Latin Amer­ica Calls for Free Move­ment of Per­sons in Global Com­pact on Mi­gra­tion

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Latin Amer­ica and the Caribbean called for the free move­ment of per­sons to be in­cluded in the Global Com­pact on Mi­gra­tion, which will be ne­go­ti­ated within the United Na­tions in 2018, in the first meet­ing held by any of the world’s re­gions to de­cide on the po­si­tion to be adopted on the fu­ture agree­ment.

Nearly a hun­dred ex­perts on mi­gra­tion from the re­gion took part in the meet­ing, held at Eco­nomic Com­mis­sion for Latin Amer­ica and the Caribbean (ECLAC) head­quar­ters in San­ti­ago on Aug. 30-31, which brought to­gether rep­re­sen­ta­tives of gov­ern­ments, in­ter­na­tional bod­ies, civil so­ci­ety and academia.

Louise Ar­bour, U.N. Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for In­ter­na­tional Mi­gra­tion, who is to draft the “zero draft” of the Com­pact be­fore the end of the year, told IPS that “this is the first re- gional meet­ing and it gives us a great deal of in­for­ma­tion about what is hap­pen­ing to­day with peo­ple. It con­firms many ideas, such as what is go­ing on with ir­reg­u­lar mi­gra­tion and peo­ple’s rights.”

Ear­lier, dur­ing the clo­sure of the meet­ing, Ar­bour said that up to now “the move­ment of mi­grants, women and chil­dren has been poorly man­aged. They first talked about il­le­gal im­mi­grants, and pe­jo­ra­tively of eco­nomic im­mi­grants.”

For Bárcena, the six di­a­logues in dif­fer­ent re­gions of the world that are to pre­cede the pro­posal of a draft and the ne­go­ti­a­tions of the Com­pact in 2018 are “an un­prece­dented process and an op­por­tu­nity which I do not know whether the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity is aware of.”

Juan José Gómez, Mex­i­can am­bas­sador to the U.N. and co-fa­cil­i­ta­tor of the in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal con­sul­ta­tions and ne­go­ti­a­tions for the Com­pact, said “it is nearly a mir­a­cle” to de­bate the sub­ject of mi­gra­tion at a global level be­cause “for decades the doors of the U.N. had been closed to this prob­lem.”

To ne­go­ti­ate af­ter de­bat­ing first “has saved us from ne­go­ti­at­ing on the ba­sis of pre­con­cep­tions, prej­u­dices and mis­in­for­ma­tion. The ini­tial stage of re­gional de­bates will al­low us to take an x-ray of mi­gra­tion to re­place the rhetoric and prej­u­dices with ev­i­dence, data and re­al­ity,” he said.

Gómez said the doc­u­ment “should be realistic and ac­cept­able for all mem­ber states, in or­der for it to be re­spected.”

He also stressed that “mi­gra­tion is a net gain for re­ceiv­ing coun­tries.” He pointed out that 85 per cent of the an­nual in­comes of mi­grant work­ers re­main in the re­ceiv­ing coun­tries, amount­ing to three tril­lion dol­lars a year. (IPS)

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