Special migration body launched

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica: A commission to advise Commonwealth governments and agencies on how they may adopt mutually beneficial and practical policies to maximize the benefits of international migration has been set up under the leadership of former Jamaican Prime Minister P.J. Patterson.

The Ramphal Commission on Migration and Development was launched during the 31st Heads of Government Conference, which began last Sunday.

Its aim is to transform the way migration is viewed and treated within the Commonwealth and, ultimately, to improve the lives of people across the 54 Commonwealth countries and beyond.

Patterson said that the first exercise will be to make the case for the Commonwealth to take concerted action on the subject of migration.

“We came to this decision, because history informs us that the modern Commonwealth is a product of the migration of its peoples,” he said.

Patterson said one of the tasks of the Commission is to highlight the positive aspects of international migration, as well as the negative aspects, and how best to reverse the trend.

He said it is the view of the Commission that the Commonwealth is uniquely placed to develop and implement practical and mutually beneficial policies which can, in turn, be recommended to the international community, and serve as a model in dealing with the problems of migration.

“But, before this can happen, the Commonwealth has to deal with the obvious shortcomings in current government policies,” said Patterson.

The Commission chairman explained that his team will be conducting its work with a deadline of November, 2011. On completion, a report will be presented to the Commonwealth Heads’ meeting in Perth, Australia.

Patterson said the plan is to recommend strategies for Commonwealth governments which will maximize the benefit of cross border migration, so that it may increase opportunities for the development of poorer states, their communities and their citizens.

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