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IPU convenes MPs on migration at the United Nations

IPU President Gabriela Cuevas Barron, President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajčák and IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong

IPU President Gabriela Cuevas Barron, President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajčák and IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong at the Parliamentary Hearing. © Joel Sheakoski

Migration is a reality the world over, too often governed in an ad hoc manner. Migrants need more regular pathways to reduce irregular migration and ensure better integration in their host country and its labour market.

The need for a global compact on migration was emphasized at the Annual Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations in New York from 22 to 23 February 2018. The Hearing allowed MPs to provide a parliamentary perspective on the new UN Global Compact on safe, orderly and regular migration (GCM) currently under negotiation.

Migration is too often involuntary, caused by war, climate change, famine, natural disasters and terrorism. Parliamentarians called for the need to address the root causes of large-scale migration and to ensure that migration is by choice rather than a necessity. They stressed that migrants were human beings and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and their human rights recognized. The narrative on migration should be changed to one that focuses more on good practices in communities. The MPs expressed concern that migrants frequently were the scapegoats for their host country’s own problems, and subjected therefore to hate and xenophobia. Parliamentarians identified ways they could contribute to curbing hate speech, including through laws and by example.

Parliamentarians were concerned about the plight of the more vulnerable migrants, women and children, particularly those children born of irregular migrants. They recognized their responsibility as legislators to prevent suffering of all human beings.

MPs acknowledged the importance of their role in passing laws, including the budget, and in ensuring the implementation of the GCM and safe, orderly and regular migration. In addition, they play an important part in increasing coordination among and within states, and in reducing xenophobia.

The meeting was opened by President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajčák and IPU President Gabriela Cuevas Barron. The two co-facilitators of the Global Compact on Migration—Mexican Ambassador Juan José Gómez Camacho and Swiss Ambassador Jürg Lauber—and the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres also addressed the participants. 

Several MPs filled out the IPU survey on Migration. We encourage all MPs to do so. You can find the survey here.