By Akanimo Sampson
At a high-level conference in the Uzbek capital Tashkent on November 28, the Director of the International Organisation for Migration’s (IOM) Vienna Regional Office, Argentina Szabados, pointed out that there are two keys to the success of global migration: youth and women.
That was the crux of a keynote speech she delivered.
“Migrants are overwhelmingly young, chasing their dreams, determined to make a difference”, Ms Szabados told an audience of politicians, diplomats and activists at the Tashkent International Forum on Enhancement of Partnership on Gender and Youth Issues in the 21st Century.
“And migrants are not only young; more and more they are women”, she added, citing the fact that over half of migrants from the Central Asian region are female.
Underpinning action on migration is the 2018 Global Compact for Migration which Ms Szabados said will allow for a “gender responsive, child-sensitive perspective” as part of the key principles needed for managing migration.
Ms Szabados listed the challenges facing young people and women during the migration cycle, including the challenges of finding work, administrative bottlenecks, lack of legal information on their opportunities, rights, as well as marginalization and discrimination on account of their age, gender and migration status.
“But it’s far from all doom and gloom”, she stressed. “Youth are rising up worldwide for their rights and better opportunities and demanding a seat at the table in decision-making processes, and IOM supports them in every step as they become the next generation of leaders.”
The addition of Uzbekistan to the IOM family last year was a highly welcome development, Ms Szabados told her hosts. “You are already a fond family member and your ambition to empower migrants is already keenly felt. “Where we gather today is just one of the spaces where this participation is being ensured, and where women and youth can voice their vision for the remainder of the twenty-first century”, Ms Szabados concluded.
These sentiments were echoed in the address of Tanzila Narbaeva, Chairperson of the Oliy Majlis Senate of the Republic of Uzbekistan. “Youth and women are an important part of our society. Their power, including their migratory routes are influencing policies, and their voices should be acknowledged and promoted”, she said.