ICJ joins call for strong UN Global Compact on Migration

The ICJ has joined almost 180 other organizations in calling for the final draft of the UN Global Compact on Migration (GCM) to reflect strong legal protections for human rights.

Recognizing the potential of the GCM to protect migrants in irregular and/or vulnerable situations, civil society organizations are calling on all States to ensure that the final document truly lives up to the spirit of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants.

The statement was presented to Member States and the GCM Co-Facilitators (the governments of Switzerland and Mexico) in an informal dialogue on Tuesday, 10 July.

The statement calls on States to address the following issues:

  • Regular vs. irregular: The GCM must not include a distinction between migrants with regular status and those whose status is irregular which falls below human rights law, international labor standards and other international obligations.
  • Non-Refoulement: The GCM must explicitly mention the principle of non-refoulement, which prohibits returning a person to a place where her/his life would be in danger. Including it is fundamental to ensure that migrants are provided with full live-saving protection.
  • Vulnerable situations: The GCM must address the situation of vulnerable migrants, and it must not weaken protection for victims of natural disasters and climate change, who are not adequately addressed in the Global Compact for Refugees.
  • Right to privacy: The final document must protect migrants’ right to privacy of personal information. Otherwise, the GCM risks preventing them from accessing certain social services and discouraging them from participating in data collection efforts, which are vital for migration management.
  • Criminalization of migrants and those who assist them: The GCM must avoid all provisions and language that criminalizes migrants crossing an international border in search of safety or of people and organizations that support to them.
  • Detention of migrant children: The GCM must include provisions towards ending the practice of detaining migrant children by explicitly mentioning the availability and accessibility of non-custodial and community-based alternatives.
  • Implementation, review, and follow-up mechanisms: The Compact needs robust implementation, review, and follow-up mechanisms to ensure accountability and transparency in achieving its goals. Civil society organizations ask for a fully mandated partnership role in implementation and monitoring the GCM.

To be effective, the statement concludes, migration management must be credible not only to States, but also to migrants.

The statement is available in PDF format here: UN-Advocacy-JointStatement-Migrants-2018

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