Past & Upcoming Activities & Actions

GCM Activities during Climate Action Week, New York

From 21-24 September, GCM sent an international delegation to participate in Climate Action Week activities in New York City. Our members participated in the People’s Climate March, the People’s Climate Justice Summit, the Flood Wall Street Action, and the Climate Justice Tribunal.

DOWNLOAD the full report of GCM activities  


Report – Advancing Human Rights at International Borders

Last week, representatives of the Global Coalition on Migration (GCM) traveled to New York City to welcome the release of a new document on human rights at international borders. “Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights at International Borders,” was published by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and was released as a conference document during the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly.

This new document is the product of an important collaboration between OHCHR and civil society, including members of GCM. For over a year, OHCHR and its civil society partners worked together to compile existing rights and obligations enshrined in international law and to demonstrate how protection of these rights should be applied at international borders.

The Guidelines set out a series of recommendations for governments to implement human rights-based border governance mechanisms, including implementing human rights training for border officials, legislating mechanisms to ensure accountability of private actors contracted to provide border management functions, and establishing procedures for the reporting of human rights violations that occur at borders with provisions for access to justice.

Importance of this document for migrant communities and civil society

The Guidelines do not set out new rights nor do they change states’ human rights obligations. However, the document gives migrant communities and civil society organizations an advocacy tool to highlight the human rights crisis at international borders. It reaffirms that borders are not “zones of exception,” and that no appeal to national security or the sovereign right to control borders excuses the persistent and dangerous disregard for the human rights of those crossing borders.

In addition to assisting civil society in holding governments to account for their human rights obligations, the Guidelines have great potential to serve as a popular human rights education tool, such that migrant communities are aware of their rights in border zones.

OHCHR launches the Guidelines

OHCHR’s public release of the Guidelines took place at two side events: one in Brussels and one at the UN Headquarters in New York City. Speakers at the New York OHCHR event included Mr. Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights; H.E. Mr. Thomas Mayr-Harting, Ambassador, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations; Mr. Francisco Carrión-Mena, Chairperson of the Committee on Migrant Workers; Mr. Udo Janz, Director of UNHCR Office in New York; Ms. Michele Klein Solomon, Permanent Observer of IOM to the United Nations; and Ms. Catherine Tactaquin, Executive Director, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. The event was chaired by the Representative of the Permanent Mission of Argentina.

The speakers reflected on the crisis at international borders, with many referencing the recent deaths of migrants at sea, particularly in the Mediterranean where thousands have died attempting to reach Europe and hundreds of thousands have been rescued from sinking vessels. Affirming that states have the sovereign right to determine who enters their territory, the panelists agreed that such functions must only be carried out in compliance with international law and with respect for human rights.

Speaking in her capacity as Executive Director of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and as a representative of GCM, Catherine Tactaquin highlighted the voices of those who work along the US-Mexico border daily.

Christian Ramirez, Director of the Southern Borders Community Coalition:

As nation states continue to criminalize migration and militarize international borders it is imperative for the international community to ensure that nation states uphold their obligations to uphold human rights and human dignity. Tragically, the rights and dignity of border residents have been trampled upon by policies and strategies that militarize communities, disrupt daily life, and endanger the rights of border residents and migrants. The tens of millions of people who call the boundary between Mexico and the United States home are heartened by the OHCHR’s concerns over the state of human rights in our region.

Isabelle Garcia, Attorney & Public Defender, Spokesperson for Coalición de Derechos Humanos:

As borders across the world become highly militarized and policed, basic human rights, including the right to life itself, are being trampled in an unprecedented and alarming fashion. From the wholesale unnecessary deaths of thousands of border crossers to the painful separation of families, communities along the Arizona/Sonora border live the direct consequences of US policies, economic restructuring, and the indifference, ignorance, and fear of the US body politic. It becomes imperative that governments and the international community focus on the human rights crisis occurring at the crossroads of our intersecting and conflicting interests played out on these fragile and battered regions. It is here where this document can be most useful, allowing affected peoples to raise human rights principles to bring justice and dramatic change in the management of borders.

Eduardo Canales, Coordinador, South Texas Human Rights Center:

These principles and guidelines can help to challenge “the cloak of secrecy on detaining and processing migrants by the border patrol, practices that are decidedly punitive and discretionary. Clearly the initiative to create this document has been more than welcome and encouraging for policy advocates and those working every day in border environments to ensure the safety and well-being of all migrants. The principles locate human rights and non-discrimination at the centre of border governance.”

Ms. Tactaquin emphasized the importance of popularizing this document and its potential for brining about tangible changes in border governance that will help to save lives.

We will not be satisfied with these pages being a nice document drafted in 2014 but that remains largely invisible and that will not play a role in shifting the narrative of human rights at international borders.

GCM celebrates the release of the Guidelines with partners in New York

Following OHCHR’s launch event at the UN, GCM hosted a celebration and interactive discussion, endorsed by OHCHR, at the Church Centre for the United Nations. Leonardo Castilho (OHCHR) contextualized the document and highlighted its core elements. He emphasized the migrants’ rights is one of the OHCHR’s main priorities.

Human rights are not reserved for citizens only or people with visas. They are inalienable rights of every individual, regardless of his or her location or migration status.

Jamil Dakwar (ACLU) participated in the drafting of the Guidelines. He spoke about the negotiating and drafting process for the Guidelines in response to the crisis at borders, emphasizing that this document is an attempt to hold governments accountable for their obligations under international law.

…violations against migrants and people crossing borders happen in areas where it’s hard to document what’s happening, it’s hard to monitor, it’s hard to shed light, it’s hard to hold accountable those who are committing those violations, it’s hard to reach even, because these are sometimes dangerous areas. The very mere fact of thinking together with civil society, international agencies, and states of ways to strengthen existing mechanisms is a great step forward.

Diego Morales (CELS/GCM), in a video message, spoke about his organization’s role in the formulation of the Guidelines. Reaffirming that border zones are not zones of exception, he called attention to the fact that borders are zones where some of the worst human rights violations occur with impunity. Emphasizing calls for due process and strict regulations to guard against violations perpetuated with impunity, Mr. Morales expressed the support of CELS and its regional partners in South and Central America for this document.

…we consider it important to support this process, and this event being held alongside the discussions at the UN today. The consolidation of these principles and guidelines in the framework of human rights for migrants can increase the possibility of protection in border zones, where historically a huge number of rights violations are committed.

Yanira Chacón-López (NALACC/GCM) brought forward the perspective of how these Guidelines connect to the work of migrants rights advocates working at the grassroots, and their potential impact on migrant communities. Yanira spoke about her work with migrant women in Long Island, New York, focusing on the struggles migrant families face in crossing the border with their children. She drew attention to the way in which border enforcement extends beyond border zones, as increasing numbers of undocumented migrants are issued electronic ankle bracelets as an alternative to the expense of detaining them in holding centres until deportation. Yanira spoke of the humiliation and psychological effect of such devices on migrants and their families. She also spoke about the barriers to access to education for undocumented children in the US. She expressed optimism that the Guidelines could be used in public education efforts such that migrants would be better aware of their rights.

Many thanks to our sponsors for this event: Endorser: Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) / Co-soponsors: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS), Colectivo PND-Migración, DRUM South Asian Organizing Center, Families for Freedom, Migrants Rights International (MRI), National Alliance for Latin American & Caribbean Communities (NALACC), National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights (NNIRR), NGO Committee on Migration, Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM), and United Methodist Women (UMW).

Advancing Human Rights at International Borders

Borders Side Event PosterThis week, GCM representatives are traveling to New York to welcome there release of “Recommended Principles & Guidelines on Human Rights at International Borders”—a document that will be released during the UN General Assembly on October 22nd.

The document on human rights at borders was drafted under the auspices of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and will be announced in a report by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon concerning migrant children as well as protections at borders. The Secretary General’s report is available at Several GCM members participated in the drafting of this document along with other civil society groups.

Our delegation will also participate in a side event led by OHCHR on October 23rd, where GCM will be represented by Catherine Tactaquin (NNIRR) who will speak about the human rights concerns of migrant communities in the world’s major migration corridors.

On October 23rd, from 5pm to 7pm, GCM will host our own celebration and civil society dialogue, endorsed by OHCHR, about the guidelines document and its potential for enhancing human rights protections at international borders. This event will take place at the Church Center for the United Nations (777 UN Plaza – Boss Room, 8th floor). All are welcome to join!

#ClimateAction is #MigrantRights – GCM Participation in the People’s Climate March & Climate Summit, NYC

Banner - Climate ActionNext week, the UN will convene a major Climate Summit, preceding the opening of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly. In response to this UN climate initiative, a massive march — People’s Climate March — is being organized in New York City, calling government attention to the need for governments to adopt real, human rights & nature-centred solutions to the climate crisis.

The GCM, our friends, and allies will march with grassroots communities at the front of the march and will also participate in the subsequent People’s Climate Justice Summit to deepen our analysis on the intersections between climate change and migration, and to strengthen our alliances with the climate justice movement.

Check for updates throughout the week via our Twitter feed – @GCMigration.

Undoing Borders: Intersections of Climate Justice & Migrants Rights Movements

Climate & Migration workshop presentationAt the Our Power Campaign, U.S. Convening in Richmond, California in August 2014, GCM Coordinator, Colin Rajah facilitated a critical discussion on the intersections between the climate justice and international migrants rights movements.  The attached presentation captures the underlying issues that bring these movements together, which framed the discussion on how communities impacted by both issues are one and the same, and the root causes are also from the same sources.

Click here to download the presentation: Climate & Migration workshop presentation (Our Power Convening, August 2014)

HRC Side Event: Human Rights at International Borders

20 June 2014 - Borders Side Event - HRCOn Friday, 20 June from 11:30 to 13:00, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Government of the Philippines, and the Global Coalition on Migration (GCM) will co-organize a side event on Human Rights at International Borders. This side event will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, at Palais des NationsRoom XXV. The side event will explore the multidimensional issues of human rights at international borders, looking to human rights frameworks for solutions to the contemporary dilemmas of border governance. CHAIR: H.E. Ms Cecilia B. Rebong, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Philippines OPENING REMARKS:

  • Bacre Ndiaye, Officer-in-Charge, Research & Rights to Development Division, OHCHR


  • Janice Marshall, Deputy Director, Division of International Protection, UNHCR
  • François Crépeau, Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants
  • Prof. Walter Kaelin, Envoy of the Chairmanship of the Nansen Initiative
  • Sue Le Mesurier, Head of Migration Unit, IFRC Geneva
  • Catherine Tactaquin, Executive Director, National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights (NNIRR)

Co-organized by:

  • United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
  • Permanent Mission of the Philippines
  • Global Coalition on Migration (GCM)


HRC Side Event: Ending Child Immigration Detention

HRC26_Flyer_with logosOn Thursday, 19 June from 14:00 to 16:00, a side event entitled “Ending Child Immigration Detention” will be hosted by Terre des Hommes (TdH), International Detention Coalition (IDC), Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM), Save the Children, and the Global Campaign to End Immigration Detention of Children, sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Italy and Mexico.

There has been increasing momentum to end child immigration detention as a matter of priority in recent months. States, UN human rights bodies, inter-governmental agencies, and civil society have all seen the detrimental impacts of detention on child health and well-being and are joining the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to call for a “complete and expeditious” end to child immigration detention. This side- event will present a number of good-practice examples from states who are exploring, developing and implementing child and family-sensitive alternatives to the detention (ATD), including a discussion of the many cost, compliance and human rights benefits of ATD.

Distinguished panelists include:

  • Mr. Farah Abdullahi Abdi, formerly detained child migrant
  • Mr. Amedeo Trambajolo, Minister Counsellor, Deputy Permanent Representative, Mission of Italy
  • Mr. Raúl Heredia, Ambassador, Permanent Representative, Mission of Mexico
  • Mr. François Crépeau, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants

UN High Level Dialogue on Migration & Development 2013: National Priorities, Tools for Collaboration, & Accountability

The UN General Assembly (68th session) held a High Level Dialogue on Migration & Development in New York from 3-4 October.  Member states issued a Declaration calling for respect of human rights and international labor standards. At the same time, 91 member states made speeches where they lifted up national and international priorities regarding migration.  Civil Society organized interactive hearings on 15 July, 2013 and brought a Five Year Action Plan for collaboration to the High Level Dialogue.  Referencing that plan, women from around the world released a platform on Women in Migration.

As a tool for follow-up, collaboration and accountability, the Global Coalition on Migration and the Women & Global Migration Working Group have compiled an assessment of each of the national speeches made at the High Level Dialogue regarding mention of civil society priority concerns, including gender issues. This is a contribution to our efforts over the next five years to see concrete outcomes from the High-Level Dialogue.  We welcome input to this work in progress and particularly welcome feedback on how you are using it as a tool for advocacy with your government. Our thanks to Justine Ulanday, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and Kyle Dyer, United Methodist Women for their research.

Click here to download the full tool.

International Women’s Day March

Your organization is invited to join the call for a march on International Women’s Day, 8 March 2013, “For a Life Free from Violence Against Women and Girls“, addressing the theme of the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW57) taking place at the United Nations, in New York.  We call on governments to:
  • Take concrete steps to end impunity;
  • Fund gender equality and human rights instead of militarism; and
  • Protect women human rights defenders.

This event is co-organized by the Women & Global Migration Working Group (WGMWG), part of the Global Coalition on Migration (GCM).  It is an opportunity to lift up concerns regarding migrant women at International Women’s Day activities globally.

Marches will be taking place in New York and around the world.  You can join us in New York City on Friday, March 8, 10:00am, First Ave. and 42nd St or organize your own local event.  Please see below for details in English, Spanish and French.   To endorse the global action, contact Natalia Cardona by February 28:  Thank you!




Civil Society 5-year Agenda Proposal for HLD

On 15 November 2012, over 70 organizations around the world endorsed a 5-point statement regarding civil society-related modalities of the 2013 UN High Level Dialogue on International Migration & Development (HLD.)

Members of the GCM, along with GFMD Civil Society Days Coordinator (International Catholic Migration Commission – ICMC), and the NGO Committee on Migration, then developed a proposal to further elaborate the thematic issues on global migration policy and recommended that the UN create a 5-year agenda for implementation.  The document was submitted to the UN on 30 November 2012.

The GCM is proposing to seek broad support and to continue to use this 7-point framework (which now has over 100 endorsements worldwide) to develop global civil society’s collective advocacy and actions around the HLD and onwards, beginning on February 2013 in New York at the 11th Coordination Meeting on International Migration (CM11).  We hope that it can become a central focus of our advocacy work for the HLD and beyond.

The full document can be found here: Civil Society 7-point, 5-year Agenda Proposal for HLD.

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