Solidarity Center Addresses GCM Thematic IV

Neha misra 24 July 2017 3

Neha Misra addressed the Fourth Thematic Event in preparation for the UN Global Compact on Migration, held at UN Headquarters in NY from 24-25 July. She spoke on behalf of the Solidarity Center, an international labor rights NGO and part of the global labor movement that works directly with migrant workers in over 20 countries, as well as the Women in Global Migration Network (WIMN), a network which convenes organizations and activists to expand rights-centered policies that prioritize the interests of diverse women and families affected by migration around the world. The fourth of six thematic sessions addresses migrants’ contribution to development, remittances and the role of migrant in both economic and social development.

Neha misra 24 July 2017 4                                         Neha Misra, Solidarity Center

Misra questioned the framing of “migrant women’s contribution to development” which instrumentalizes women’s labor rather than affirming women’s rights and agency. “This framing blatantly ignores the lack of worker rights and protections for migrant workers, and the other economic, social and political costs for workers and their families,” she said. She urged full labour rights for all migrants and a world where migrant workers could fully participate in the right to organize and collectively bargain, to guarantee those rights.

“We cannot promote the contributions of migrant workers as stakeholders in sustainable development without providing them with options for fair migration. This means zero recruitment costs; regular forms of migration that are less exploitative than temporary or circular migration programs – regular migration programs that include visa portability, the ability of migrant workers to easily change employers, family unification and pathways to long-term residency and citizenship. The Global Compact should not be used to strengthen migration management approaches that advance profits over rights, including the expansion of temporary work programs, which very often deny migrant workers their fundamental labor rights while also undermining workers’ rights in destination countries by creating a separate class of workers (migrants) with unequal rights. This may undermine the decent work agenda committed to in Agenda 2030. Governments should not be using state policy to enable employers to secure a temporary, low–wage workforce in place of permanent workers,” she said.

Regarding migrant women’s agency, she said that “we must recognize that women in migration are not “vulnerable”, in need of “rescue”, they are advocates for their rights and agents of change. Current migration policies create the contexts of exclusion, inequality and rights violations that put women at risk and in a situation of vulnerability. The migration discourse should not be about “protecting women” but about protecting women’s rights. Migration policy must recognize the rights and agency of women rather than reinforcing gendered power relations.”

See Neha Misra’s remarks here.