human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

Let’s make migration work for everyone

Statement ahead of the International Migrants Day, 18 December

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On the occasion of the International Migrants Day, Caritas Europa welcomes the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration by an overwhelming majority of countries during the United Nation’s intergovernmental meeting in Marrakech last week.

The adoption of the Global Compact for Migration is a step forward to addressing one of the most relevant global concerns today in a humane way. It provides a comprehensive structure for countries to approach migration collaboratively with respect to human rights and to tackle urgent issues such as safe and legal migration pathways, the contribution of migrants to development and the fight against human trafficking and labour exploitation.

We call on all signing countries, including EU Member States, to begin to implement the Global Compact for Migration, which is an outstanding tool to empower governments in feeling more in control of human mobility. It also highlights the benefits of migration and decreases the potential fears and challenges associated with it.

Msgr. Luc Van Looy, President of Caritas Europa.

While respecting each state’s national sovereignty, the Global Compact is a non-binding instrument that fosters cooperation between countries of origin, transit and destination of migrants. It is based on the existing international human rights framework and the Sustainable Development Goals. Knowing that no state can act alone in the field of migration, we believe it strikes a good balance between the respect of migrants’ rights and the interests of receiving communities.

We hope that the fact that some countries decided to withdraw from the Global Compact will not tarnish the ambitions of the majority who chose cooperation and dialogue over individual political interests. Caritas Europa applauds this important instrument that proves that nationalism, populism and xenophobia will not triumph over cooperation and dialogue.

In this regard, Pope Francis’ four verb approach to migration: “to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate” rings true across the Caritas global confederation.

The adoption and implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration will be an important step for governments to fight the rising tide of stigma around migration and to ensure that human dignity and rights are upheld. In a world struggling to embrace its globalized identity, the global compact will be a sign of cooperation and unity that will offer far-reaching hope for our common future.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle, President of Caritas Internationalis

This is the beginning, not the end. The work and implementation must start now to make safe, orderly and regular migration a reality.

Notes to editor

  • The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration has been adopted at the Intergovernmental Conference under the auspices of the UN General Assembly in Marrakesh on the 10 – 11 December 2018. This is the follow up of the 2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, whereby 193 UN Member States recognised the need for a comprehensive approach to human mobility and enhanced cooperation at the global level.
  • Despite agreeing (except the USA) on the final version of the compact in July 2018, after two years of intense negotiations, several countries (eg. Australia, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia) in the end withdrew from adopting the global compact in Marrakech on the argument that it would restrain their national sovereignty with regard to migration policies.
  • At the end of the negotiation in July 2018, Caritas Internationalis, together with a wide range of CSOs, welcomed the Global Compact and highlighted main progresses while stressing some shortcomings. Caritas Internationalis’ President, Cardinal Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle, outlines the need to create a global vision of migration in this OpEd.
  • The Migrants & Refugees Section of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development has followed closely the negotiation of the Global Compact and proposed several recommendations elaborated in the “20 action points” document, which is reflected in about 15 of the 23 objectives of the Global Compact.
  • Transcription of the intervention of His Emminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of His Holiness Pope Francis and Head of the Delegation of the Holy See.