26-04-2018
Migrants Missing from the Migration Discourse

newsimageThe issue of regulating migration is being discussed at a time when xenophobia is rising at dangerous levels and human displacement is taking place at an unprecedented scale. Hence, there is an urgent need for a global commitment for fair migration and coherent rights based polices as demanded by the global unions of the workers and their families. Abducted by the terrorist group ISIS, dead bodies of 38 Indians arrived in Amritsar from Mosul, Iraq on April 1. As all the deceased were labourers who had migrated from the country for work,to some extent the tragedy has brought back the debate on the security of migrant workers in destination countries to the forefront other than attracting much condemnation from the Parliament.The role of the International agencies and the national governments to regulate migration is being discussed both by the countries of origin and of destination migration. But it is not just migration that needs deliberations but also the working conditions in the destination countries that requires intervention because it is for labur that more than 70 percent of migration occurs. The Global Compact for Migration (GCM) Heads of state are going to gather in December in Morocco to discuss the ‘safe, orderly and regular migration’ as they ratify the Global Compact for Migration (GCM). Considered to be a non-legally binding cooperative framework among nations, it will have widespread ramifications once agreed upon and adopted. Voices have already started dissenting that it is just a management framework which will not work in the interest of the workers rather will inhibit their movement. The first draft of the GCM is already out and is being discussed by various stakeholders including International Labour Organisation (ILO), various trade unions and civil society groups working on migration and labour issues. The draft of the GCM lays 10 cross cutting guiding principles. These include: being People-Centred, International cooperation, National sovereignty, Rule of law and due process, Sustainable Development Goals, Human rights, Gender-Sensitivity, Sensitivity towards Children , whole-of government-approach and whole-of society approach. These principles may sound noble but actually are to control and monitor migration of workers. The GCM also has 22 objectives that range from collecting data of both ‘regular and irregular migrant workers’ to establishing mechanism for the portability of social security entitlements to the workers. Some of the important objectives of such a Compact are,‘to minimise the adverse drivers and structural factors that compel people to leave their country of origin, strengthen certainty and predictability in migration procedures etc’. The issue of regulating migration is being discussed at a time when xenophobia is rising at dangerous levels and human displacement is taking place at an unprecedented scale. Hence, there is an urgent need for a global commitment for fair migration and coherent rights based polices as demanded by the global unions of the workers and their families. The group in India discussing these challenges include the central workers unions, the civil society organisations and even a few individuals who are doing exemplary work in the domain of migration related issues of the working people. This group has warned that there is risk that the GCM could shirk humanitarian obligations, failing to provide protections from abusive temporary or circular work visa programmes. It further stresses the need that the Compact should adhere to human and labour rights standards and should not further criminalize migrants or empower the private sector to dictate terms of migration governance. Hence an important demand that emanates from this group is that the ILO should play a greater role and not the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in the GCM. The workers unions in Indian have laid down guidelines for a transparent compact process that gives working families freedom to stand together and receive a fair return on the hard work done. They demand:- •Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining in destination countries. •Authentic social dialogue. The compact should explicitly integrate ILOs tripartite structure of consultations (between the government, workers’ and employers representative) as a central governance mechanism for global labour migration policy •Adherence to International