Migration: A chance to change the story

Illustration depicting communities coming together

The story of migration is not new. Throughout human history, people have always been on the move.

As a result of migration, said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, “we have created bridges between peoples and cultures and enriched each others’ lives in our old and new homes.”

Yet in recent times, harmful narratives on migrants and migration have been increasing. They are ever-present in the speeches of political movements, in our media and social media.

Migrants have been scapegoated, they face discrimination, intolerance and even hate crime.

Amidst these narratives, and as a result of them dominating public opinion and policy, migrants are frequently stripped of their human rights.

Connection and togetherness, two very fundamental human needs, remain an unrealistic dream for far too many.

For this reason, UN Human Rights is urgently calling for a counter narrative, one that paints a more hopeful picture of the future we share. A narrative that creates a brighter future for migrants and communities, puts human rights at the centre, and evokes solidarity, not division.

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

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that disease and tragedy have no borders. However, it has also demonstrated that the world can come together as a giant community, with countless examples of humanity and kindness towards others, and thousands of stories of hope amidst often extreme adversity.

Our campaign, #StandUp4Migrants, tells the human stories behind the politics. Through the voices of migrants and people who welcome them, we hear about shared values, the warmth of communities, and how human connection and understanding starts with a conversation.

A new, interactive toolbox provides ideas and activities for how to change the way we speak about migration, encouraging a shift to more hopeful and positive stories, and moving away from the reinforcement of toxic and harmful narratives.

Together, we can bring about change and stand up for migrant rights.

“We need stories that show that the values we hold in common are stronger than what divides us,” concludes Bachelet. “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.”

Please join us to reshape the narrative on migrants. Share your stories and the vision of the world you want to see with us on social media by using the hashtag #StandUp4Migrants.

See our campaign and toolbox here.

16 December 2020

See also