GCM Brings a Focus on Human Rights to UN Migration Week in Marrakech December 4-11, 2018

Over 120 Global Coalition on Migration members from across multiple regions were on the ground from beginning to end throughout Migration Week in Marrakech – a historic occasion that saw the largest convening of governments and civil society representatives and other stakeholders on addressing the future of international migration.  

Multiple conferences and events took place, often overlapping during 10 days that not only a set a roadmap for the future of global migration governance but also for the consolidation of a diverse global migrant rights movement.

Global Coalition members played key roles in planning and leading sessions for the  eleventh Civil Society Days of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), the People’s Global Action on Migration, Development and Human Rights (PGA), the fifth Mayoral Forum on Mobility Migration and Development, the Youth Forum on Migration, the third Diaspora Development Dialogue – and finally, the UN intergovernmental conference on migration which included two days of side-events and which culminated in the adoption of the Global Compact of Safe and Orderly, and Regular Migration by 164 countries on December 10th.

GCM members brought advocacy strategies, examples and proposals for human rights-based  migration policies from their work on the ground, across regions and sectors including, migrant-led works, trade unions, women’s movements and policy organizations. Here are some highlights from GCM and its members’ work:

Civil Society Days of the Global Forum on Migration and Development: Human Mobility that works for migrants and society

GCM member International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) organized the annual CSD this year as a strategic dialogue on envisioning the future of implementation of the Global Compact on Migration and the role of civil society.  Several GCM member organization served on the International Steering Committee developing working sessions and recommendations.

For the first time the event was chaired by a three-person team, steered by GCM members Roula Hamati (Cross Regional Center for Refugees and Migrants) and Mamadou Goïta (Institute for Research and the Promotion of Alternatives in Development /PANDiMR), in addition to Hamza Ibrahim of the Swedish Youth Council.

GFMD Civil Society co-chair Roula Hamati addressing attendees during Government Days.

Marrakech Women’s Rights Manifesto:

GCM member Women in Migration Network (WIMN) collaborated with  OXFAM on one of the most visible civil society interventions during Migration Week-a comprehensive call to action to ensure women’s voices, experiences and leadership are incorporated into migration policy design. The seven-point manifesto attracted wide support and interest prompted by a compelling short video and other activities throughout the week, including:

–  A Facebook Live segment on OXFAM’s page with advocates speaking to the background and context of the Manifesto and sharing stories from different regions around the world.

–  Advocates organized a dynamic press conference at UN intergovernmental conference, which was livestreamed on webtv.un.org.

WIMN members during the press conference on December 10th.

People’s Global Action on Migration, Development and Human Rights

GCM secretariat and members were actively involved in organizing the eleventh edition of the People’s Global Action, as part of the  PGA International Committee working closely with the Local Organizing Committee in Morocco. The PGA continues to constitute an important autonomous space for dialogue and debate, and this was evident in the plenary sessions and five thematic strategy sessions on the topics of migrant rights and rights for all, gender and migration, social cohesion and belonging, migration and development, migration and climate change. . Diverse perspectives and strategies were reflected throughout the two-day conference with a common fundamental commitment to working towards the protection of the human rights of migrants.

–          Click here to read the final outcomes document of the PGA.

Participants during the Gender and Migration workshop at the PGA.

GCM’s official UN Side Event: Changing the narratives on migration in Africa

Generating alternatives to  false and negative media narratives about migration through media and civil society partnerships was the focus of GCM’s side-event at the UN intergovernmental conference. The event was organized in collaboration with International Media Support (IMS) and GCM member the Pan Africa Network in Defense of Migrant Rights (PANiDMR). The panel titled “Changing the narratives on migration in Africa: Collaborations between, media houses, journalists, and civil society migrant rights networks” explored the critical role of media narratives and their impact on public policy and advocacy.

Advocates from GCM member PANiDMR shared experiences from the region and the diaspora on re-shaping public narratives of migration-related coverage. International Media Support shared best practices and key findings produced in the Voices of Africa program, which provides capacity building for journalists covering migration on the continent.  Moroccan journalist and Voices of Africa participant Zaineb Alboufaraj, screened a clip from her documentary on migrant women entrepreneurs in Morocco spoke about her experience covering migration and collaborating with migrant organizations. Audience engagement was strong during the side-event and it was noted that the event featured a majority of women, including migrant and diaspora women speakers.

Panelists from left to right: Finn Rasmussen (IMS); Michele Levoy (PICUM); Zainab Alfouraj (Journalist, Voices of Migrants participant); Nunu Kidane (PANiDMR); Monami Maulik (GCM); Opal Tometi (BAJI, Black Lives Matter)

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