GCM Launches MICIC Campaign

The Global Coalition on Migration (GCM), along with the Migration and Development Civil Society Network (MADE), launched a year-long campaign to co-organize a series of regional civil society consultations on the MICIC (Migrants in Countries in Crisis) Initiative.

GCM and MADE will organize a series of independent, parallel, civil society regional consultations in conjunction with each of the government regional consultations that will take place in various regions through mid-2016.  In addition to that, GCM will also engage its membership and other civil society partners around the world, in a MICIC webinar for civil society, a civil society stakeholder roundtable that is expected to take place in January 2016, and other related civil society events.

Further details about GCM’s joint campaign on MICIC can be found at our MICIC page: GCMigration.org/MICIC which will be updated regularly as events, activities and campaign news unfold.

“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.”



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