Migrants Rights International

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Community Dialogue on
Migration, Development & Human Rights

Center for Labor, Community and Policy Studies, CUNY
25 W. 43rd Street (between 5th & 6th Ave.)

13-15 September 2006, New York



The United Nations High Level Dialogue (UNHLD) on Migration and Development will take place on September 14 and 15, 2006 in New York at the UN headquarters. Migrant Rights International (MRI) will convene organizations promoting the rights of migrants from the global regions to raise awareness on the UNHLD process, highlight key migration issues from a community perspective, and strategize collectively on how to achieve international recognition and enforcement of migrants’ human rights. Through organized parallel activities outside of the UN, and MRI’s presence inside the governmental meeting, MRI will generate a clear migrant civil society response to the HLD process, emphasizing particularly its implications to migration and human rights. The momentum generated by this convergence will also help to strengthen alliances among migrants’ associations and NGOs from across the world.

The stated purpose of the UNHLD is to discuss the multidimensional aspects of international migration and development in order to “identify appropriate ways and means to maximize its development benefits and minimize its negative impacts,” and to achieve internationally agreed-upon development goals, such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

It is MRI’s position, however, that the UNHLD process thus far has severely restricted the participation of the migrant voice and appears to promote an economic justification of international migration at the expense of migrants’ human rights. This is apparent from the preparatory report on the UNHLD released by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in June 2006, in which he, “stresses that international migration constitutes an ideal means of promoting co-development, that is, the coordinated or concerted improvement of economic conditions in both areas of origin and areas of destination based on the complementarities between them.” The summary also makes no mention of the necessary involvement of migrants and their advocates in its suggestion of the creation of a “permanent forum” on issues of migration and development as an outcome of the HLD.

Recognizing that the UNHLD will potentially set into place a critical infrastructure for ongoing governmental deliberations on migration policy, MRI has been working inside the HLD process to promote human rights as the dominant framework of the HLD’s “co-development” strategy. MRI has been present at the preparatory meetings for the HLD, including the July Interactive NGO Dialogue. In September, MRI will serve as one of the eight selected civil society representatives participating in the roundtable sessions, and it will strategize with these representatives on interventions inside. Parallel events with UN agencies and allied governments inside the UN may also be co-organized by MRI, depending on whether these events are approved. MRI is also preparing with its partners to lobby governments in anticipation of the event.

MRI believes that organizations promoting the rights of migrants, especially representatives of migrant communities themselves, should be provided with an alternative forum to understand the intended goals of the HLD, to monitor the course of the deliberations, and to provide their perspectives and inputs. Towards these goals, MRI will organize parallel activities—an International Migrants’ Rights Tribunal, a Community Dialogue on Migration and Development, a rally, and a media briefing—targeting local and international organizations promoting the rights of migrants, including organizations of migrants and their families.

Program Objectives

1. To advocate in the UNHLD and with UN member states the perspectives of migrants and migrant civil society organizations through MRI participation inside the governmental meeting, monitor the course of deliberations inside the HLD, assess outcomes, and identify critical tasks to play in relation to these outcomes.
2. To collectively inform and co-educate participating migrants’ rights organizations about the UNHLD and its intended goals, and build understanding, visioning and strategizing about policy implications for global migration and human rights;
3. To highlight key migration issues from a community perspective, strategize collectively on how to achieve international recognition and enforcement of migrants’ human rights, and develop and adopt a unity statement that will be submitted to the HLD.
4. To strengthen alliances among organizations promoting the rights of migrants and migrants’ groups from across the world through collective understanding, visioning and strategizing on how to converge the advocacies and struggles of migrants’ movements from the different global regions.
5. To use the opportunity provided by this international convergence of organizations to discuss and plan MRI’s organizational development, including issues of MRI’s structure and governance.


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