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Migration & Refugees

Reactions on the Ground to the Global Compact for Migration

This week the famous and beautiful Moroccan city of Marrakech is hosting the intergovernmental conference on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), accompanied by a multitude of civil society events among the city’s palm-tree-lined streets. IPS spoke with a number of participants from different backgrounds about the adoption of the GCM and what it means for the future of migration and migrants.

MARRAKECH, Morocco, Dec 12 2018 (IPS) - This week the famous and beautiful Moroccan city of Marrakech is hosting the intergovernmental conference on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), accompanied by a multitude of civil society events among the city’s palm-tree-lined streets. IPS spoke with a number of participants from different backgrounds about the adoption of the GCM and what it means for the future of migration and migrants.

This week the famous and beautiful Moroccan city of Marrakech is hosting the intergovernmental conference on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), accompanied by a multitude of civil society events among the city’s palm-tree-lined streets. IPS spoke with a number of participants from different backgrounds about the adoption of the GCM and what it means for the future of migration and migrants.

 

The GCM brings together 164 countries—who have adopted the Compact—various ministers and heads of states, along with 700 organizations from civil society, the United Nations, the private sector and academia.

A multitude of side events preceded the commencement of the GCA. The purpose of the People Global Action (PGA) event held on December 8 and 9 was to agree on a program of actions to put pressure on governments to maintain mobilization on migration issues.

Members of the African Network of Women Journalists have been very vocal about migrant women during the conference. “We are for a just migration policy that is respectful of human rights,” says Afolasade, a presenter on Radio Nigeria.

Monami Maulik, from Global Coalition on Migration, has confidence in the future of the compact: “We participated in the negotiations for 18 months, we are happy that the Compact has been adopted.”

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel made a remarkable trip to Marrakech. The adoption of the Compact by his country created a political crisis in the Belgian government: “We are on the right side of history,” Michel says. “I appear before you with a parliamentary majority which no longer supports my government, standing upright and proud of the convictions of Belgium, and which I am expressing this morning at this rostrum.”

“The Compact forms a frame of reference for our advocacy,” says Younous Arbaoui from Morocco’s Platform Nationale Protection Migrants. “It is true that this pact is not binding, but Morocco and other countries have a moral obligation to respect its commitments. Already we are integrating aspects of the Compact to demand access to services for migrants in Morocco.”

These members of the Nigerian delegation display their measured satisfaction with the adoption of the Compact: “It is a good step forward for the future of the Nations.”

 

“The GCM is a huge mobilization of states to manage migration,” says Cheryl Perera, a prominent representative of migrant communities, and founder of OneChild, a non-governmental organization which seeks to eliminate the commercial sexual exploitation of children abroad. “We wait now for actions.”

“With other organizations from many countries, we are expressing our concerns about some of the goals of the GCM,” says Hassan Ammari from Alarm Phone, an organization running a hotline offering support for people crossing the Mediterranean Sea to the EU, who participated in a protest against the Compact in the center of Marrakech. “Security issues have become the main issue and the Compact’s text makes that a priority. This opens the doors for more migrant detention centres.”

 
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