Asian teacher unions and civil society prepare to adopt the Global Compact for Migration

As the Global Compact takes shape, Education International and its Asian affiliates continue to take part in consultations to see that a rights-based approach is at the centre of the final agreement.

Joining Asian migrant organisations and migrant rights advocates during a consultative meeting from 4-5 August, in Bangkok, Thailand, Education International (EI)’s Pathma Krishnan engaged in discussions on the following eight thematic areas:

·         Human rights of migrants

·         Decent work

·         Women in migration

·         Participation, mobilisation and accountability

·         Children and youth in the context of migration

·         Drivers of migration

·         Mixed migration

·         Repatriation and reintegration

The meeting also aimed to enable the Asian civil society organisations (CSOs) to engage in the Global Compact for Migration through regional and national engagement, as well as come up with recommendations and mechanism for a rights-based Global Compact from the perspective of Asian civil society organisations.

This consultative process to seek inputs from governments, civil society and experts was called after the 2016 United Nations (UN) Assembly high-level Summit on the large movements of refugees and migrants. The summit marked the first-time world leaders and heads of states and governments came together at the UN with the aim of improving international cooperation and governance on migration and refugee issues. As a result of the Summit, member states committed to negotiating a global compact for refugees and global compact for safe, regular and orderly migration.

Education International has already called for the human, trade union and education rights of migrant children, teachers and education support personnel to be at the core of this new UN Global Compact on migration. It strongly believes that the UN and governments must ensure that the new Global Compact is rooted in existing human rights treaties, as UN Covenants, Conventions and other instruments are applicable to all human beings, including migrants.

Reasserting the key role of education in fighting xenophobia, racism and discrimination, and in promoting tolerance, respect, intercultural understanding and global citizenship, EI insists that teachers and educators in destination and transit countries should be trained and supported to meet the specific needs of migrant children, and urged governments to develop and implement effective mechanisms for accrediting and recognising the qualifications of migrant teachers and education support professionals.

A draft of the Asian consultation will be sent to civil society organisations and global union federations for their final comments and inputs by the end of August 2017.. Out of the five to six planned regional consultations on theGlobal Compact, the Asian consultation is the first. After all the consultations are complete, an intergovernmental meeting in Mexico is planned for  early December 2017, where the consultations will be presented, discussed and then consolidated as the basis for a draft of the Global Compact.

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