International Migration, Human Rights and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean
At the meeting of the ECLAC sessional Ad Hoc Committee on Population and Development, held during the thirtieth session of ECLAC in San Juan, Puerto Rico on 29 and 30 June 2004, the country delegations recommended that at its next regular meeting, to be held in 2006, the Ad Hoc Committee should analyse the subject of international migration, human rights and development, and requested the secretariat of the Ad Hoc Committee, in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund, to prepare the relevant substantive documents, pursuant to the mandate contained in Resolution 604(XXX). In response to this request, the Latin American and Caribbean Demographic Centre (CELADE) - Population Division of ECLAC has drawn up this summary, based on the document entitled "Cuatro aspectos centrales en torno a la migración internacional, derechos humanos y desarrollo" (LC/L.2490).1 This text is intended to provide guidance to governments in the region so that they may face the most important challenges and opportunities for development presented by migration, with an approach that also takes into account the human rights of migrants and their families. The study has been enriched by the participation of CELADE in numerous meetings, workshops and seminars involving governments, academics, civil society and experts, and by the conclusions reached at these gatherings. It has also benefited from many of the studies reported in CELADE publications, from the intense effort made by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Population Division and other entities in the system, and from the contributions of experts and academics in the region. The first part of the study presents an overview of the current context in which migratory movements are taking place, paying particular attention to the forces of globalization, the upsurge in transnationalism, the impact these phenomena have on the countries of the region and initiatives launched with a view to achieving migration governance. It is followed by a description of migration trends and patterns, with an emphasis on stylized facts. Three dimensions of the problems and potentials of international migration from Latin America and the Caribbean are examined: remittances, migration and gender, and the migration of skilled workers. Each of them is a source of concern and opportunities for development, and the respective contrasts are explored. Next comes an analysis of the ways that migration intersects with human rights, in which the problems of vulnerability and the need to protect migrants are highlighted. This analysis also underscores the active role that countries can play in this regard, both nationally and multilaterally and in conjunction with civil society organizations. And finally, some general conclusions and guidelines are proposed for migration governance, taking into account the specific characteristics of the region and accentuating the protection of migrants' human rights as a key reference point. Emphasis is placed on the need to promote and strengthen multilateral cooperation as a legitimate means of ensuring that international migration contributes to the development of the countries in the region. The central message of this document is that international migration is a question of development and of rights. This requires the promotion of comprehensive measures that will ensure that international migration is managed from a Latin American and Caribbean perspective, enhance free mobility, achieve the potential of positive externalities and protect the human rights of all migrants. It is hoped that the analyses and conclusions presented here will be useful in supporting the high-level dialogue on international migration and development that will take place in the United Nations General Assembly in 2006. As the Secretary General of the organization stressed on the occasion of International Migrants Day (18 December 2005), this is an opportunity for Member States to begin forging closer cooperation on these important issues so that they can take full advantage of the benefits of migration, address the myriad problems and concerns raised by migration, and do more to ensure respect for the human rights of migrant workers and their families.
Centro Latinoamericano y Caribeño de Demografía (CELADE), División de Población de la CEPAL Casilla 179 D, Santiago Chile Tel: (56-2) 210 2095 - Fax: (56-2) 208 0196 Email: jorge.martinezcepal.org