy makers and international actors to better respect human rights as enshrined in international law in the development of migration policies by fostering a less polarized and evidence-based public debate on migration.
Director General Spindelegger highlighted the importance of good communication and proper information sharing: “We have seen that people do not feel well-informed about migration issues. From research, we know that people feel a strong need to discuss about migration and to exchange on their beliefs and concerns. Our political communication has to ensure an open and frank discussion with the people and the media as main messengers towards the public.”
Furthermore, the Director General conveyed the potential of positive stories and reporting in shaping the narrative on migration. “In 2018, more than 330,000 people received a positive decision on their asylum application in the EU. This is a strong confirmation of the rights-based approach of the EU and the will to help people in need of the protection. In the same year, there were almost 200,000 returns of people who did not fulfil the requirements for staying in the EU. This is a confirmation of the fact that the system is willing and able to enforce its decisions.”