Second Declaration of Rivas Assembly of Social Movements Held during the III World Social Forum of Migrations

Today as we commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, the twenty years since the deaths along the Gilbralter began, 35 years of the military strike against the democratic president, Salvador Allende, while this same legitimacy is gravely threatened in Bolivia and requests our consciousness and solidarity, and as we celebrate the 60th year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we, men and women, who form a part of more than two thousand social movements and organizations from 90 countries around the planet, united in Rivas Vaciamadrid (Spain), from September 11th to the 14th, are joined by the slogan


Our voices

We are migrants and migrant organizations, displaced people and refugees, and victims of human trafficking and slave trading. We are also members of social movements and organisations working together with these people. We are individuals and collectives who, because of our concern for migration in all of its totality, have developed actions committed to the radical transformation of the living conditions of humans who have been forced to migrate, be displaced, or seek refuge.

We, the migrants, displaced people and refugees, and our organizations, present ourselves as a new political subject and a world social force consolidated in this III World Social Forum of Migrations. For all the reasons mentioned above and with a legitimate right, we raise our voices to say:

No to the progressive deterioration of the living conditions which impact the majority of the people in the world, in the north as in the global south, which has a unique impact upon migrants, refugees and displaced persons from distinct continents, especially those who come from Palestinian, Saharan, Columbian, Sudanese, and Iraqi villages. We say no to the complacent policies of the United States, Europe, and Spain in particular.

No to the forced migration of the indigenous villages due to the exploitation of their land and the large agri-industrial projects which as a consequence brings about the loss of ones cultural roots and the destruction of their culture

No to the various racist demonstrations against migrant people and communities on all continents and particularly those that are against Africans and the Latin community in the United States

No to the reproduction and strengthening of a patriarchal system, which in the context of the feminisation of migration has lead to a profound disparity in the already existing gender inequality, due to the fact that women are mainly employed in slave-like conditions, doing domestic work, such as taking care of others.

No to the projects which stigmatise, segment, and exclude migrant people and their families and deteriorate the social, communal, and organizational fabric. We reject the claim of transforming financial aid into a substitute of countries’ developmental policies in countries of origin and as a reinforcement of the flow of capital, widening historical social, political, economic, and cultural inequalities to an even greater extent.

No to conventional mass media coverage which reinforces the criminalisation and victimisation of migrant people through stereotyping, portraying them as a hegemonic discourse. No to xenophobia, discrimination, and racism propagated by the mass media that increases such conduct and practice in society and within the countries of transit and destination of migrant people.

No to a capitalist globalisation which is centralized, exclusive, and neo-liberal; a predator of human beings and natural resources that when joined, represents the fundamental cause of contemporary migration.

Our Rights

We are individuals committed to seeing processes through. We analyse and interpret the complex reality of migration, from the perspective of human beings, their dignity, and their human rights. We devise and put into operation multiple and diverse initiatives, by which we continue to carry out our historic leading role in order to construct a different reality:

Under the current conditions of world capitalism, migrant people are an evident example of economic and social inequality among and within countries. This situation becomes more profound when synchronized with a multidimensional world crisis: economical, environmental, alimentary, and energy based.

The building of geographic, political, legal, and cultural walls, such as “the shameful” European directive and other public laws and similar official orders, are criminal strategies that seek the largest amount of international capital profit by eliminating all human rights. For this reason, people resort to the externalisation of borders, mental internalisation through persecution, harassment and deportations, arbitrary detentions, the impunity of border police and detention centres, where the violation of human rights is commonplace.

We insist that the bilateral and regional work agreements inspired by the Philippine model of temporary programs for guest workers, which prevents one’s loss of cultural roots and annuls any possibility of claiming one’s rights, bringing about the excessive exploitation and dehumanisation of workers, honour in it’s entirety the established obligations of the 97th and 143rd agreements of the ILO. Without doing so, the integral deterioration of Human Labour will increase, loosing salary, social, and judicial value, transforming migrant people into merchandise.

While facing labor that is forced, slave-like, and precarious, we declare the need to defend, demand, and extend dignified work for a dignified life, which integrates liberty, equality of treatment, and adequate financial situations for all working people.

We value economic initiatives of solidarity which strengthen the network of associates and contribute to social economic processes and the integral development of people. We reject it’s use as an instrument for denying migrant rights.

We promote universal citizenship and we ratify the right for people to freely move as established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

For a world without walls

A world without walls is an essential condition needed in order to construct a possible world; honouring in entirety articles 13 and 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a requirement and we are committed to continuing our fight for the rights of all migrant people.

For this, we require that:

  • the signature, ratification, and implementation of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families by those countries that have not yet done so. We salute the countries that have ratified the declaration and we demand that they adapt this national framework to the requirements of the convention. We welcome the commitment of every local authority to support the campaign in favour of its ratification, which was initiated by the local authorities of Rivas Vaciamadrid.

  • the establishment of a mandate or a specific procedure as part of the UN system that will support the empty spaces in existing protective instruments for migrant people, the CMW (Committee on Migrant Workers), the special reporter, ACNUR, and the special representative for internal displaced people.

  • the elimination of the EU Return Directive, as well as other legal instruments that permit the arrest of migrants all over the world; the dismantling of Frontex and all political and military mechanisms that secure migrant policies and the control of detention centres by social organizations until their final closing.

  • that the borders of the world stop being places of impunity where migrant people are objects of every type of violation, crime, and obligation to take on risks that put their lives in danger. We demand that countries of origin, transit, and destination, assume their responsibility to restore this situation.

  • the regularization of all migrant people without papers in all parts of the world.

  • the expansion of legal causes by which asylum, refuge, and treatment of people are acknowledged through the acknowledgement of other existing forms of persecution; guaranteeing that requests and procedures be in accordance with the law and focus on human rights of those groups. Also, we demand the compliance of the conditions that the International Right demands for the return of refugees.

  • the denouncement of every expulsion contract, which are generally imposed on countries of origin or transit and which often involve serious violations of rights, family separations, retaliation by the authorities in the country of origin and a serious uprooting of cultural roots of migrants.

  • the annulment of agreements and clauses on re-admission and the halt of all business deals of this type between the European Union and third countries and among the third countries.

  • the encouragement of migrant people and communities to organize, speak out, and denounce all forms of domination and exploitation and to assert their rights, strengthening their organizations and mutual support networks.

  • the compliance of international legislation that guarantees the adequate protection of children that are an important part of international migratory flows.

  • the incorporation in our fight to vindicate environmental justice and the judicial acknowledgement and protection of refugees which provokes climatic change and environmental destruction, urging a new world order that promotes human dignity for all people, in tune with the whole range of possibilities for our planet Earth.

  • Implementation of policies that aim at guaranteeing the equality of opportunities, developing inclusion measures that do not depend on: the administrative situation of migrant people; integration policies, in public services, cultural diversity of migrant people in the public services; long term policies for the integration of youth and for the advancement of achieving equal rights for LGBT migrant groups and their families.

  • the right to vote in city hall spheres and the active participation in the definition of local plans of development in respect to the autonomy of social organizations and movements, in such a way that fully exercised citizenship of migrant people be effective.

  • the political participation of migrants in order to influence internal policies as well as external policies in the host country in favour of their country of origin, making visible the benefits that migrant people bring to the host countries, becoming active agents themselves.

  • the continued process of a collective essay of the Migrant Letter (Charter) just as those processes and initiatives that signify a strengthening of the defence for migrant people’s rights.

  • the increase and strengthening of democratic mass media that takes into account the point of view of migrant people and their communities and adequately reflects the complexities of migration.

    We want to take back the dimension and dignity of human beings, by preventing the commercial logic to affect our social movements. It should be accepted that our identity as migrants, refugees, and displaced people does not deny us of other multiple identities and struggles. For this reason, we announce that in October 2010, the IV World, Social Forum on Migrations will be held in Quito, Ecuador.

    Migration is not a crime. Crimes are the causes that produce migration. We raise our voices, we defend out rights, we fight together in order to build a world without walls.

    Rivas Vaciamadrid, September 13th, 2008