Caritas Confederation will develop a position paper on migration

Caritas Confederation representatives from Asia, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Oceania and COATNET came together to develop a policy position paper on migration – protection, integration, returnees, deportation and human trafficking from March 6-7, 2017 at Rome.

Mr. Michel Rody, the General Secretary of Caritas Internationalis welcomed the participants of the working group to discuss the way forward on the issue of migration and trafficking within the globe.

Martina, the advocacy director shared the multiple agenda of the core group meeting which included developing a policy position paper on migration, strategy and key message around Global Compact, presence of Caritas Internationalis at Global Forum on Migration and to develop an advocacy plan for Global Campaign on Migration.

Representatives from the respective regions and COATNET shared their work on migration and human trafficking, their strengths, weaknesses and also seek expected support from Caritas Internationalis.

Fr. Michael from the Vatican Dicastary for Integral Human Development shared that their priority is to work with bishops which was given by Holy Father.

Earlier, church used to prepare the migrants and used to accompany them to the place of destination but these days it is not practiced. He said, we need to remember 4 phases of the church:

1.       Church of those who are going to leave or nearing to leave

2.       Church of those who are on their way

3.       Churches of transit- church accompanies all those who are passing

4.       Church accomplished- churches of arrival

Working with different organisations like Caritas will help to plan and move ahead to push forward the agreed demands at International level especially during the New York Summit where Pope himself can play a major role in pushing the demands. Ending child detention could be one of the agenda.

“Few years back very few countries were working on migration but now migration has become a political issue”, said Mr. Federico Soda from International Organisation on Migration (IOM). Being one of the agencies of UN, IOM has the status now to sit with UN agency and discuss in the process of decision making. It has been working since many years with NGOs and governments.

Sharing about the UN initiative to global compact on migration and on refugee, he shared that global compact is going to set up the goals which needs to be achieve with respect to the SDGs. NGOs with consultative status can participate in the preparatory process and Caritas Internationalis being the registered entity can give its comments and demands in those processes. There is a room to influence the global compact and he urged that we need to use this opportunity.

Mr. Joe, from New York said Global compact on migration is likely to be impacted as there are chances for negotiation but global compact on refugees is non-negotiable. We need to be clear as how we are going to frame advocacy activities at institutional level, community level etc.

Human Rights Council (HRC) is an inter-governmental body made up of 47 states and it promotes and strengthens protection of all human rights around the globe, briefed Floriana Polito, CI Humanitarian Officer, Geneva.

She said: “Caritas Internationalis can engage themselves through written statements, individual or oral statements, organise parallel events, contributing to drafting process of resolutions, bilateral meeting with participants, UN agencies and permanent missions to the UN”.

She also gave some of the examples where Caritas Internationalis has presented the paper and shared their experiences. Caritas France has shared the experiences with UN agencies on child trafficking in conflicts zone.  To have an impact at global level our process should be continuous.

Discussion on migration and migrants left the group with a feeling that a very broad terms are been used for refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced peoples, trafficked persons, labour migrants.

“There is myth that development will stop migration. We need to look at forced migration. The migrants and migration are on the 2030 agenda for sustainable development goals”, said Bob from CORDAID.

He said: “The 2013 agenda for sustainable development goal lies on the principle “leave no one behind”. It means that migration is inherent part of all the goals and targets”

Root causes of forced migration and displacement, Reception in region, protracted crisis and Diaspora engagement and Social remittances- how they can support back home were discussed by the group as key policy advocacy issues.

It was suggested that Caritas Internationalis can engage with Representatives from Migration in development in Africa (MADE) and Global development on migration forum (GFMD) and discuss the issues of orderly and safe migration, safety of children on move, recruitment, family reunification, returnees etc.