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Statements Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

International Migrants DayVideo message by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet

18 December 2020

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18 December 2020


For thousands of years, we have been on the move. We have been moving to follow a dream, a love, or in search of a better life. To go to school, to work, or to be safe. As a result, we have created bridges between peoples and cultures and enriched each others’ lives in our old and new homes.

And yet we frequently hear and read hurtful words implying that migrants don’t belong where they are; that they have no place nor rights among us. These are words that dehumanize, and turn people who are just like you and me into “the other”.

Such words can truly hurt.

Harmful narratives have significant consequences for migrants, for the communities that welcome them and for those who defend their rights.

They harm us all. COVID-19 has shown us that excluding and discriminating against groups of people makes us all weaker. 

To build societies that can be more resilient and resistant to all kinds of shocks, we need to act with greater solidarity.

Instead of repeating harmful narratives of fear and exclusion, it’s time to welcome people into our communities, to reimagine our collective future.

Join us in reshaping the narrative.

We need stories that show that the values we hold in common are stronger than what divides us.

Stories that inspire and connect us, rather than tearing us further apart.

Stories that paint a hopeful picture of the future we share. 

And stories told by migrants themselves.

I know it is often difficult to be hopeful, especially after the challenges and turmoil caused by COVID-19.  But I am.  Because I know that crises can also bring transformation.

I am convinced we can make this change for the better, into the future we want.
If we work together. If our work includes everyone. And if it is grounded on everyone’s human rights.  

Join us in standing up for migrants and their rights!