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Statements Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

International Migrants’ DayVideo message from Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

16 December 2019

18 December 2019

Today is International Migrants’ Day, an opportunity to reflect on the experiences of people, who have left their country in search of opportunities, safety and a better life.

Every person who migrates has their own reasons for leaving behind homes and families, and each one of these people has their own unique experiences along the journey: their own personal story of exile and belonging.

My own great-grandfather came from France to Chile, many years ago. And I too was forced to leave my country for a time. 

I recall the warmth people showed to me at that time. It was this generosity and solidarity that helped me, and helps many others, to develop a new sense of belonging, and hope.

When we listen to stories about migration, we realize that we all share a longing to belong, to care for our loved ones, and to be connected with friends and communities.

I have frequently expressed my concern about the attitudes and behavior that reject, dehumanize, exclude and attack migrants. Even though such sentiments rarely represent the mainstream view of migration, a few try to divide us and shout down more moderate opinions. The effects of such divisive narratives are wide reaching within our societies, reducing our trust in and connections with each other.  

On International Migrants Day, I call on all of us to join together in celebration of what unites us. Because it is when we come together that we can overcome differences and struggles. It is here where all of us find that we belong.

I hope all of you will join me in standing up for migrants' rights

See the video