PEOPLE ON THE MOVE: “IS MIGRATION A FEMINIST ISSUE?”

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Refugee women with babies.  UN Photo

The fourth round of negotiations on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration took place from 14 – 18 May.  Members of civil society organizations have consistently pushed for mainstreaming gender perspective in all sections of the compact. This is because many believe that migration is necessarily a feminist issue. The United Nations Population Funds (UNPF) also acknowledges migration as a feminist issue and suggests that gender perspective is taken into consideration when formulating policies on              migration. Below are some of the reasons given by   the UNPF for the above assertion:

  • There are about 250 million international migrants. Almost half of these are women and girls. And women are increasingly migrating alone or as heads of their family.
  • Female migrants face major risks, including sexual exploitation, trafficking, and violence
  • Migrant women face double discrimination – as women and as migrants
  • Women do not stop getting pregnant when they are on the move
  • Women and girls’ migrant are more likely to face health problems – both in transit and at their destination.

Read more:

United Nations Population Fund: https://bit.ly/2GL1gkU

Global Compact on Refugees and Migrants: https://bit.ly/2ATrj5o

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MAKING MIGRATION WORK FOR ALL: THE GLOBAL COMPACT FOR SAFE, REGULAR AND ORDERLY MIGRATION

5In her opening remarks during the first multi-stakeholders dialogue held at the margin of the first intergovernmental negotiations on the global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Migration, Ms. Louise Arbour, made the following plea: “Over the long-term the evidence is clear: the benefits of migration vastly outweigh the challenges. And without a clear understanding of migration, negative narratives surround migrants. “We must not allow xenophobic political narratives about migration distort our objective to enhance international cooperation on migration.” She further stressed that “it is only with facts and context that we can have a respectful and realistic discussion about migration, one that pushes back on the many inaccurate and negative narratives being touted for short-term political gains and misguided policies.”

The large influx of refugees/migrants from some middle east and African countries into Europe between 2014 – 2016, following the escalation of conflicts and the socio-political and economic challenges in these regions raised a huge global concern, as well as socio-political backlash from some European countries. The UN General Assembly (UNGA) responded to the situation by convening a high-level summit to address the large movements of refugees and migrants in September 2016. At the end of the summit, UNGA adopted a resolution 71/1, also known as the New York Declaration (NYD). According to the UNGA, the New York Declaration “expresses the political will of world leaders to save lives, protect rights and share responsibility on a global scale.” Explicit in the NYD was a commitment by the Member States to negotiate and adopt separate global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration and refugees by 2018.

While work on the Global Compact for refugees was largely coordinated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva, the process for negotiating the

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UN General Assembly

global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration was strictly state-led, and facilitated by the Permanent Representative of Switzerland and Mexico to the United Nations. After an extensive multi-stakeholder consultations and six intense months of intergovernmental negotiations, Member States came up with an agreed document on 13th July 2018. The agreed negotiated documents for both the global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration and refugees, will be adopted by the UN General Assembly in early December 2018, in Marrakech, Morocco. When adopted, the global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration will be the first-ever global framework on migration governance.

In her remarks at the end of the negotiations, the UN Deputy Secretary General, Ms. Amina Mohammed, commended Member States for staying in the process despite as she noted, “some profound issues that migration raises such as sovereignty of states and human rights; what constitutes voluntary movement; the relationship between development and mobility; and how to support social cohesion.” Ms. Mohammed pointed out that, “this compact demonstrates the potential of multilateralism: our ability to come together on issues that demand global collaboration – however complicated and contentious they may be.” All Member States of the UN was part of the intergovernmental negotiations for safe, orderly and regular migration except for the United States of America and Hungary.

Read more:  Intergovernmental negotiated and agreed outcome document of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration; https://bit.ly/2LP0ycL

The UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants 2016: https://bit.ly/2bqPpvC

The New York Declaration: https://bit.ly/2o9ItXe

 

 

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE: “IS MIGRATION A FEMINIST ISSUE?”

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Refugee women with babies.  UN Photo

The fourth round of negotiations on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration took place from 14 – 18 May.  Members of civil society organizations have consistently pushed for mainstreaming gender perspective in all sections of the compact. This is because many believe that migration is necessarily a feminist issue. The United Nations Population Funds (UNPF) also acknowledges migration as a feminist issue and suggests that gender perspective is taken into consideration when formulating policies on              migration. Below are some of the reasons given by   the UNPF for the above assertion:

  • There are about 250 million international migrants. Almost half of these are women and girls. And women are increasingly migrating alone or as heads of their family.
  • Female migrants face major risks, including sexual exploitation, trafficking, and violence
  • Migrant women face double discrimination – as women and as migrants
  • Women do not stop getting pregnant when they are on the move
  • Women and girls’ migrant are more likely to face health problems – both in transit and at their destination.

Read more:

United Nations Population Fund: https://bit.ly/2GL1gkU

Global Compact on Refugees and Migrants: https://bit.ly/2ATrj5o

GLOBAL COMPACT ON MIGRATION: MAKING MIGRATION SAFE, ORDERLY AND REGULAR

3Migration is a human experience. People have always migrated, and will continue to migrate. The large movements of refugees and migrants from some Middle East and African countries into Europe over the past few years, as the result of conflict, socio-economic, and political instability in some parts of these regions, gave rise to a widespread global refugee/migrant crisis. While a few countries, individuals, and organizations responded positively by offering hospitality and the needed humanitarian assistance, others were not as forthcoming. Furthermore, some hard-liners in few countries manipulated the situation, presenting migrants as security threats and spreading hate and xenophobic sentiments, often for political gains.

Given the growing crisis, the United Nations responded to the large movements of people by convening a High-Level meeting in which the General Assembly adopted the New York Declaration on Migrants and Refugees (NYD). This meeting took place on September 26, 2016. The purpose of the NYD was to garner the political will of world leaders to commit to share responsibility at the global level to save lives and protect the human rights of migrants and refugees. The NYD also called for two global compacts: Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and a Global Compact on Refugees. Both of the compacts will have a distinct framework to address issues relating to migration and refugees at the global level through international cooperation and responsibility sharing.

The Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration will focus largely on achieving a more equitable allocation of the burdens and responsibilities of hosting displaced individuals and providing safety and support for people on the move. The goal of the global compact on migration is to make migration secure, systematic, consistent, and ultimately voluntary.

Intergovernmental negotiations on the Global Compact on Migration (GCM) commenced this month and will continue subsequently in the coming five months. Five days in each month will be dedicated to the intergovernmental negotiations, at the UN Headquarters in New York. Member States will adopt the final negotiated document in early December 2018, in Morocco. The task for developing the Global Compact on Refugees has been assigned to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in consultation with governments and other stakeholders. The compact on refugees will also be adopted along with the compact on migration.

Speaking with members of the NGO Committee on Migration, one of the co-facilitators4 for the intergovernmental negotiations on the Global Compact on Migration described the compact as the “spine” for addressing the current migration issues. He also added that success of the compacts would lie largely on the political will of national governments to implement the compacts’ directives. This support from national governments is particularly vital, as the compacts are not intended to be legally binding. Members of Civil Society Organizations have since begun rigorous advocacy with governments to ensure that the two compacts meet the needs of the 258 million migrants and 22.5 refugees around the world.

Read More:

Franciscan International 2018 Lenten Reflection on Global Migration:    http://bit.ly/2HvLdrV

Video of Pope Francis on Migrants and Refugees: http://bit.ly/2BFL8kO

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees: http://bit.ly/2dsnVEq

 

CONFERENCE ON WOMEN AND MIGRATION IN THE AFRICAN CONTEXT: AN INFORMATIVE AND CHALLENGING EXPERIENCE

4By Elizabeth Chinamo, SNDdeN: I was privileged to have participated in a two-day conference on women and migration in Africa, held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 6-8 June. The conference was sponsored by six Catholic Religious Congregations, accredited as non-governmental organizations to the United Nations. Over 90 participants from about 10 African countries attended the conference. Some of the participants were currently engaged in work with migrants, some were migrants, while others were interested in learning more about migration issues. Seven Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur from Kenya, Congo-Kinshasa and Zimbabwe/South Africa provinces participated in the conference. Sister Joan Burke (Kenya) was among the local organizing team. I personally found this conference both informative and challenging.

We had input from representatives from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, International Organization for Migration, Kenyan Government, Kenyan Bishop Conference, and other organizations and individuals (including refugees and migrants). It was moving to hear from refugees who are now volunteers. I was also very impressed to hear the delegate from the Kenyan Government commend the efforts of Catholic Religious women and men in providing services to migrants and refugees, and their work against human trafficking. He expressed the interest of the government collaborating with them in future.

Input from the different presenters stimulated discussions among participants on issues 5such as providing adequate protection to migrants and refugees, victims of human trafficking, as well as addressing some of those factors that force people to migrate. During the conference, we went into working groups and worked on different topics for example: environment and migration, migration and public health, human trafficking, and advocacy. I joined 24 other participants to form a group centered on “Countering Trafficking in Person.” The group came up with a 7-Point Action Plan through which we were challenged to continue to work on, within our networks, as we return to our respective countries or regions.

Read more: About the Nairobi Conference; http://nairobi2017.weebly.com/

WORLD REFUGEE DAY: WHEN WE STAND WITH REFUGEES, WE ALSO STAND FOR RESPECT AND DIVERSITY FOR ALL

#5June 20, was World Refugee Day.  A recent report from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) stated the following: “The number of people forced to flee their homes by war and persecution has risen to record high for the third year running, with 65.6 million people displaced around the world – more than the population of Britain. The latest annual global trends study from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports that one person was forced to leave their home every three seconds in 2016. The number of people displaced last year was 3,000,000 higher than 2015. According to the report, refugee numbers were the highest ever in 2016, at 22.5 million, with the majority of people coming from Syria, Afghanistan and South Sudan. Half of all refugees were children.”

On this Day, “we reflect on the courage of those who fled and the compassion of those who welcome them,” as quoted by the Secretary General of the UN, Mr. Antonio Guterres.

Click HERE to sign the UNHCR “StandwithRefugee” Petition to show your solidarity with Refugees

RELIGIOUS AND MIGRATION IN THE 21ST CENTURY: WOMEN AND MIGRATION IN THE AFRICAN CONTEXT

5Six Catholic Religious Congregations at the United Nations, namely; Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Congregations of St. Joseph, Franciscans International, Augustinians International, Passionists International and VIVAT International are collaboratively sponsoring a two-day workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, from June 6-8.    This is part of an effort by these Catholic Religious congregations/NGOs at the UN to educate and empower their members at the grassroots on the very crucial issue of migration and human trafficking. The theme of the workshop is; “Women and Migration in the African Context: Religious and Migration in the 21st Century

Read more:

Women and Migration in the African Context: http://bit.ly/2pGFXYt

International Organization for Migration: http://gmdac.iom.int/

Global Migration Trends Factsheet by the International Organization for Migration: http://bit.ly/2nJo1iy