This was a historic month for international cooperation on migration as well refugee based issues. On the 10th and 11th December, the international community met in Marrakech for the final adoption of the Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular Migration (GCM).
Leaders from 164 countries chose to adopt the Compact whilst a handful of countries decided not to adopt, including Australia. Furthermore, there was a vote on the GCM at the UN General Assembly on 19th December and only 5 countries voted against the GCM. Australia’s vote was to abstain.
Throughout the GCM’s consultations and negotiations, the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) and JRS Australia have been active participants. The GCM is designed to facilitate increased coordination to all dimensions of international migration. It is a historic achievement as the first instrument with principles and specific objectives to better coordinate and manage international migration.
JRS Australia’s Director, Carolina Gottardo attended the Marrakech UN Conference for the adoption of the GCM, as part of what was named as Migration Week.
“It is beneficial for member states to adopt the GCM. It is actually a collective effort of 192 member states that have worked together to agree on a framework that is fair on human mobility. It is based on internationally agreed standards that have worked for the last 70 years. It is a concerted effort to expand the state’s ability to work in a coordinated and cooperative framework that is beneficial for all of them.”
This week, Eureka Street also featured an Op-Ed by Ms Gottardo called, “Australia misses GCM boat but it’s not too late.”
Carolina made it clear that it “is not too late for the Australian government to adopt the GCM. This is an instrument that they helped to shape through their active participation in the consultations and negotiations that resulted in the final text of the GCM.”
Additionally, the Women in Migration Network launched the Marrakech Women’s Rights Manifesto; designed to improve the lives of women and girls in migration.To find out more about the Women’s Manifesto, “Road to Marrakech: Help Ensure the Rights of Women Migrants and Refugees are Upheld.”
The Marrakech UN conference followed the Australian government’s recent decision not to adopt the GCM. Australia abstained on the vote at the UN General Assembly on 19th December 2018 but mentioned that it won’t be adopting.
Since last month, innumerable civil and social justice based organisations, including JRS, have been critical of the Coalition’s decision and have sought it to be changed.
Earlier this month, JRS Australia joined 34 other highly respected organisations in a public letter expressing both concern and condemnation about the withdrawal.
JRS International also launched a Media Release urging the Australian government to adopt the GCM. Full Media Release appears here.