News from Africa

IOM South Africa Launches ‘I Am a Migrant Too’ - 2012 International Migrants Day Campaign

Human Rights

Témoignages.re / 15 November 2012

IOM South Africa, in partnership with UNHCR and the City of Johannesburg, will today launch a campaign aimed at sensitizing the South African public to the fact that migrants are an integral part of South African society.

Using the slogan "I Am a Migrant Too," the campaign, which will run through December 18th - International Migrants Day - highlights the fact that practically all South Africans are either migrants or related to migrants.

"Whether I migrated from the Limpopo to Gauteng to look for work, or from another country to South Africa fleeing conflict or in search of a better life, or I fled into exile during Apartheid to fight for freedom, or sent my children overseas to study, you are, we are and ’I Am a Migrant Too,’ says Acting Chief of Mission for IOM in South Africa Dr Erick Ventura.

Using poetry - the best of which will be published as a book - and in partnership with the media, the campaign will help to promote peace and diversity by enabling South African communities to recognize that we are all - or have been at some point - migrants, and that migration should therefore be celebrated as part of our existence.

Many previous campaigns have focused on convincing host communities to accept and welcome migrants, in spite of their differences. While it is true that there is richness in the diversity that migrants bring, it is also true that there are a lot of similarities between migrants and host communities, the campaign argues.

"Ubuntu has no nationality, Ubuntu has no borders. We all have a shared responsibility to respect each other’s human rights irrespective of where we come from. We are all migrants and as such are contributing to the global economy and to global cultural diversity," says Ventura.

"We are all migrants and migration concerns all States. How many of us live today in the city of birth of our four grandparents? Not many. We are all children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren of migrants. Rare are those who have settled in one and the same place for numerous generations. Migration is in the DNA of mankind. Migration is not an anomaly: it is the normal state of our human condition on this planet," says UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants François Crépeau.

IOM has appointed Stoan Seate - one of South Africa’s most established artists and credible voices to be the ambassador of the ’I Am a Migrant Too’ campaign. Stoan has been one of SA’s most vocal celebrities against the problem of xenophobia.

He became a superstar as part of the legendary group Bongo Muffin. He has since undertaken a solo music career as a rap and Kwaito artist, TV presenter (Afro café, SABC 2), and poet and event host.

As part of the campaign, IOM is inviting poets from across South Africa to submit poems on the subject of ’I Am a Migrant Too.’ Entries can be made at www.iamamigrant.co.za. Entry forms can also be collected from IOM offices in Pretoria, the City of Johannesburg Migrant HELPDESK, and the UNIC library in Pretoria.

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 13, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)

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