SIMN Calls for the Adoption of a New Approach on Migration Issues at the Multilateral Level in Light of the Essential Role Migrants Played Before the Challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic

New York, July 28, 2021 – Today, at the Meeting Global Civil Society – Member States Dialogue on Engagement in the International Migration Review Forum (IMRF), Víctor Genina, Director of Development and Policy of SIMN, raised the following issues in order to have a successful and meaningful first IMRF, the follow-up forum of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), adopted in 2018:

1- As the COVID-19 pandemic showed, migrant workers played an essential role in a wide variety of responses before the devastating effects of the pandemic in all countries, as well as in their recovery efforts. Migrants showed an enormous solidarity both to destination and origin societies, in many cases risking their lives to keep essential services functioning, such as healthcare, agriculture and food, but also maintaining steady levels of remittances in benefit of origin countries. In light of this, discussions and actions related to international migration cannot take place in a “business as usual” way, but from a new mindset and approach that recognizes the essentiality of migrants and migrant workers, precisely because all societies owe them a lot. SIMN proposed the celebration of a memorial ceremony in the inauguration of IMRF to pay tribute to those migrants fallen in serving others during the pandemic.

2- In some countries, a worrying trend has risen, characterized by the adoption of an approach that seeks the securitization of migration or conceiving migration and migrants as threat to transit and destination countries. This approach is verifiable in policies and measures that tend to criminalize migrants because of the very fact of being migrants, such as aggressive border controls, prohibition to migrants to access basic services, especially healthcare and vaccination, and aggressive deportation measures, in some cases without due respect to the non-refoulment principle and other humanitarian considerations. In light of this, IMRF has to address this dangerous trend.

3- Finally, SIMN proposed that in the agenda of IMRF has to be included the international and multilateral institutional architecture on migration issues, in order to grant an improved, steady, inclusive and meaningful engagement between civil society organizations and other non-governmental actors with State representatives. It seems that IMRF moves to become the main locus to discuss migration policies, but other spaces of complementary nature can be kept functioning, in order to have improved, steady, inclusive and meaningful engagement between civil society organizations and other non-governmental actors with States.

Participants to the meeting, including State representatives, agreed on the need to have a substantive and successful first edition of the IMRF and decided to keep engaged in its preparation process.