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Declaration FMAS on Global Compact on Migration

FMAS Declaration on the Global Compact of Migration, week of Migration in Marrakech

Stop the war on migration. Yes to a global pact which protects human rights of migrants and their dignity.

The coming December 10 and 11th, Head of States and governments under the aegis of UN are invited to adopt in Marrakech the Global Compact for “Safe, Orderly and Regular migration”.

Lot of hope was placed in the United Nations´ capacities to set up international protection norms for migrant rights and on the consolidation of freedom to move. This Pact inspires diverse reactions in opposite directions. Lot of NGOs see in it a protective text while others are strongly opposing it and articulate a critical view, highlighting, not only its lack of ambition but as well the fact that it represents a regression on current acquired rights.

European States, dominated by nationalist, populist or xenophobic groups find in it an infringement of their sovereignty. A number of EU member States, hostile to welcoming refugees, like Hungary, Poland,Austria or the Czech Republic, already expressed their opposition to the text. Those governments are led by parties which are openly in war against migration, and which see in this pact the possibility of the hyper restrictive policies they carry, being questioned. Donald Trump, for the USA, is remaining with a strong position of rejection of any approach based on multilateralism and made clear for a long time the US rejection of the Pact.

Apart from the ILO conventions or the International Convention for the protection of migrant workers and their family members, non-ratified by most of the EU member States, a specific legal framework is clearly missing on migration. The adoption of the Global compact is supposed to fill this gap. However, the consensus which followed the negotiations is deeply in favor of setting up of non-binding system which reflects the interests of high income industrialized countries, and ignores the needs of migrants and less developed Southern countries.

Despite the fact that we are conscious and in favor of the need to create an international framework which guarantees and protects the rights of migrants, we do not believe that the COMPACT as it is, is a response up to the protection needs of migrants worldwide. The proposed text is in reality highly inspired by the interests and approaches of Europe and North America on migration.

Is the COMPACT a text which creates an international right to freedom to move? Will it protect migrants as effectively as the international convention on the protection of the rights of migrants workers and their family members?

  • Will it prevent the multiplication of graveyards of dead migrants in our borders?
  • Will it abolish finally migrants’ detention and detention centers?
  • Will it allow a reconsideration of policies and laws which criminalize migrants?
  • Will it prevent the looting of human and material resources from poor countries and the appeal of chosen migration?
  • Will it go beyond good intentions regarding development establishing measurable objectives and evaluation mechanisms for aid programs?
  • Will it prevent the logics of surveillance and control, specifically via the compilation and stocking of migrants´ biometric data in common and standardized databases?

To all those questions we answer NO.

At the end, the Global Compact, remains a non-binding agreement negotiated at intergovernmental level in a context of of conflicts and lack of solidarity between States mainly driven by security concerns. It does not challenge the rationale of the repressive immigration policies, who, far from reducing the number of arrivals of migrants, contribute to severe violations of human rights. Those policies have a high human cost and foster strategies to cross borders illegally, every day more dangerous and complex. They are paving the way for smuggling and other mafia-like networks and bring new insecurities in areas already highly weakened by conflict of multiple nature.

The Global Compact targets to establish for the first time an integrated framework for a global governance on international migration. The way it is formulated in its final version, this pact comes closer to the research of a minimum consensus between rich and poor states, which guarantees to the first ones freedom to keep on going with the militarization of their borders This text does not contribute, in the real world, in inscribing the inalienable right to freedom to move as stated in the article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On the contrary, it could even legitimize and justify some regressions in terms of rights of migrants instead of contributing to a governance respectful of the human rights of migrants.

In the way that it does not forbid it, it could even serve to justify policies of exclusion and criminalization of migrants and give substance to the wishes of Northern countries to reinforce chosen immigration, which empties Southern countries from their competencies and institutionalize disposable immigration. Together we call for resistance to the criminalisation of migrant and refugee peoples!

Let us mobilise and act to defend the human rights of all migrants and refugees and strengthen transnational activism and solidarity
In Marrakech the 8th of December 2018

The Steering Committee of the Maghreb Social Forum
For all contact and signature by organizations
FMAS: fmas@menara.ma