Global Unions call for rights to be at the core of a new Global Compact on Migration

published 3 July 2017 updated 4 July 2017

Education International joined other Global Unions to call for human, labour and education rights to be at the core of a new Global Compact on Migration.

The call was made at the 2017 edition of the Global Forum of Migration and Development (GFMD), held in Berlin, Germany, from 28 June to 1st July. Under the theme “Towards a Global Social Contract on Migration and Development”, the GFMD discussed principles and mechanisms for a new Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, to be adopted by the United Nations (UN) in September 2018.

Education International (EI) and other Global Unions called on governments to ensure that the Global Compact is anchored on existing human rights treaties and UN conventions, including all relevant ILO labour and migration conventions.

Need to address the root causes of migration

Furthermore, the Global Unions asked governments and the UN to address the root causes of migration such as conflict, poverty and climate change, and provide decent work opportunities and development in home countries, so that migration becomes an option rather than a necessity.

The Global Unions demanded access to social services, including education and health, for all migrants. In that regard, the unions called for the establishment of a firewall between immigration control and access to public services for migrants, particularly undocumented migrants, who are in the most vulnerable situation.

Calling for the regulation of the activities of recruitment agencies and agents who are often perpetrators of violations of migrant workers’ rights, they also insisted that under no circumstances should migrant workers be asked to pay recruitment fees.

Public services and education to be guaranteed for migrants

In his remarks to the GFMD, EI’s Dennis Sinyolo reminded governments and all participants that “we are all global citizens,” insisting that “migrants should never be denied access to public services or quality education due to their immigration status”.

Sinyolo went on to highlight the value of education in promoting tolerance, intercultural understanding and harmonious co-existence. He also argued that diversity should be embraced and celebrated, as it contributes to the quality of the education experience.

“Teachers in destination countries should be trained and supported to meet the diverse needs of migrant  and refugee children,” Sinyolo stressed, also calling for mechanisms to accredit and recognise the qualifications of migrant and refugee teachers.

You can read the Global Unions Recommendations for 2017 Global Forum on Migration and Development Berlin, Germany, here