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.

UN Representative on Gender-Inclusive GCM

Ms. Louise Arbour, UN Special Representative for International Migration, has called for a gender-responsive and human rights-based Global Compact on migration.  Ms. Arbour made the remarks via video, addressing a forum organized by UN Women and the Women in Migration Network in Berlin, 30 June, 2017 on  Strategic Approaches for a Gender- Responsive Global Compact for Migration.  The event was held as a side event at the Tenth Global Forum for Migration and Development, Common Space.   Ms. Arbour congratulated UN Women and all experts who contributed to the “important and concrete” Recommendations for addressing women’s human rights in the global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration.

“Changing the lens through which we look at migration is a pre-requisite for success of the Global Compact and we should start by elevating the focus on women and girls that have too long been neglected in migration debates,” said Ms. Arbour.

“The expression ‘women and children’ is often a way to portray them as vulnerable and in need of protection from men, ignoring the reality that women, men, girls and boys all have specific needs and vulnerabilities,” she observed.

“We need a new narrative that looks at women in migration as rights-holders, agents of development, and most importantly, leaders, that bring dynamism, motivation and cultural richness to societies…It’s now time to integrate a strong gender-equality perspective into migration governance,” she affirmed.

View Ms. Arbour’s four minute presentation here.

As the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for International Migration, Ms. Arbour is responsible for working with Member States, in partnership with other stakeholders, as they develop a first-ever global compact on safe, orderly and regular migration.  She leads United Nations advocacy efforts on international migration, provides policy advice and coordinates the engagement of United Nations entities on migration issues.

For more information on the forum, click here.

WIMN Launches Issue Briefs for GFMD

The tenth edition of the Global Forum on Migration & Development is being held from 28-30 June 2017 in Berlin, Germany.  The Civil Society Days take place from 29 June to July 1, to be followed by the People’s Global Action on Migration, Development and Human Rights (PGA).  The Women in Migration Network has a strong presence in each of these meetings.

Berenice Valdez Rivera, Instituto para las Mujeres en la Migración (IMUMI) of Mexico is civil society co-chair of the Civil Society Days, and Carolina Gottardo of Australia is the Women Rapporteur.  Both are WIMN members.  A delegation of 26 members will represent WIMN concerns at the Civil Society Days, meet with member states on the Common Space Day, and attend the PGA.  In addition, WIMN will co-host a side event with UN Women on 30 June, Strategic Approaches for a Gender- Responsive Global Compact for Migration.  Monami Maulik of the Global Coalition on Migration and Jille Belisario of the Transnational Migrant Platform are co-conveners of the PGA.  WIMN is a member of the Global Coalition on Migration and a part of the International Planning Committee for the PGA.

In preparation for the GFMD, which focuses this year on inputs to the Global Compact on Migration, the Women in Migration Network has launched ten Issue Briefs, highlighting key concerns and recommendations for a strong, human rights based and gender-responsive Global Compact.  See each of these briefs below.

  1. General Concerns
  2. Women’s Agency
  3. Push Factors
  4. Racial Discrimination and Xenophobia
  5. Regularisation
  6. Criminalisation & Firewalls
  7. Trafficking
  8. Smuggling
  9. Borders & Detention
  10. Labor Migration
  11. Consideraciones Generales (En Espanol)