Education International
Education International

EI calls for a rights-based approach to migration

published 22 November 2012 updated 23 November 2012

EI joined forces with other global unions to call for a rights-based approach to the governance and management of migration. This call was made at the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), held in Port Louis, Mauritius, from 19 to 22 November 2012.

Noting widespread abuse of the rights of migrant workers, in their statement to the GFMD, Global Unions challenged the current deregulatory approach to labour migration, which prioritises economic imperatives and special interests over workers’ rights. Furthermore, the Global Unions called for the creation of decent jobs and quality public services in order to promote equality and prosperity for all.

The Global Unions stressed the need to place migration debates, policies and programmes within the United Nations (UN) regulatory framework. They insisted that the UN High Level Dialogue on Migration (HLD), which will be held in New York next year, must give the ILO a key role in the regulation of migration and ensure real participation for civil society.

In his presentation to one of the break-out sessions of the GFMD, EI Senior Coordinator, Dennis Sinyolo, called upon governments, UN agencies and other stakeholders to tackle barriers to mobility and challenges faced by migrant workers worldwide. Sinyolo said lack of information and data on migration, visa restrictions and bureaucratic registration processes, non-recognition of qualifications and deskilling and general wide-spread abuse were common challenges faced by migrant workers in the education and other sectors. ‘Abuses and violations of migrant workers’ rights, widespread discrimination and xenophobia are some of the most serious challenges confronting us today’, Sinyolo said.

To deal with these challenges and to reverse the negative trends, Sinyolo said  governments and international agencies must provide sufficient information and data on migration, institute mechanisms to facilitate mutual recognition of qualifications,  invest in education and training, promote ethical recruitment and decent work for all. ‘To protect and promote the rights of migrant workers, Governments must ratify UN and ILO Migrant Conventions and ensure their full implementation’, Sinyolo said. ‘There is need to regulate the activities of recruitment agencies in order to curb exploitation abuse of migrant workers ’, he insisted.

The GFMD was preceded by a meeting of EI’s Task Force on Teacher Migration and Mobility, which met at the same venue on 18 November. The Task Force discussed strategies for implementing EI’s Congress Resolutions on Migration, research and the finalisation of a web portal for use by migrant teachers across the globe.

The next GFMD will be hosted by Sweden in 2014, following the UN High Level Dialogue on Migration in 2013.