INTERNATIONAL MIGRANTS DAY: MIGRATION ISSUES GETTING NEW ATTENTION AT THE UN ____________________________

newsletter-6The United Nations (UN) celebrates International Migrants Day on December 18. Issues related to migration are currently receiving greater attention at the UN than in the past. On September 19, the UN General Assembly made up of the 193 Member States, adopted the landmark New York Declaration on Migration and Refugees. As part of this initiative, a very intensive process involving Member States, as well as the active participation of the private sector, civil society, migrants and diaspora, has begun with the intent of producing a Global Compact on Migration. The process will be very rigorous, and will span throughout 2017 to the early part of 2018. The main objective of the initiative is to have the Global Compact on Migration document ready for adoption by the UN Member States in 2018.

In his speech at the adoption of the New York Declaration on September 19, the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, indicated that the event represents a breakthrough in the collective efforts of Member States of the UN to address the challenges of human mobility.  The Global Compact on Migration will only increase in its impact once adopted.

Read more: Migration issue getting new attention at UN: migration-issues-worlds-refugees

 

UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY SUMMIT: SAFETY AND DIGNITY OF REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS

The glRefugees summit page en.pngobal scale of migrants and refugees currently witnessed is unprecedented. According to the United Nations (UN) 2015 data, the number of refugees and migrants around the world was over 244 million, (a 41% increase compared to 2000). Migration is a very complex global issue that will require concerted efforts from the international community to find lasting and sustainable solutions. The UN has taken on the responsibility to galvanize the Member States for global action on this phenomenon. On September 19, 2016, the UN General Assembly will host a High-Level Summit, the first ever called for Heads of State and Governments on Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants. Major tasks of the summit will include considerations regarding to best means for the international community to respond to the growing issue of refugees and migrants, and to formulate a blueprint for improved international, regional, and national responses.
Ban Ki-moon refugees.png
As a lead up to the September 19 Summit, the Secretary General of the UN, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, released a report in May 2016, titled: “In Safety and Dignity: Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants.” This report provides background for the September Summit. It also calls for a comprehensive framework for addressing the large movements of migrants and refugees, root causes of such movements, and the need to protect the human rights of those compelled to embark on such often perilous journeys.

Learn more:

  •  “I was waiting for recess. Diary of a child in detention” wins the first edition of the “Justice for Children” Award: defenceforchildren.org
  •  Interactive map showing origins and destinations of migration 1990-2015 allows one to select a country and a year and then click on another country to see how many of its people that year immigrated into or emigrated from the first country.

THE HUMAN RIGHT TO SEEK ASYLUM: A MAJOR CRISIS TODAY

KatieBlawie-167-WebBy Katie Blawie, Intern in the SNDatUN Office

The adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN General Assembly in 1948 signified a major milestone in the international fight for human rights and dignity. Still upheld today, this document of 30 articles transcends differences in religion, culture, politics, and other divisive issues, and represents worldwide unity. http://bit.ly/1e0ELb2

Article 14 graphicGiven the current migration crisis in Europe, I found Article 14 to be particularly interesting. Article 14(1) states: “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.” Dangerous conflict and violence in Syria, Afghanistan, and Eritrea, as well as other countries in the Middle East and Africa, have led to hundreds of thousands of people fleeing to Europe to seek asylum. This is considered a crisis both because of the divide among EU countries over how to handle the burden, and because of how many people are losing their lives attempting to make this migration.

Asylum Claims in Europe Graphic

    UNHCR Graphic

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 650,000 migrants and refugees have been detected crossing EU borders so far this year, with over 500,000 seeking asylum (BBC News). Tensions in Europe are high because certain countries have taken on a much greater burden than others, and there is disagreement over how to solve this problem.

The journey to get to Europe is extremely dangerous, but migrants and refugees are willing to take the risk to flee the violence and human rights abuses in their countries. According to the UN Refugee Agency, over 3,000 people have died so far this year trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea. There have been multiple tragedies in 2015 involving shipwrecks and drownings.

Given that the UN predicts one million migrants will reach Europe by the end of 2016 (EuroNews), this human rights crisis needs to be thoroughly addressed immediately. Keeping in mind Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, these refugees must be granted asylum. They have fled their homes and all they have ever known, and should be welcomed with care and concern. The European Union countries need to work harmoniously to remedy this devastating situation in the short term, but also come up with a concrete, sustainable long-term plan. In addition, the root cause of this refugee crisis – the ongoing violence and conflict in these war-torn countries – must be addressed and prevented.

GLOBAL FORUM: CONTRIBUTIONS OF CIVIL SOCIETY TO MIGRATION

By Grace Amarachi Ezeonu, Intern in the SNDatUN Office, and SNDatUN delegate to the 8th Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD)  

Amarachi Grace Ezeonu“Creating a conducive environment which supports the realization of the full developmental potential of international migration and migrants is one of the key concerns of the 2015 Global Forum on Migration and Development. International migration has become a force for the economic, social, and cultural development of both the countries of origin and of destination of migrants. To fully harness the enormous possibilities of human mobility for sustainable development, a suitable policy framework for the protection of migrants must be put in place at the national, regional and global levels. This requires the partnership, cooperation and concerted efforts of all stakeholders including civil society organizations (CSOs), governments, and the private sector.

handsPerspectives from CSOs on the different topics for discussion during this forum would be invaluable to addressing the complexities of international migration and migrants. This dialogue is necessary because CSOs can provide their hands-on experience through work with migrants in different situations globally. As in the previous forums, I trust that CSOs will continue to be persistent in their advocacy for systemic change in policies at all levels to ensure that the human rights (especially labor and social rights) of migrants are protected. I am delighted to represent the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur at this crucial global forum, along with 300 other participants from various CSOs around the world, and look forward to the opportunity to learn and network with others.” http://bit.ly/1U6F7Sr

GLOBAL FORUM: CONTRIBUTIONS OF MIGRANTS TO DEVELOPMENT

By Mary Jo Toll, Chair of the NGO Committee on Migration, and SNDatUN delegate to the 8th Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD)

L to R: Mary Jo Toll, Cristina Igoa and Diana Eusebio at UN Migration event

L to R: Mary Jo Toll, Cristina Igoa and Diana Eusebio at UN Migration event

“Having worked on preparation for all eight Global Forums on Migration and Development and having attended those in Mexico, Mauritius, and Sweden, I am well aware of the positive results of civil society advocacy in these working sessions. Among them are: 1) enhanced understanding of the contributions of migrants to development, 2) recognition of barriers to migration which are inconsistent with the needs of all countries (both developing and developed), and 3) growing partnerships of civil society, UN agencies, and countries, particularly in the area of action on respect for migrant human rights.”

NGO Committee on MigrationMary Jo continues, “I am looking forward to the intense work of the GFMD in Istanbul at which we will further emphasize and extend the work that the NGO Committee on Migration (www.ngo-migration.org) is doing on issues of migrants in crisis in transit, fair labor standards and fair recruitment costs, migrant empowerment, and keeping migrants present to the coming Sustainable Development Agenda. This work is critical to our NGO role in advocacy for positive systemic change on an international level.”

 

Read the summary of the Migrants in Crisis in Transit Survey:
Migration Survey Summary 2015

Nzambi a tu bane nguzu mu Kukaiela!
(God give us the strength to keep moving forward!)
Bantu dialect

STRENGTHENING PARTNERSHIPS: HUMAN MOBILITY FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

GFMD logo“Migrants whose human rights are duly promoted and respected, who are well integrated in the countries where they live, and who are able to exercise their talents and energy in productive employment and decent work can contribute mightily to the development of their countries of origin and destination.” [Global Forum on Migration and Development, 12-16 October 2015, Istanbul, Turkey]      http://bit.ly/1U6F7Sr

View a graphic display of migration patterns:  http://nyti.ms/1BDsXrS

SAT-7 KIDS SATELLITE TV: EDUCATION FOR DISPLACED SYRIAN AND IRAQI CHILDREN

UN Global Education Envoy Gordon Brown called for a multi-million dollar emergency fund for education, noting that refugee children have the fewest opportunities for schooling. Good news: an innovative on-air school enables Syrian and Iraqi children, whose education has been disrupted by conflict, to start learning again.   http://bit.ly/1BiOd0g