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December 18 is International Migrants Day. This year’s theme, picked by the United Nations, is “harnessing the potential of human mobility.” Do we?

December 18 is International Migrants Day, a day to educate the public on who migrants are and on the difficulties they encounter in their journeys, as well as to mobilize popular and political support to address the issue both at the national and international level, and to celebrate migrants.

We live in a world that is as interconnected as it has ever been, and in which more people than ever before live in a country that is not the one they were born in, according to the United Nations (UN). UN estimates place the number of international migrants in 2020 at more than 280 million (roughly 3.6% of the global population), and every projection available points at a constant increase in these numbers in the future. While some of them choose to leave their country of origin and migrate to another, many have little to no choice. 

Every year, the United Nations pick a theme for International Migrants Day. This year’s is “harnessing the potential of human mobility.” A natural question comes to mind, if only one listens to the news or reads any paper: do we “harness the potential of human mobility?” Do societies and governments recognize the potential of the millions of immigrants who reach their borders, or do they resist immigration as much as possible? Do we accept immigrants and help them to get integrated and settled, or are they still victims of instances of racism and discrimination?

People from the Middle East and Northern Africa who, at great risk and expense for themselves and their families, travel to Europe, often find inhospitable societies and have to jump through many hoops to obtain the documents they need to stay in Europe legally and be able to provide for their families or educate their children.

The latest example is the situation at the border between Belarus and Poland. Similarly, people from Central and South America who try to enter the United States through the US-Mexico border have been mistreated, with children being separated from their parents and instances of detention and violence.

The vast majority of these individuals are forced to migrate because of war, harsh economic conditions, or the effects of climate change.Even those who choose to emigrate, mainly to complete their studies or to seek better employment opportunities, face an uphill battle from the moment they make the decision to leave.

So, the answer to the questions listed above is, quite simply, no. We do not “harness the potential of human mobility.” We make it as hard as possible for people to migrate, even if migrants enrich our culture, our society, and our economy

Veronica Zanetta Brandoni

Veronica, originaria della provincia di Novara, si è trasferita a Roma per frequentare la triennale in Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) alla LUISS. Dopo un semestre passato a Macao, Cina, e la fine del percorso triennale nel luglio 2019, si è trasferita a New York, USA, per frequentare un Master alla New York University (NYU) in International Relations and International Law. Si è laureata nel maggio 2021 con una tesi sulla giustizia per vittime di violenze sessuali in ambito di genocidio e crimini contro l'umanità.
Nel novembre 2020 ha iniziato a lavorare per una ONG no-profit basata a Washington, DC, e che opera principalmente in Siria, in Turchia e negli USA, la Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF), dove attualmente è Advocacy Director.
Veronica ha iniziato a scrivere di diritto internazionale per IARI nel marzo 2021, passando in redazione nel settembre dello stesso anno.

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