The UCL–Lancet Commission on Migration and Health: the health of a world on the move
With one billion people on the move or having moved in 2018, migration is a global reality. International migration has increased to 258 million, and the numbers of refugees and people displaced by conflict, natural disasters, and climate change are at their highest levels: 22 and 40 million, respectively. Despite negative political narratives, migration is not overwhelming high-income countries—instead, it takes place mostly between low-income and middle-income countries and most people are migrating for work. By and large, migration is a positive and diverse experience. But migration has also become a political lightning rod.
The UCL–Lancet Commission on Migration and Health steps into this political debate to provide evidence for cooperation and action on what is one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century. The Commission’s foundation is that migration and health are inextricably linked—and key to sustainable development. It provides a framework of migration as a dynamic process, providing evidence of the multiple factors that could be beneficial or detrimental to individuals and systems along the migration journey—at origin, transit, destination, and return. It documents the devastating impacts of forced migration, especially on girls and women, but also the overall benefits to the health of individuals and populations that migration generates. It lays out a research agenda to better ensure the health of migrants. Using the lens of health the Commission shows that migration policies can be both ethical and feasible—calling for governments, international agencies, and professionals to promote health in global mobility.
Migration and health: human rights in the era of populism
"Historically, the overall contribution of migrants to the economy and wealth of hosting countries has exceeded their costs. Migration helps address labour market imbalances, and migrants contribute more in taxes and social contributions than they receive in benefits.
However, increasing opposition to migration is expressed in political rhetoric and social media. Xenophobia and racism are galvanised by populist discourse that serves domestic political interests. A climate of intolerance facilitates the passing of discriminatory laws and the introduction of measures against migrants that contradict fundamental human rights. Additionally, public misinformation campaigns and the diffusion of fake news through social media make public opinion more receptive to extreme actions such as forced expulsions and building walls between peoples. The UCL– Lancet Commission on Migration and Health
makes a strong case for action to respond to the health needs of migrants while maximising the benefit from migration. The Commission provides evidence that discredits those who promote intolerance and shows that mortality is, on average, lower among migrants than people in host countries."