Britain urges more distinction between refugees and economic migrants

British Prime Minister Theresa May is to call for a "better distinction between refugees and economic migrants" in her speech to a UN summit on migration on Monday.

The international community should build "a new, more effective global approach to manage migration," May said in advance excerpts from her speech to the UN General Assembly in New York.

"We need to work together to find a better response, which focuses our humanitarian efforts on those refugees in desperate need of protection and maintains public confidence in the economic benefits of legal and controlled migration," the speech said.

May will propose that UN member states adopt three guiding principles in negotiating new commitments for refugees and migrants, including a "better distinction between refugees and economic migrants," her office said.

Failure to improve this distinction "encourages more people to put their lives in the hands of criminal gangs and undertake dangerous journeys," it said.

May will also suggest that UN nations aim to "ensure that refugees claim asylum in the first safe country they reach, recognizing that the current trend of onward movement benefits criminal gangs, exposes people to grave danger and reduces the prospects of them ever returning home to rebuild their countries."

All countries must have the right to control their borders and "the responsibility to manage borders to reduce onward flows [of] illegal and uncontrolled migration," she was quoted as saying.

The UN summit says it is aimed at developing a more "comprehensive, predictable, systematic and equitable" approach to migration.

Last update: Mon, 19/09/2016 - 14:19

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