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