CSW 63 – WIMN’s Side Event on 14 March

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Leave No One Behind!

Migrant Women’s Access to Social Protection

Women in Migration Network (WIMN) UN-CSW 63 Parallel Event

Thursday, 14 March, 12:30pm – 2:00pm

Second Floor, Church Center for the United Nations

Social Protection and decent work are a critical common link for women within their own countries and for women who migrate. Lack of adequate social protections in both countries of origin and destination put differentiated burdens on women. Cuts in social safety nets are one of the push-factors of migration for many women and their families. The roll back of social protection and shrinking wages in the global North have meant that women work longer hours and, when they can afford it, rely on low wage care workers, many of whom are migrant women of color.

In this context, feminists are exploring how to integrate agendas to understand how current policies specifically affect women in migration. Where are the places for building common agendas for greatest impact?

2019 marks the launch of the UN Global Compact for Migration, which is creating new UN infrastructure for international cooperation on Migration. The Global Compact for Migration, adopted last December by the UN General Assembly, is the first-ever comprehensive UN agreement on international migration and global migration governance. The Compact is “migrant -centered” and has gender-responsiveness and human rights as guiding principles. In this context, civil society launched a Marrakech Women’s Rights Manifesto, calling on governments to put women and girls at the center of migration policy—ensuring their full, equal and meaningful participation at local, national, regional and global levels and guaranteeing their human rights.

This event aims to discuss what cross-sectoral approaches feminists might take to affirm social protections, labor rights and access to social services for women in migration and all women. It will also seek to identify how feminist movements can take advantage of key moments and instruments in 2019 for advocacy. Finally, it will offer participants the opportunity to view and sign the Marrakech Women’s Rights Manifesto, which is being used as an advocacy tool on national and global migration policy. [http://womeninmigration.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Marrakech-Women-Manifesto-English.pdf]


Moderator:       Paola Cyment, WIMN

Speaker 1:         Monami Maulik, Global Coalition on Migration (GCM)

Speaker 2:         Leah Sullivan, Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW)

Speaker 3:         Gemma Adaba, Council of Global Unions

 Discussion Themes:

  • What cross-sectoral approaches might feminists take to affirm social protections labor rights and access to social services for all?
  • What could collaboration among women’s and migrants’ organizations look like at local and national level?
  • How can feminist movements take advantage of key moments and instruments in 2019, such as implementation of the new UN Global Compact for Migration and the High Level Political Forum, to advance the women’s rights and migrant rights agenda?


WIMN promotes women’s human rights at the center of all migration and development policy. WIMN convenes organizations to expand rights-centered policies that prioritize the interests of diverse women and families affected by migration around the world.


The Marrakech Women’s Rights Manifesto

From a caravan of families crossing Mexico to raids in northern Morocco; from new fences being constructed in Europe to the exclusion of refugees in Australia; from people displaced by climate-related weather to those fleeing violence—migrants and refugees are in the news, and half of them are women who face particular challenges.

We have an unprecedented opportunity to demand that migrant women’s rights and leadership be put at the center of the migration debates and policies that hold sway over their lives. On 10-11 December, governments met in Marrakech to adopt the Global Compact for Migration, the first-ever international agreement on migration management. Women in Migration Network and Oxfam International led the development of the Marrakech Women’s Rights Manifesto, gathering hundreds of endorsements for organizations and advocates around the world, and shared the manifesto with world leaders, and through an active media campaign, to supporters around the world. We demanded that migrant women be put at the center of migration policy, now and going forward!

Read the Marrakech Women’s Rights Manifesto (English version) here.

See below for versions in Spanish, French, Arabic, Russian, and Mandarin.

The GCM promised to be “gender-responsive” and “a milestone in the history of the global dialogue and international cooperation on migration.” However, this will only be possible if women’s human rights, international labor standards and crucial principles are fully incorporated into all national, regional and global migration policy. That will depend on all of us!

Click here to read the background document, Women’s Rights in Global Migration Policy

See the video, Road to Marrakech: Help to Ensure the Rights of Women Migrants and Refugees are Upheld, produced by Oxfam International and Women in Migration Network

See the video from our press conference in Marrakech, announcing the Manifesto.


Co-organizers: Women in Migration Network (WIMN) and Oxfam International


Apoya el Manifiesto de Marrakech por los Derechos de las Mujeres [Spanish]

Appuie le Manifeste de Marrakech pour les Droits des Femmes [French]


Поддержите Марракешский Манифест Прав Женщин [Russian]

أيّد بيان حقوق المرأة بمراكش [Arabic]

Background Document – Women’s Rights in Global Migration Policy:

Antecedentes: los Derechos de las Mujeres en la Política Migratoria Global [Spanish]

Les droits des femmes dans les politiques migratoires mondiales [French]

背景:全球移民政策下妇女权利问题 [Mandarin]

Короткая информационная справка: Права женщин в международной миграционной политике [Russian]

: ﺣﻘوق اﻟﻣرأة اﻟﯾﺎﺳﺔ اﻟﺎﻟ ﻟﻠﮭﺟرة [Arabic]


New leaders: women of South Sudan’s camp speak

By Antony Loewenstein

The number of South Sudanese seeking refuge in the United Nations compound in Bentiu has risen above 100,000, the organisation has announced, making it the country’s largest camp for those fleeing the civil war that has killed more than 50,000 people since 2013.

South Sudan marked the fourth anniversary of independence from Sudan earlier this month, but the ongoing conflict between forces loyal to the president, Salva Kiir, and rebels supporting his former deputy, Riek Machar, has left little to celebrate.

Humanitarian organisations say they are struggling to cope with the influx of people to the camp, and conditions are grim as the rainy season — which runs from April to November — envelops everything in thick mud.

With the 100,000 milestone reached, three women living in the camp spoke about how they ended up there – and what they want for the future.

‘I don’t want to live alongside my enemies’

My name is Julia John and I’m 25 years old. I have three children, one-year-old Tuach, three-year-old Nyachiew and eight-year-old Nyawuora. I’ve been in this camp for 18 months. There was fighting outside my house in Bentiu town and we had to flee. My husband, Henry, is also here. Every day I am cooking, collecting firewood, getting water and taking care of my children. I hope for peace and the guns silenced. I will return to my home but I don’t want to live alongside my enemies.

I was hopeful in 2011, during our independence, for a South Sudan with no killing. I want to tell President Salva Kiir that many people have been killed and we need peace. As a woman in South Sudan, we are suffering because when we try to help our children, men can rape and kill us. When we go to collect firewood near this camp, government troops can get us. We are vulnerable.

I know some women who are getting treatment in Juba [the capital] after being attacked. In this camp, the UN supports us but we need firewood and charcoal because we have to leave this place to find them and that brings risk for us from government soldiers. I hope the UN and NGOs can address this.

‘We are not free in our own country’

My name is Tabitha Nyakuon Gai and I’m 36 years old. I’m from the Nhialdin area in Rubkona County. I have six children. I’ve been in this camp for one month. I had to walk two days to get here. My husband is fighting with the rebels and I don’t know where he is. I’ve had no contact with him since September last year. I miss him.

It’s hard to manage kids on my own. My husband fights a just war because the government has killed so many people. Every day I collect firewood and then sell it to make a little money to buy milk for my children.

In 2011 at independence I was happy because I didn’t want to be with Sudan anymore. I wanted to be free. We thought we should be united so it’s hard to believe that we are not free in our own country anymore. Hope disappeared in one minute. I’m worried about my kids’ future — there are no schools, and only the UN gives us food. If the UN leaves, who will feed us?

President Kiir has been in power for 10 years [Kiir served as regional governor before independence] so if I meet him I’ll tell him to leave office. It’s time to give the role to somebody else. Riek Machar has been waiting for so long, give him a chance and then after that Machar can hand over power to somebody else. It’s not right that one person holds power for so long.

‘Now there’s just insecurity’

My name is Nyaduop Machar Puot and I’m 37 years old. I have five children. I came from Boau village in Koch country. It took me six days to walk here. My cattle were taken and house burned. I had to flee. I had no choice. A government-affiliated militia attacked me. I saw women and children burned alive in a tukul [traditional South Sudanese home] by militias. When I saw people burned alive I knew I had to leave my village. I saw two people killed like this and they were my friends. My husband is still back in the village. I don’t know if he’s okay. He could not leave with us because he’s an old man with bad legs. I’ve been two months here in Bentiu.

When independence was declared in 2011, I expected there would be services for my kids and now there’s just insecurity. Today I cannot walk freely. I cannot help my children because South Sudan is at war and in a mess…


Read the entire article: The Guardian (http://women.mg.co.za/we-need-new-leaders-women-of-south-sudans-bentiu-camp-speak)