Egypt s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry
“Migrants were the first to lose their jobs and some of them were left subject to exploitation by smugglers empowered by restrictions on mobility,” Shoukry said in a recorded video speech to the High-Level Segment of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on the impact of COVID-19 on migration and mobility.
Shoukry added that there has also been a significant reduction in remittances due to migrants losing their jobs amid the pandemic, impacting an important source of income for countries of origin and affecting economic development in both countries of origin and destination.
“This pandemic has demonstrated the importance of initiating a multi-stakeholder dialogue on the national, regional and international levels to devise strategies to align safety and health measures across borders during health crises, including health certificates and vaccines,” he said.
Shoukry also said that the role migrants played in the sustainable development of their host countries was made clear during the pandemic, proving that encouraging migration mobility is instrumental to mitigating the economic challenges caused by COVID-19.
Shoukry also called for integrating refugees and migrants into national public health responses and granting equitable access for treatment and vaccines and including them in social protection plans.