United Nations Summit on Refugees and Migrants: As Governments Converge in Historic Moment, the Global Coalition on Migration Urges Stronger Commitments to Protect the Human Rights of Migrants

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 19, 2016
Contact: Monami Maulik at +1 (347) 385-9113
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NEW YORK — As world leaders gather to address the mass movements of migrants and refugees, migrant and civil society organizations from around the world will address their concerns that the Summit may fall short on concrete commitments to protect migrant and refugee rights in practice, as revealed in preliminary summit documents.

Yesterday, over 150 heads of state signed the “New York Declaration” to make commitments on refugees and migrants.  Tomorrow at 10 a.m., global trade unions and migrant organizations will hold a speak out and media briefing across from the United Nations (UN) at 1 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza.

 Speakers across civil society will bring attention to the conditions that make migrants vulnerable to abuse and what exactly is needed to secure their human rights. There are many millions of irregular migrants living and working around the world, most working in low-wage jobs in the informal economy- in agriculture, domestic work, construction, and various service sector jobs.

 Jille Belisario, a migrant organizer with the Transnational Migrant Platform in the Netherlands and a civil society speaker at the UN High Level Summit explains,

We need to allow people to move across borders for purposes including: to work, to look for work, to have paths to residency and citizenship, to return home, to return to a job, to get education or training, to reunite with family.

The narrative must shift away from that of ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ people and to one that upholds the human rights of all people, including all refugees and all migrants. The large movements of today are ‘mixed flows’ of people who are displaced due to economic, political, or environmental upheaval, many of whom will not qualify as refugees as defined under the 1951 Refugee Convention or how it is being applied. Civil society groups will look more closely at what governments are proposing with respect to migrants and the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants’ commitment to a two-year process to develop a Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (Annex II).

What the Declaration thus far reveals is the reluctance of governments to make concrete commitments to protect migrants’ and refugees’ rights in practice.  Worse, some governments actually insisted on language that backtracks from existing international human rights obligations including those on ending the practice of detaining children.

Child rights authorities worldwide underline that the detention of migrant and refugee children is never in their best interests and always a child rights violation. Children should never be detained, even as a measure of last resort. Even the shortest amount of detention can have detrimental effects on children’s health and well-being,

explains Michele LeVoy of the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants. Migration needs to be much more than simply “safe, orderly and regular,” but it cannot be that until migrants’ rights are truly protected, regardless of their status.

Oscar Chacon of Alianza Americas will also be a featured speaker at a civil society event at the summit.

GCM spokespersons available for interviews:

Members of the Global Coalition on Migration (GCM) will participate in the two upcoming press briefings of migrant organizations from around the globe in conjunction with the September 19 UN High Level Summit to address large movements of refugees and migrants:

Jille Belisario, Transnational Migrant Platform (Netherlands/Europe) and speaker at the UN High Level Summit

Milka Isinta, Pan Africa Network in Defense of Migrant Rights (Kenya/Africa)

Oscar A. Chacón, Alianza Americas (U.S./Americas region)

Michele LeVoy, Platform for the International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (Belgium/Europe)

Catherine Tactaquin, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (U.S.)

Roshan Dadoo, Women in Migration Network and Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa

The Global Coalition on Migration (www.gcmigration.org) includes regional and international networks of migrant associations, migrant’s rights organizations and advocates, trade unions, faith groups and academia, covering every region around the world.

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Global Coalition on Migration Urges Stronger, Concrete Commitments to Protect the Human Rights of Migrants

Media Advisory – 12 September 2016
For inquiries contact: Monami Maulik, Advocacy Coordinator, +1 (347) 385-9113
Click to Download PDF version

Members of the Global Coalition on Migration (GCM) will participate in two upcoming press briefings of migrant organizations from around the globe in conjunction with the September 19 UN High Level Summit to address large movements of refugees and migrants.

Press briefings:
Sunday, Sept. 18 at 1:30pm Eastern Time Church Center of the United Nations, 10th Floor 777 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017

Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 10am Eastern Time
1 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, New York, NY 10017

Civil society speakers representing GCM from various regions will address their concerns that the High Level Summit may fall short on concrete commitments to protect migrant and refugee rights in practice, as revealed in preliminary summit documents.

While much of the attention around the Summit—from States, civil society and the media—has focused on responses to refugee issues, the Summit and its outcomes are also intended to address the full range of issues facing migrants and their communities. Speakers will explain why governments need to take urgent action to provide for regular migration that upholds human and labor rights and to set aside deterrent migration policies. Migration-related proposals are being scrutinized in the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants and a commitment to a two-year process to develop a Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (Annex II).

GCM spokespersons available for interviews:

Leaders from migrant rights organizations, organized labor and faith groups that work with migrant communities on the ground and in international advocacy, including:

  • Jille Belisario, Transnational Migrant Platform (Netherlands/Europe) and speaker at the UN High Level Summit
  • Milka Isinta, Pan Africa Network in Defense of Migrant Rights (Kenya/Africa)
  • Oscar A. Chacón, Alianza Americas (U.S./Americas region)
  • William Gois, Migrant Forum in Asia (Philippines/Asia)
  • Michele LeVoy, Platform for the International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (Belgium/Europe)
  • Catherine Tactaquin, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (U.S.)
  • Roshan Dadoo, Women in Migration Network and Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa

The Global Coalition on Migration includes regional and international networks of migrant associations, migrant’s rights organizations and advocates, trade unions, faith groups and academia, covering every region around the world.

Statement: GCM Reflections on the September 19 Outcome Documents

GCM Reflections on the September 19 Outcome Documents:
Most of the work is yet to be done, and States need to act now.

August 2016
Download the PDF here

On August 2, after several weeks of intense negotiations, the Member States of the United Nations adopted a Political Declaration and two Annexes as outcomes for the upcoming September 19 United Nations Summit addressing large movements of refugees and migrants. We applaud the work of the Co-­facilitators in forging this agreement and we welcome States’ commitment to “reaffirm, and… fully protect, the human rights of all refugees and migrants, regardless of status.”

But what the Declaration really reveals is States’ reluctance to act collectively to make concrete commitments ensuring implementation of respect for migrants’ and refugees’ rights in practice. Worse, some States actually insisted on language that backtracks from existing standards; the US-­led weakening of the draft language­­ that had recognized that detention for purposes of assessing immigration status is NEVER in the best interest of the child and committed States to ending the practice­­ was especially shameful.

Elsewhere, in paragraph 2.3, some States’ security concerns led to commitments to strengthening cooperation to keep people out, with insinuations of connections between terrorism and refugees and migrants. This is despite a lack of evidence that deterrence and securitized borders keep people from attempting—and sometimes succeeding at—irregular entry, especially when they are responding to unmet labor demand in the destination country.

Perhaps even more importantly, State deterrence policies are completely inconsistent with the important expressed commitments to combating racism and xenophobia and to “changing the narrative” to emphasize the positive contributions migrants make to societies of destination as well as origin. On the contrary, State policies preventing regular entry, criminalizing irregular entry and detaining migrants who enter or stay without documents can only contribute to the demonization of migrants and refugees. This is intensely counterproductive to combatting racism and xenophobia and achieving the social cohesion and integration that we all seek.

We call on States to stop wasting time. There are many millions of migrants living and working around the world, most working in low­wage jobs in the informal economy­­ in agriculture, domestic work, construction, and various service sector jobs. Their conditions of life outside of the framework of legal and social protection impose risks and burdens on them, but also negatively impact the rest of society and the potential for social integration. We call on States to show leadership and take action now to:

  • End criminalisation of migrants and ensure that irregular entry or stay is only ever an administrative offense and not grounds for detention;
  • End detention of migrants (children, pregnant women and families most urgently) for purposes of assessing migration status and implementing alternatives to detention, and recognize that international standards state clearly that detention is never in the best interest of the child;
  • Ensure firewalls between immigration enforcement authorities on the one hand, and other government agencies and services on the other, enabling all migrants’ access to social services and to the criminal justice system to report crimes against them, without fear of being detained or deported;
  • Respect the rights of irregular migrants at work and outside of work, including access to healthcare, including reproductive health services for women; accommodation, and access to education for children;
  • Ensure that gender issues are fully addressed at the levels of law, policy and practice so as to empower women in migration and allow them to enjoy full and equal rights protection and benefits from migration;
  • Address the need for paths for regularization of irregular migrants in the interests of social cohesion and integration.

Well governed migration must be more than merely “safe, orderly and regular”; it must also protect migrants’ human rights and guarantee access to justice when those rights are violated. Responsible and coherent collective approaches to migration governance must focus on developing mechanisms to allow people to move regularly across borders—whether to make asylum claims, to work, to look for work, to return home, to return to a job, to get education or training, or to reunite with family members. Recognizing that most migration is for labor, we call on States to commit to progressively improving standards for regular migration programs, and to ensure their effective implementation. Improved labor standards must:

  • Focus on the rights of migrants, benefits to migrants and preferences of migrants as central concerns of regular labor migration programs, not simply benefits to origin and destination states, which often come at the expense of migrants and their families;
  • Reform temporary and circular migration programs to enable workers to fully exercise their rights, including the right to organize and collectively bargain, to use visa portability to change employers and to access justice for protection from retaliation;
  • Provide migrant workers with the widest possible range of mobility choices, including paths to permanent residency and citizenship, with the right to family reunification;
  • Improve transparency, accountability, and adequate standards in labor agreements, preferably by involving the ILO and social dialogue partners;
  • Develop and expand mechanisms for recognition of skills and qualifications at all skill levels;
  • Go beyond current efforts at recruitment reform, developing effective oversight and portable justice mechanisms to guarantee access to justice and end impunity of exploitative recruiters and employers.

We note that if States ratified the nine core international human rights treaties and ILO Conventions including 97, 143 and 189, domesticated them in national law and implemented them in policy and practice, they would effectively address almost all of those urgent needs for reforming regular labor migration programs. Paragraph 3.8 asks States to “consider” ratifying or acceding to the 1990 Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. We call on States that have not done so to do more than consider it, and to ratify the Migrant Workers Convention now.

We urge States to work both individually and collectively, now and through the Global Compact negotiating process, to address the issues we have outlined and to do so as part of a genuinely multi­stakeholder process. States must take advantage of the mandates, expertise and capacity of UN and other intergovernmental organizations as well as that of civil society, including migrant and migrant­led organizations.

We also urge States to devote greater attention to addressing drivers of forced migration and to supporting better migration and mobility choices for all. While we focused here on improving the respect, protection and fulfillment of migrants’ rights, we want to emphasize that the ultimate goal­­ of the UN, of its Member States, and of global governance­­ must be the respect, protection and fulfillment of the human rights of all. Looking toward achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and beyond, States and all stakeholders must take a view of the place of human mobility in the future of humanity that is both longer and broader.

#UN4RefugeesMigrants

Statement: End Child Detention

Don’t Lower the Bar on Children’s Rights:
End the Detention of Migrant Children!

August 2016
Download PDF version here

On September 19, UN Member States are coming together for a High Level Summit to collectively address large movements of migrants and refugees. But instead of rising to meet the challenge, some countries are trying to back away from existing obligations and standards. One of the most alarming examples was the successful last­-minute attempt to weaken language in the Summit’s Political Declaration, which in early drafts reaffirmed that detention is NEVER in the best interest of the child and committed to end the detention of children for purposes of assessing their (or their parents’) migration status.

“Best interests of the child” is a legal principle articulated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most widely­ratified of international human rights instruments. Of all the countries in the world only the United States has failed to ratify it. But in U.S. law and the law of most countries, the “best interests” principle is enshrined in national (and sub­national) law as a primary consideration in decisions concerning a child’s welfare.

It is shameful that the U.S., together with other wealthy countries that pride themselves on their respect for human rights and rule of law, has acted in such a heavy­handed and clumsy way in an attempt to defend the indefensible.

The offending language of the Summit’s Political Declaration, as advocated by the U.S., is found in Paragraph 2.12, which states:

… Furthermore, recognizing that detention for the purposes of deter mining migration status is seldom, if ever, in the best interest of the child, we will use it only as a measure of last resort, in the least restrictive setting, for the shortest possible period of time, under conditions that respect their human rights and in a manner that takes into account, as a primary consideration, the best interest of the child, and we will work towards the ending of this practice.

This language is inconsistent with and backtracks from multiple authoritative interpretations of the best interests of the child:

The Convention on the Rights of the Child

“…no child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily” [Art. 37(b)] and children have the right not to be separated from their parents against their will [Art. 9].

The Committee on the Rights of the Child

“Children should not be criminalized or subject to punitive measures because of their migration status. The detention of a child because of their parent’s migration status constitutes a child rights violation and always contravenes the principle of the best interests of the child. In this light, States should expeditiously and completely cease the detention of children on the basis of their immigration status” (DGD 2012, Para 78).

The Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants

The detention of children and adolescents, even for short periods, is detrimental to their physical and mental health. “Children in immigration detention are often traumatized by the experience and have difficulty understanding why they are being ‘punished’ d espite having committed no crime.” “The conditions of detention, which may include overcrowding, forced separation from family, sharing cells with adults, exposure to sexual abuse and violence and lack of adequate food, have a negative impact, both from a human rights and a developmental perspective. In addition, children in detention are often deprived of access to education, health and play and leisure facilities” — none of which can be said to be in a child’s best interest.

The Inter­-American Court of Human Rights

The “last resort” caveat, does not apply in the case of migrant children on the grounds that this principle was developed to respond to criminal offenses, not for administrative offences like irregular border crossings. “…the deprivation of liberty of children based exclusively on migratory reasons exceeds the requirement of necessity, because this measure is not absolutely essential in order to ensure their appearance at the immigration proceedings or to guarantee the implementation of a deportation order… the Court finds that the deprivation of liberty of a child in this context can never be understood as a measure that responds to the child’s best interest.”

The UN Committee on Migrant Workers

“…it has been repeatedly stated that the detention of child migrants cannot be, in any case, in line with the principle of best interest of the child (…) there is a consensus that unaccompanied or separated children from their families should not be deprived of liberty. Families with children should also not be deprived of liberty, and detention cannot be justified on the grounds of preserving family unit.”

In the U.S., E.U. countries, and elsewhere the rights of children are violated every day as a result of punitive immigration detention regimes. Held in detention centres, unaccompanied or with family members, for immigration status violations or separated from detained parents or guardians, detained children are deprived of their rights to liberty and family life. They are taught at a young age what it means to be members of a criminalized community and experience the impacts of xenophobia and racism, which are further amplified by such policies.

As Member States move into a two­-year process of negotiations of a Global Compact on Migration, we demand that they prioritize the legal and moral obligation to ensure the highest standard of protection for migrant children and reject provisions that would put children’s rights at risk. States must affirm that detention is never in a child’s best interest and immediately end the practice of detaining migrant children.

#EndChildDetention

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“The Making of a Climate Refugee”

Published in Foreign Policy, January 2015

Recent coverage in Foreign Policy of the legal challenge in New Zealand courts that could result in recognition of the world’s first “climate refugee.” Read the full article here.

Teitiota is a contender to become the world’s first climate refugee, albeit an accidental one. So far, New Zealand courts have ruled that, “it wasn’t their place to expand the scope of the international refugee convention to cover those displaced by climate change.”

[…]

…uncertainty has contributed to the international interest in Teitiota’s case, which, through the courts, could carve its own protected legal path for climate refugees. If successful, it would “set off an avalanche as a precedent,” said Colin Rajah, the international coordinator of the Global Coalition on Migration, a Geneva-based migrant rights advocacy group. That said, he fears the case was doomed from the start: “On a purely legal and practical level, the push to qualify someone displaced by climate as a refugee isn’t going anywhere soon.”

In part, this is because it’s rare to find a country eager to accept more refugees—
particularly a new category of refugees that could quickly add up to the millions. Moreover, as a practical matter, it’s difficult to determine whether anyone moves exclusively for climatic or other environmental reasons. That’s especially true in the case of slow-onset crises such as rising sea levels and advancing desertification from drought. Often, an ensuing disaster is merely an event that has pushed a migrant past the point of endurance, exacerbating existing economic strains or other troubles. Poor people have less resilience, and when they live in countries with little capacity to help them, they are doubly at risk.

Yet until the international community takes climate migration more seriously, there could be a day when people from Kiribati wind up in fenced refugee camps, rather than resettled into homes in a new country. And though Tong encourages his people to plan their exit strategy early, it will be all for naught if countries are not willing to take them in. He may not realize it, but Tong’s vision for his people’s future, in many ways, is the story of someone who has already left Kiribati: Ioane Teitiota.

Read more…

GCM Statement: End the Immigration Detention of Children

GCM Statement on the International Day of Action to End the Immigration Detention of Children
November 20th, 2014

As government delegations gather at the United Nations in New York to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, migrants’ rights advocates, civil society organizations, and migrant communities are participating in an International Day of Action calling for the end to the immigration detention of children.

Every day, children worldwide experience an array of human rights violations as a result of punitive immigration detention regimes. Held in detention centres, unaccompanied or with their family members, for immigration status violations or separated from detained parents or guardians, these children are deprived of their rights to liberty and family life.

“Children should not be criminalized or subject to punitive measures because of their or their parents’ migration status. The detention of a child because of their or their parent’s migration status constitutes a child rights violation and always contravenes the principle of the best interests of the child” (Committee on the Rights of the Child).

Children who are directly or indirectly affected by immigration detention, in all its forms, are at risk of trauma and abuse and are taught at a young age what it means to be members of a criminalized community. This includes families divided by adult detention.

When community-based alternatives to detention are provided, they should be the least restrictive measures. The practices of detention or mobility restriction and surveillance for immigration status violations are not legitimate, as undocumented children and their parents or guardians pose no threat to the safety or property of the society where they reside. Children should neither be subject to nor forced to witness such measures. The criminalizing stigma and psychological burden associated with detention and its variants run counter to their best interests.

On this International Day of Action to END the Immigration Detention of Children, the Global Coalition on Migration strongly urges governments to prioritize the best interests of the child over other policy concerns, and to follow the advice of the Committee on the Rights of the Child—to “expeditiously and completely cease the detention of children on the basis of their immigration status.”

#EndChildDetention
#CRC25

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Press Release: Migrant rights advocates applaud release of principles for human rights at international borders

Press Release, 22 October 2014
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(New York, NY) On October 22nd, in a report on the rights of migrant children to the United Nations General Assembly, Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon announced the release of a new document outlining principles and guidelines for governments on protecting the rights of international migrants in border zones.

Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights at International Borders,” published by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), offers important recommendations to governments on how to fulfill their human rights obligations to international migrants, irrespective of legal status. While not legally binding or establishing new rights, the Guidelines point to existing obligations in core international human rights instruments to offer direction on human rights-based border governance.

Representatives of the Global Coalition on Migration (GCM), an international coalition of migrant associations and rights organizations, and advocacy, trade union, faith, and academic institutions, are in New York to welcome the release of the Guidelines. Several GCM members from Mexico, Argentina, the U.S., and Europe contributed to the drafting of the Guidelines along with other civil society groups.

The Guidelines are seen as an important advocacy tool for migrant communities.

“This timely new document gives momentum to our efforts to end the human rights crisis at borders, to reaffirm protections for all, and to save the lives of migrant men, women and children,”

says Catherine Tactaquin, GCM representative and Executive Director of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights in the U.S. Tactaquin will speak at the OHCHR launch event on October 23, highlighting the human rights concerns of migrant communities in the world’s major migration corridors. In his report, Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon calls upon governments to implement human rights safeguards at borders:

“Border governance often takes place in an environment that lacks transparency and accountability, contributing in turn to conditions of impunity and to the increased vulnerability of migrants. Some States mistakenly consider border areas as international zones or excised territory […] where they can act as though they were not bound by legal regimes or their human rights obligations.”

The Guidelines provide steps 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. The document highlights the need for governments to consider the individual circumstances of migrants, with particular attention to those who may be at risk and in need of assistance.

The GCM will host a celebration of the launch of the Guidelines and a civil society dialogue on their potential for enhancing human rights protections on the evening of October 23 from 5pm to 7pm at the Church Center for the United Nations.

For media inquiries and additional information, contact Karen Campbell at kcampbell@gcmigration.org.

Media Advisory: Migrant rights groups welcome release of principles for human rights at international borders at 69th Session of the UN General Assembly

Media Advisory, 15 October 2014
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Representatives of the Global Coalition on Migration (GCM) will travel to New York to welcome the release of “Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights at International Borders” during the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on October 22. They will also participate in two public launch events on October 23.

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 http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Migration/Pages/WSReportGA69.aspx.

The GCM is an international coalition of migrant associations and rights organizations, and advocacy, trade union, faith, and academic institutions. Several GCM members from Mexico, Argentina, the U.S., and Europe contributed to the drafting of the guidelines, along with other civil society groups. Catherine Tactaquin of the National Network on Immigrant & Refugee Rights (NNIRR) in the U.S. and a representative of the GCM will speak at the OHCHR launch event on October 23, highlighting the human rights concerns of migrant communities in the world’s major migration corridors.

 …border governance is often prompted solely by national security considerations, and the human rights of migrants are often violated. International borders are not zones of exclusion or exception of human rights obligations. States have the duty to comply with their human rights obligations and all of the safeguards and checks and balances that are embedded in national legislation. — OHCHR

The GCM will host a celebration of the launch of the guidelines and a civil society dialogue on their potential for enhancing human rights protections on the evening of October 23 at the Church Center for the United Nations.

October 22
Circulation of the Guidelines during the 69th Session of the UNGA as a Conference Room Paper accompanying the report of the Secretary General on the Protection of Migrants (A/69/277)

October 23
OHCHR Side Event, “Human Rights at International Borders Recommended Principles and Guidelines”
Time & Location TBC

GCM Celebration & Civil Society Discussion: “Human Rights at International Borders”
5pm to 7pm, Church Center for the United Nations  (777 UN Plaza, NYC – Boss Room)

For media inquiries, contact Karen Campbell – kcampbell@gcmigration.org

For Immediate Release: International migrant rights groups join New York climate march, urge durable solutions and human rights commitments in addressing climate crisis

Press Advisory, 21 September 2014

An international delegation of migrant rights advocates will join the massive People’s Climate March on September 21, 2014 and the People’s Climate Justice Summit on September 22-23, 2014 in New York City. The delegation will promote greater collaboration between the migrants’ rights and climate justice movements while urging governments to adopt human rights and nature-centred solutions to the global climate crisis.

The representatives from Asia, Africa, Europe, Mexico and the United States are members of the Global Coalition on Migration (GCM), an international coalition of migrant associations and rights organizations, and advocacy, trade union, faith, and academic institutions.

Across the world, migrants and their families are among the many communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis. Those displaced by climate catastrophes are disproportionately farmers/rural populations, the working class, indigenous peoples, and communities of colour. Displacement of these populations will increasingly become a major driver of forced migration. For those forced to migrate due to climate crises, tough immigration laws, the intensification of immigration enforcement measures at borders, and the criminalization of migrant communities expose them to further hardship and exploitation.

For example, in Asia, extreme weather events continue to intensify in severity and frequency. An estimated 30 million people were displaced across Asia in 2010 alone due to the climate crisis;; this number will continue to grow with a lasting toll on lives, economies, and society. Social movements in Asia, including migrants, rural communities, workers, and women are calling for legally-binding and massive cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by all countries and the development of concrete, rights-based solutions based on respect for the integrity and interdependence of nature and people.

Mamadou Goïta of the Institut de Recherche et de Promotion des Alternatives en Développement (IRPAD) in Mali and representative of the Pan-African Network in Defense of Migrant Rights (PANiDMR), will testify on Monday at the People’s Climate Justice Summit tribunal, highlighting the intersection between climate change and migration in the African context.

Among the issues that the GCM delegation will address is the emerging use of the term “climate refugee” or “climate migrant” to describe those displaced by climate-related events. The GCM urges caution in the use of such terms, which risk oversimplifying the root causes of displacement — namely the the unjust global economic and political system that has given rise to the global climate crisis in the first place. The GCM further argues that this categorization creates a false hierarchy among low-skilled migrants from the Global South, who are subject to the injustices of the global economy that make migration necessary for survival.

According to Colin Rajah, GCM Coordinator, “Only through durable solutions for climate justice and guaranteed protections of migrants’ rights can a just transition to a safe, sustainable, and equitable economy and ecology be realized.”

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5-point Civil Society Statement to HLD

On 15 November 2012, over 70 civil society organizations submitted to the UN Secretariat, the member states of the UN General Assembly’s 2nd Committee, and other New York-based UN missions, a proposal of 5 points for civil society contribution to the 2012 UN High Level Dialogue on Migration & Development.

The full statement with endorsements, can be viewed here: CSO HLD 5-point Statement