On 24th of January the Secretary-General’s second biennial report on the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) was published, which reports on the implementation of the Compact, the activities of the UN system in this regard, as well as the functioning of the institutional arrangements. The present report contains a call upon States to take concerted action to truly foster the rights, dignity and well-being of migrants.
On 10 December 2018, the text document of the Global Compact was approved by 164 nations during the Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. On 19 December 2018, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the compact through a vote. It is the first inter-governmentally negotiated agreement, prepared under the auspices of the United Nations, covering all dimensions of international migration. It is a non-binding document that respects states’ sovereign right to determine who enters and stays in their territory and demonstrates commitment to international cooperation on migration.
The published report shows how Governments can put in place laws, policies and practices consistent with the commitments and guiding principles of the Compact and highlights how States can do better.
For example States are recommended to promote inclusive societies and including migrants in COVID-19 response and recovery. States and stakeholders are also urged to ensure that all migrants are granted and enabled to gain access to essential health services and continuity of care. Further States are urged to ensure that migrants and returning migrants are included in development, social protection, and socioeconomic response and recovery frameworks, drawing on lessons learned from the pandemic. The report also calls for the establishment of mechanisms to separate immigration enforcement activities from service provision, including access to basic services.
Further recommendations are made upon States to promoting safe and regular migration including by expanding and diversify rights -based pathways for regular migration. Such efforts should be grounded in labour market realities and decent work.
States are also urged to comply with the obligation of non-refoulement at borders and to stop forced returns in situations where the health, safety, dignity and human rights of migrants and communities of origin and transit cannot be safeguarded. States are further urged to stop obstructing humanitarian efforts aimed at providing life – saving assistance and criminalizing those who provide such humanitarian assistance, including by ensuring that criminal liability for migrant smuggling is in accordance with international law and to assess the consequences of restrictive, deterrence-based migration-related laws, policies and practices and to revise those, as necessary, to mitigate potential negative consequences.