GENEVA, Switzerland, October 29, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – Building on the success of the ‘I AM A MIGRANT TOO’ campaign in 2012, IOM, in partnership with the City of Johannesburg and UNHCR is launching a campaign aimed at raising awareness about the positive contributions of migrants in South Africa.
It is often difficult to discuss migration in times of crisis and high unemployment. Migrants, including refugees and asylum seekers, are often portrayed negatively in the press and are used as scapegoats for social and economic problems.
This campaign, which will run through International Migrants Day on December 18th, will promote dialogue on the positive impacts of migration on South Africa’s country’s social and economic wellbeing.
“Ultimately we are all migrants. Whether one is from Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Somalia, Europe, or Limpopo Province, we are all migrants and migration is an essential part of our lives. Borders are meant to manage migration, not to divide us as people,” says Dr. Erick Ventura, IOM South Africa’s Chief of Mission.
While last year’s campaign gave young writers a platform to showcase their writing skills by entering a poetry competition, this year an opportunity has been opened for artists to take part in a poster competition.
“We are looking for talented young and old artists to design high impact posters that either demonstrate the positive contribution of migration in South Africa, African unity, or are an illustration of an ideal united world. 12 winning posters will have an opportunity to have their work featured on the IOM 2014 Calendar, with the top three from the Junior and Senior Categories winning special prizes,” says Ventura.
“Refugees and asylum-seekers are migrants who have been forced to flee their homes due to war and persecution. While South Africa has an international obligation to receive refugees, it should not be perceived as a burden, but an opportunity for the country as well. Refugees contribute to the economy, pay taxes and bring a cultural diversity that should be celebrated,” adds Clementine Nkweta-Salami, UNHCR’s Regional Representative for Southern Africa.
A booklet featuring a selection of inspiring stories highlighting the positive contribution of migration in South Africa will also be launched.
International Office of Migration (IOM)