Migrant Rights = Human Rights
Final Statement of the Assembly on Migration, 7th World Social Forum, Nairobi, Kenya - January 24, 2007
We, the participants of the 7th WSF, solidarity organizations, NGOs, national and international networks, grassroots movements, men and women, wish to present in this final declaration the ideas we shared during the WSF as well as our proposals for action.
Migration is a central issue of Social Forums. The situation of migrants and migration policies are a result of neo-liberal policies and their tragic consequences.
The situation of people migrating from Africa, Europe, America or Asia are very similar. Through our fights, exchange of ideas and reports, we showed in a simple and lively way that global policies have daily consequences on all our lives, no matter where we live.
Therefore, it is necessary to keep making the links between migration related questions and the larger struggle against neo-liberal policies that jeopardize everyone’s liberty.
Together, we reaffirm our rejection of the idea that migration and migrants are a problem to be eradicated and that migrants are a source of insecurity, terrorism, or illegal trafficking.
We refuse both to criminalize migrants and to accept the idea that migratory movements are somehow dangerous to people in the receiving countries. Laws concerning migration should be based on human rights rather than on security and repressive considerations.
We call for a change of perspective in the debate on migration. We reaffirm that migrants participate in the transformation of societies and we reassert their positive and vital role. Migrants embody the international solidarity values we all defend. Migrants' rights are human rights.
The WSF that took place in Kenya showed how debates on migration are still difficult to carry on within African civil societies. African Governments are reluctant to start this debate within their countries because it might reveal Government failures and/or their servile positions, especially towards European countries. At the same time, families, men and women still have a very powerful "European or American dream", in spite of all testimonies from migrants themselves.
This dream of a better "somewhere else" is generated by daily realities, which have become tougher and tougher since neo-liberal policies including the payment of illegitimate debts and the privatization of public services caused in Africa a massive growth in unemployment rates, the destruction of local agriculture, the financial asphyxiation of the African Governments. Neo-liberal policies are destroying prospects for the future wellbeing of African people, especially young people. Thus the decision to leave one’s home countries becomes vital to run away from wars, political oppression, poverty or natural disasters.
During seminars and workshops on migration at the Nairobi WSF, the following themes were discussed and analyzed:
- Employment, and in particular, employment in Southern countries and the link between unemployment and migration.
- The situation of migrant workers and migratory utilitarianism.
- Development and cooperation agreements being used to control migratory flows; the taxation of migrants' remittances in the name of development.
- Migratory flows, in particular South/South flows, and their impact on both sending and receiving societies.
- The rising number of deaths in border regions, as well as the use of borders as a tool for the selecting, jeopardizing and/or rejecting migrants rather than as an instrument of protection; the denunciation of borders militarization and of detention centres for migrants, the denunciation of the externalization of borders control policies.
- The situation of undocumented persons, the withholding of residence permits and regularization processes; evictions and deportations, and the criminalization of migrants.
- The freedom of circulation and right to stay (both inside and outside the borders of a country); eliminating the reliance on temporary visas and providing options for permanent residency.
- The international conventions to be ratified (Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families), and those still to be worked out (Convention on Human Rights at the Borders).
- The fight against human trafficking, specially of women and children.
- The strengthening of migrants organizations, migrants support networks (Euro-African, Euro-Asian, American-Asian); and links with trade-unions.
We worked out together an agenda for the events that will take place in 2007-2008:
- May the 1st 2007: International Day for Migrant Workers' Rights
- June 8-10 2007 : G8 Counter-summit in Germany
- July 9-11 2007: Global Forum on Migration and Development organised by the United Nations in Brussels – Belgium, on the July the 9th there will be a civil society event
- October the 7th 2007 : Ceuta and Melilla Commemoration Day
- December the 18th 2007 : International Day of Migrants
- 2008 : World Social Forum on Migrations
- 2008 : G8 Counter-summit in Tokyo
In order to strengthen the dynamics of the global migrants rights movement and to continue the process of sharing and jointly refining the principles the movement has been developing since the Social Forum of Bamako, trough the European Social Forum of Athens, the World Social Forum on Migrations, the Social Forum on Borders, the Social Forum of the United States, as well as the Non-Governmental Conference of Rabat, the Assembly on Migration decided to build a world network on migration. We expect this global network to improve the connection and collaboration between all groups and networks, working on the issue of migration and conducting campaigns on local, national and regional scales.
This informal network is aimed at improving mobilizations, analyses, campaigns, and the process of developing and endorsing proposals on a world scale. Its main tool consists in a list of people and organizations engaged in this struggle and of information circulating via the Internet.
The address to subscribe the list and sign this declaration is: