Friday, 6 July 2007

Global forum on migration and development in Brussels: The migration-development nexus

Social dialogue and a rights based framework must be at the heart of migration policy - this is the message representatives will take to the "Civil Society Day" of the Global Forum on Migration and Development that takes place in Brussels from 9 to 11 July. Civil society actors such as diaspora organisations, advocacy groups, trade unions, the private sector, and researchers from around the world will participate in the event, to exchange ideas and experiences and make recommendations to governments.

Millions of migrant workers are subject to severe exploitation in countries, while the "brain drain" from developing to industrialised countries is cause for serious concern, hampering efforts to reduce poverty. Financial remittances from migrant workers to their home countries must also be taken in serious consideration, given the importance of this revenue for many people in developing countries. In a statement released by ITUC and its Global Unions partners, as representatives of workers world-wide including migrants and as defenders of their rights and interests, made a series of recommendations to the Global Forum. These include a call on governments to shoulder their social and human rights responsibilities and set up regulatory frameworks that respect the fundamental rights of migrants regardless of their status, in keeping with the UN and ILO instruments that regulate the human and labour rights of migrant workers.

According to the Global Unions, migration policies must not compromise the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Furthermore, they must be consistent with national-level policies to implement the decent work agenda. The international trade union movement also declared that Policy frameworks must recognise that the decent work deficit in developing countries, and the failure of the global economy to create jobs where people live, are critical push factors in the "migration by necessity" syndrome. Provision of quality public services, particularly in education, health and social protection, are a clear priority for the international trade union movement. The adoption of a tripartite model of consultations between governments, employers and trade unions in partnership with migrant workers is also recommended by the Global Unions. Within this framework, agreements should be reached to extend union membership and protections to migrant workers, and to use collective bargaining as an instrument to ensure equal rights and treatment of migrants with nationals.

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