Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) in collaboration with Helvetas, National Network for Safe Migration (NNSM), South Asia Regional Trade Union Council (SARTUC) and Solidarity Center convened a South Asia Civil Society Consultation on Labour Migration from 13-14 November 2018 in Kathmandu, Nepal. The consultation focused on the following four thematic issues:
(1) fair and ethical recruitment;
(2) consular support for migrants in crisis;
(3) access to justice, support services and welfare protection; and
(4) decent work.
The Consultation aimed to achieve the following objectives:
•Discuss and provide a people’s perspective on the four (4) thematic issues;
•Formulate recommendations that would be put forward to the Colombo Process meetings in November;
•Discuss synergies between the Civil Society Consultation on Labour Migration and the GCM.
The consultation was organized back to back with the Colombo Process Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) held on 15 November 2018 and the Sixth Ministerial Consultation held on 16 November 2018 held in Kathmandu, Nepal. The current chair of the Colombo Process is the Government of Nepal. The recommendations put forward in the consultation served as talking points for the MFA representative to the Colombo Process, Dr. Lissy Joseph.
The consultation brought together 61 representatives of civil society organizations including trade unions, returnee migrants, migrants’ advocates and media from Bangladesh, India, Kuwait, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. A plenary discussion, Davos style session, break out group were used throughout the consultation. As preparatory to the consultation, MFA had created a country-focused questionnaire on the four thematic issues. The questionnaire was shared to the respective country focal points, used to develop a country report which was disseminated to the participants prior to the program.
On the first day, participants discussed fair and ethical recruitment, consular support and services for migrants in crisis and access to justice. Recommendations were identified with emphasis of stronger enforcement of laws was stressed against fraudulent recruitment agencies and to curb unethical practice. Participants also heard testimonies from two returnee migrant workers who briefly shared their labour migration experience.
The second day focused on decent work and how the four thematic issues being dicussed in the consultation are linked to the global discussion on the Global Compact for Safe, Ordely and Regular Migration (GCM) which will be adopted in December 2018 in Marrakesh, Morocco. At the end of the two day consultation, the participants identified several recommendations on the four thematic issues to be put forward to the Colombo Process as contribution of civil society.
The consultation re-affirmed the need for civil society to push forward its advocacy on migration and to continue engaging regional processes such as the Colombo Process and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Despite the seemingly slow progress and being government-centered, continued engagement of members and partners at the national level through processes of dialogue and consultations would ensure a certain level of public accountability to their commitments. Consultative processes hold value in strategic design and implementation of advocacy in migration at a regional and inter-governmental level.
For more information please contact William Gois of the MFA Secretariat at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on the Colombo Process meeting can be found here: https://www.colomboprocess.org/cp-meetings/detail/kathmandu-consultation-2018#senior-officials-meeting
Please find below photos from the Civil Society Consultation