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.

GFMD Rapporteur Makes Recommendations

The Civil Society Days of the Global Forum on Migration and Development closed on 30 June with a day of strategy and recommendations for the Global Compact on Migration.  Carolina Gottardo of the Women in Migration Network, the Women Rapporteur,  addressed the plenary.  She assessed key issues on women in migration that had been raised during the CSD as well as recommendations for the Global Compact.

Gottardo quoted the UN Special Representative Louise Arbour , who said that “the Global Compact should aim to promote the best interest of women as women themselves define what is their best interest, and promote empowerment and leadership of women.”  Arbour spoke about elevating the focus of women and girls that has been too far neglected and securing a gender responsive Compact.

In her remarks, Gottardo lifted up the UN Women Recommendations on addressing the human rights of women in the Global Compact of Migration.  She called on civil society to use its power in the Global Compact process, not only aiming for what seems possible (potentially undermining existing standards), but aiming for strong human rights and gender responsive commitments.  This must be done with significant input from migrant-led groups, regional civil society groups, migrant women organisations and migrant women themselves, with a diversity of opinions from civil society.

Click here for the full document.

WIMN members at GFMD 2017 WIMN representatives at the Civil Society Days- Global Forum on Migration and Development, including Women Rapporteur Carolina Gottardo, second from left.

Rights Organizations Call for No Borders on Gender Justice

Contact: Diana Duarte, MADRE 212-627-0444 | Rashima Kwatra, OutRight Action International 917-859-7555

 Rights Organizations Call for No Borders on Gender Justice

 Monday, March 13, 2017New York, NYToday, as the United Nations begins its annual gathering on women’s rights, a coalition of international women’s, LGBTQ, and immigrant justice organizations have launched a joint initiative called: No Borders on Gender Justice.

 This coalition, participating in the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), highlights that this year’s session takes place under the shadow of escalated anti-immigrant, anti-refugee and anti-Muslim policies of the United States. The organizers point to the new executive order by the Trump Administration, set to take effect this Thursday, as the latest in an exclusionary trend that prevents women from exercising their rights to political participation at UN Headquarters. 

 Yanar Mohammed, President of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, spoke out in solidarity with women’s rights activists excluded by these policies. “This is not the time to keep us out of the meeting rooms, out of the decision-making spaces and away from our sisters at CSW,” she said.

 An Indigenous Ixil women’s rights activist from Guatemala, who requested not to be named, said, “I was denied a visa to travel to the US for CSW. Coming from Guatemala or from Central America, we know the obstacles and discrimination that have stood in the way of us accessing international spaces in the US, like the UN in New York. This is a barrier to our work for human rights, worsening in this political climate of fear and exclusion.”

 Organizers of this initiative have emphasized that the risk extends not only to access to CSW. Also at risk is rights advocates’ access to UN and international advocacy spaces year round. Moreover, those most affected are women and their families, far from UN spaces, who face hate crimes, criminalization, detention and deportation due to xenophobic policies.

 The No Borders on Gender Justice initiative seeks to renew strategies to reclaim space to defend the full range of women’s human rights, protest racist and Islamophobic policies that bar access, amplify the demands of those who have been excluded, and deepen collaboration with women most at risk from authoritarianism.

 Organizers have also released a platform of principles, available here. The organizations co-sponsoring this initiative are: MADRE, Just Associates (JASS), Center for Women’s Global Leadership, AWID, Urgent Action Fund, Women in Migration Network and OutRight Action International.