Civil society organizations have commended UN Member States for a new comprehensive international agreement on migration. The final document includes substantial achievements that will improve the lives of migrants on the ground.
On 13 July 2018, United Nations Member States finalized the Global Compact on Safe, Regular and Orderly Migration (GCM) in New York. The historic achievement brought together States, civil society organizations and migrants themselves for the first time to negotiate an agreement covering all dimensions of international migration. The agreement will be adopted at the end of the year in Morocco.
In a statement released on the same day, a group of civil society organizations, including the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC), commended the final document. The statement highlights specific points, such as favoring community-based alternatives to child detention and committing to using detention of adults as a last-resort measure while working towards other options.
The final GCM document also includes provisions aimed at ending child detention, a key demand of civil society organizations throughout the negotiations period. The GCM mentions the need to expand regular avenues for migration and measures for regularization as a way to increase safe, orderly and regular migration while reducing vulnerabilities.
The protection of migrants in situations of vulnerability, including those fleeing slow- and sudden-onset natural disasters, the adverse effects of climate change and environmental degradation, is also included.
However, the civil society statement also highlights some concerns.
The organizations involved believe for example that the GCM is not yet in line with current international standards and regional practices in areas such as the non-criminalization of migrants and of those who provide support to them.
Mention of access to essential services, full labor rights and freedom of association for irregular migrant workers is also absent from the final document.
The agreement will be formally adopted at a UN Member States meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco, on 10-11 December 2018.
The signatories to the statement are ready to continue working with States and other stakeholders in the implementation and follow-up phases.
“We look forward to participating in the concrete next steps,” reads the civil society statement. “We will continue to work on behalf of migrants and their communities around the world, with the goal of ensuring their human rights and upholding their human dignity.”