Statement of the Scalabrini International Migration Network – Fifth Round of Negotiations Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration

New York, June 5, 2018

Thank you co-facilitators.

We would like to thank you for improvements in Revision 2, including reaffirming the principle of non-refoulement, improved family unity language, a listing of the services available to irregular migrants, and the recognition of faith-based organizations as stakeholders in the implementation process. 

We have several suggestions on how the Compact can be improved and strengthened. We have submitted these suggestions for your consideration, a few of which I would like to highlight:

First, we still believe that language encouraging an increase in regular pathways should be strengthened, as this should be a central means for promoting safe, orderly, and regular migration.
In Objectives 5 and 7, respectfully, we recommend adding language that member states “create new pathways” re regular pathways, and “create new policies, when practicable,” re regularization. On regularization, the current language calls for individualized assessments based on current efforts but it should be clear that member states should consider regularization for specific groups, defined by particular criteria, as an option for reducing irregular status in their countries.

With regard to family unity, we recommend adding in Objective 5, paragraph 20i “legal status’ to the list of areas member states should consider in promoting family unity and in Objective 9, paragraph 24e “the principle of family unity,” to situations in which border crossers are prosecuted, to prevent the separation of mothers from their children.

With regard to children, we oppose replacing the best interest of the child principle as “the’ primary consideration to a primary consideration in the preamble, which gives member states the option to minimize this principle. We also would add “as soon as possible” to child detention language in Objective 13 so it reads, “working to end, as soon as possible, the practice of child detention in the context of international migration.” There must be urgency on this issue; it should not be open-ended.

In Objective 11, chapeau, we would delete “preventing’ irregular migration and replace it with “reducing the incidence of irregular migration, consistent with due process protections and international law.” This is basic language used elsewhere in the text that helps ensure that the human rights of migrants are upheld and respected in enforcement situations.

In Objective 15, Paragraph 30c, we would add “places of worship” and “charitable organizations” to places where migrants should not be apprehended.  Pastoral services and material services are necessary services to which migrants should not be deprived, based on their human rights

In Objective 21, chapeau, we would add “voluntary” so it reads, “human right to voluntarily return to his or her country.” Forced return is not a human right.

In Objective 23, paragraph 38e the term “unconditional” should be added as a qualification of partnerships between member states.

Finally, Mr. Co-Facilitator, we agree with the Swiss delegation’s construction of paragraph 15, replacing policy options with policy instruments, so as to not send a signal that member states can pick and choose the policies it adopts. In this vein, we recommend that more accountability be put in the implementation and review process, including more stringent reporting requirements by member states, such as national implementation plans.  Without such accountability, the goals of the GCM may not be realized.

Thank you.