Representatives of Latin American and Caribbean countries reiterated their commitment today to the implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, and they urged for viewing migration as a contribution to democracy, diversity and sustainable development and for respecting, protecting and fulfilling the rights of migrants and supporting them in their vulnerable situation, during a virtual regional meeting to review the Compact co-organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) – in its capacity as Coordinator of the United Nations Network on Migration – and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
The Regional review meeting on the implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in Latin America and the Caribbean was inaugurated by Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of ECLAC; António Vitorino, Director General of IOM; and Felipe González, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants. Participating as representatives of civil society and other stakeholders were Nancy Pérez, of the Major Group for Children and Youth, and Berenice Valdés, Representative of the Latin American Bloc.
The meeting – which will run through Wednesday, April 28 – drew the participation of the various agencies, funds and programs that make up the Regional Network in Latin America and the Caribbean, along with ministers, deputy ministers and other high-level authorities from 29 of ECLAC’s Member States and three associate members, as well as representatives of intergovernmental organizations, the United Nations System, and of civil society and other stakeholders.
During the event’s inauguration, Alicia Bárcena underscored that, in the current context, migration must be made visible and thought out from the standpoint of public policies, inclusion and social protection, human rights and equality, with the aim of building our society back better once the pandemic is under control.
ECLAC’s Executive Secretary affirmed that, of the estimated 654 million inhabitants of Latin America and the Caribbean in 2020, the emigrant population accounts for 6.6%, a figure that has been rising in recent years. She noted that 51.6% of the people who migrate in the region are women and more than one-third of female migrant workers are employed in paid domestic work, a sector sharply affected by the crisis.
“We have said it before and we say it again today: migration is not a problem, nor does it give rise to threats; instead it is a common good that can contribute to reducing inequality and lessening asymmetries in a globalized world. The Global Compact is a legitimate, pertinent and necessary instrument. It is time to implement this unprecedented agreement, here in the 21st century, as an expression of peace and humanity, centered on equality and with a rights-based approach,” she emphasized.
“With the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that we have all felt, it is even more important that we take advantage of the opportunity that the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration offers,” stated the Director General of IOM, António Vitorino.
“The regional review demonstrates the relevance and tangible value of achieving its 23 objectives, for States, migrant persons and their families, and the communities in which they live,” Vitorino added.
Felipe González, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, underlined that while the pandemic has been an obstacle to implementing the Global Compact, it is very important in this context that the rights of migrants remain protected and that States play a vigorous role in this sense.
“We are calling for countries to undertake regularization processes of a permanent nature. We hope the pandemic will end in the not-too-distant future, but it is clear that its social and economic effects are going to last for a significant amount of time. It is very important that migrant persons have a regular status so they can exercise their human rights adequately,” he stated.
Nancy Pérez, representative of the Major Group for Children and Youth, stressed the need and importance of ensuring the right to migrate with full guarantee and respect for human rights, while also fostering the conditions that would enable people to not migrate.
Meanwhile, Berenice Valdés, Representative of the Latin American Bloc, reaffirmed civil society’s aspiration that the review meeting on the Global Compact’s implementation in the region be the start of a process to generate articulations that can be measured in terms of impact on migrants.
The meeting continued later in the day with the analysis of progress and challenges relating to implementation of the Global Compact for Migration in Latin America and the Caribbean. On Tuesday, April 27, meanwhile, participants will address key regional findings from national reports and consultations with multi-stakeholders.
The event will also include five thematic roundtables addressing areas such as the promotion of fact-based and data-driven migration discourse, policy and planning; the protection of migrants’ human rights, safety and well-being; irregular migration; the facilitation of regular migration and decent work; and the importance of the social inclusion and integration of migrants.