Despite the efforts, the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration falls short of its promises.
- Since the beginning of 2018, more than 1,422 persons have lost their lives in the Mediterranean attempting to migrate to Europe.
- In Central America more than 429,000 people from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras fled their homes since 2015.
- In Europe, the total number of entries has been dramatically reduced, from 239,492 individuals in 2016 to 102,308 migrants in 2017 and 48,629 so far in 2018.
- On Friday 13, July, the United Nations Member States concluded the six-month process of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration by announcing the final draft.
- The GCM falls short of the promises of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants adopted in September 2016.
NEW YORK/GENEVA – Friday, 13 July 2018 marked the end of intergovernmental negotiations on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). United Nations Member States concluded the six-month process by announcing the final draft of the GCM. Franciscans International (FI) was involved all six rounds of negotiations, analyzing various drafts of the text, and advocating for the protection of human rights of all migrants, regardless of status.
The migration crisis: facts and figures
According to the United Nations, there are more migrants and displaced persons now than at any time since the Second World War. Since the beginning of 2018, more than 1,422 persons have lost their lives in the Mediterranean attempting to migrate to Europe. Governments are enacting new restrictions on asylum seekers and other migrants; in Europe, the total number of entries has been dramatically reduced, from 239,492 individuals in 2016 to 102,308 migrants in 2017 and 48,629 so far in 2018. In Central America more than 429,000 people from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras fled their homes since 2015, according to La72, a Franciscan migrant shelter in Tenosique, Mexico. In Malaysia, 62 migrant workers (and victims of human trafficking) coming from one of the poorest Indonesian provinces were killed in 2017.
The GCM: between consensual progress and status quo
The closing session of the GCM process on July 13th provided a good opportunity to reflect on the text’s advances and limitations. A large consensus of Member States presented a forward-looking and positive view of diplomacy and multilateralism. The Permanent Representatives of Mexico and Switzerland, who acted as co-facilitators, were able to navigate a delicate balance in this challenging and charged political moment in which xenophobia and racism are on the rise. FI is grateful for their leadership.
However, the GCM falls short of the promises of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants adopted in September 2016, in which Member States had committed, among other priorities, to protect the human rights of all refugees and migrants, regardless of their status. The “achievements” of the GCM mentioned by some are merely repetitions of already-existing international human rights obligations. The GCM was unable to bring forward the groundbreaking framework the world needs to live up to the expectations of millions of migrants. In some respects, the GCM even regresses in terms of human rights protection by adopting lower standards than those already existing in some countries.
“The final text of the Compact is far from what we fought to achieve. We have ended up with a text that practically reinforces a differentiation between regular and irregular migrants, limiting the access of the latter to public services. The failure to address and prohibit the criminalization of migrants will continue to cause the harm we are all witnessing now around the world. We also lost several essential human rights protections throughout the rounds of negotiation; the call to end the practice of exploitative employer-tied visas disappeared; and the realization of the right to nationality was considerably undermined,” said Marina El Khoury, UN Representative for Franciscans International in New York.
Implementation and next steps
FI will continue advocating for the respect, protection, and fulfillment of the universal human rights of all migrants and refugees, no matter their status and situation. We will strive to ensure that migration policies remain rooted in core human rights principles. In the next few months, we will continue to follow the process and monitor the implementation phase of the GCM, working to ensure that the abovementioned gaps are addressed through existing international mechanisms.
NOTE TO EDITORS:
Franciscans International is a human-rights organization based in Geneva and New York. For more information about FI: www.franciscansinternational.org
The Global Compact for migration is the first, intergovernmentally negotiated agreement, prepared under the auspices of the United Nations, to cover all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner. For more info: https://refugeesmigrants.un.org/migration-compact
For media inquiries, please contact:
In New York, Ms. Marina El Khoury, at email@example.com +1-929-990-7873
In Geneva, Ms. Sandra Epal Ratjen, at firstname.lastname@example.org +41 (0)22 779 40 10