The Global Compact for Migration provided an opportunity for trade unions and civil society in Nepal, Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka to engage more effectively together and with governments on labor migration.
Civil society Co-Chair Stella Opoku-Owusu made the remarks at the opening of the Common Space of the 12th Global Forum on Migration and Development Summit in Quito as she took the floor to put the perspective of civil society under the spotlight.
Stella shared with participants a series of recommendations agreed during yesterday’s Civil Society Day. Two of the issues discussed by civil society representatives (criminalization of migrants and climate change-related displacement) are not present on the agenda of the other Forum’s mechanisms, so they become even more important.
The recommendations brought to the Common Space by civil society representatives reflect five different, though interlinked, thematic priorities.
‘The effects of climate change are often borderless, therefore, tackling them requires collective action which involves national and local state actors, climate change experts, academics, and also regional civil society networks.’
The links between climate change and human mobility are complex, yet the focus should remain on climate change.
She said that the cities could play a major role in keeping migrants safe. ‘In that sense, sanctuary cities are an important alternative to the criminalization of migrants and migration.’
Stella mentioned that the civil society representatives acknowledged the importance of upholding shared human values and demand to immediately stop the interference with humanitarian search and rescue missions at sea.
She stressed the need for effective partnerships involving all necessary actors at local and national level and across borders which were the key to upholding dignified labor migration policies and practices as well as access to decent work and safe working conditions.
“As a positive example, “the Global Compact for Migration provided an opportunity for trade unions and civil society in Nepal, Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka to engage more effectively together and with governments on labor migration.”
She called for the needs of migrants in mixed migration movements need to be met through the application of humanitarian principles, regardless of their status, and in partnerships across all agencies, civil society organizations, governments and local state actors.