UN: World leaders must seize historic opportunity to protect the rights of migrants

States who have adopted the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) must honour their word and take immediate action to protect the human rights of migrants, Amnesty International said on International Migrants Day.

The GCM, a global agreement to promote safe, orderly and regular migration, will be formally endorsed at the UN General Assembly tomorrow. Amnesty International made a number of recommendations to the draft text.

We particularly welcome parts of the GCM which recognize the drastic impact that climate change will have on global migration
Perseo Quiroz, Senior Advocate for the Americas at Amnesty International

“The Global Compact for Migration is a welcome step towards improving the way the international community responds to migration and, if properly implemented, it will ensure the rights of migrants are respected and protected. The adoption of the GCM shows that it is still possible for countries to cooperate to protect human rights,” said Perseo Quiroz, Senior Advocate for the Americas at Amnesty International.

“We particularly welcome parts of the GCM which recognize the drastic impact that climate change will have on global migration. World leaders need to start planning now to ensure the rights and dignity of people driven out of their homes by climate-related disasters are respected. The GCM will guide this conversation in the coming years.”

A small number of countries, including Australia, the USA, Hungary, Italy, Austria and Poland, have refused to endorse the GCM.

With many governments still pursuing polices that demonize migrants, it is now incumbent upon the countries who have adopted the GCM to ensure concrete action is taken.
Perseo Quiroz

These countries have been responsible for some of the worst abuses against migrants in recent years: Australia’s brutal offshore detention centres; the Trump administration’s cruel family separation policy; Italy’s cruel policy of closing its ports and trapping people in a cycle of abuses in Libya; and Hungary’s legislation criminalizing helping migrants and refugees.

“With many governments still pursuing polices that demonize migrants, it is now incumbent upon the countries who have adopted the GCM to ensure concrete action is taken. They must offer safe and legal channels for migration, and lead the way with a compassionate and fair approach to people on the move,” said Perseo Quiroz.