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Circular 23: Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration

Dear All,

Hope all goes well. Greetings from MFA and Eid Mubarak!

We are writing to share with you updates on the recently concluded intergovernmental negotiations meeting on the Global Compact for Migration held on 4-8 June 2018 in New York. As previously shared, this round focused on an objective-by-objective reading of draft Rev 2. The Deputy Secretary-General was also present during one of the sessions of the meeting wherein she delivered a briefing on the institutional rearrangements which resulted from the Secretary-General’s internal consultations.

Please find below key highlights of the negotiations meeting:

  1. Objective 23 – The purpose of this newly added objective is to relate closely the GCM to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) particularly on SDG 17’s global partnership as well as cooperation on migration.
  2. Objective 2 and 5 – The clear inclusion of natural disasters and climate change as one of the drivers of migration has also been stated in Objectives 2 and 5 in hopes of promoting cooperation among Member-states in addressing these issues.
  3. Migrants and refugees – the revised draft addressed this issue in paragraph 3 of the preamble which tries to provide a clear distinction between migrants and refugees and at the same time trying to reflect the complementarity between the compact on Refugees and Migration.
  4. Regular and irregular migrants – Similar to the migrants and refugees, there are still a number of Member-states who are pushing for a clear distinction between the two.
  5. Regularization of migrants (objective 7) – some Member-states reiterated that this should only be used as an instrument in particular situations as a tool for individual cases in order to reduce vulnerabilities.
  6. Range of basic services for migrants (objective 15) – there is a shared understanding among majority of the Member-states that all migrants, regardless of status should have access to basic minimum services.
  7. Return and reintegration (objective 21) – return forms part of effective and credible migration policies, but also important that it takes place to the extent possible on a voluntary basis and is accompanied by robust reintegration measures.
  8. Principle of non-refoulment – there should be an understanding that this is a general principle of the International Human Rights Law that goes beyond the Refugees Convention.
  9. National sovereignty – there were a number of Member-states who highlighted how some of the objectives in the draft are too prescriptive. Singapore and China were on of the Member-states who keep emphasising the need for the objectives to be in accordance with national laws and policies.


Please find attached a copy of the 3rd Joint Statement of a Group of Like-Minded States on Decent Work and Labour Migration (Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, Guatemala, Indonesia, Jamaica, Mexico, Nepal, Paraguay, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Uruguay, and Vietnam). Also attached is the Trade Union Position Statement and Substantive Proposals for the Global Compact for Safe Orderly and Regular Migration.

You may access the statement of the Deputy Secretary General’ remarks to Fifth Round of Negotiations towards a Global Compact for Migration via this link: https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/dsg/statement/2018-06-07/deputy-secretary-generals-remarks-fifth-round-negotiations-towards for your reference.

Next GCM draft and details for the adoption of the GCM in Morocco

The next draft of the GCM will be released on 2 July 2018. On 14 June, a briefing was given by the Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco to the UN on logistical and organizational matters of the Intergovernmental Conference to adopt Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration this December in Marrakesh. Attached is a one pager and the presentation slides of the briefing for your reference.

July Negotiations

The registration for the 6th round of the Intergovernmental Negotiations Meeting on 9-13 July has been re-opened. You may access this link: https://reg.unog.ch/event/23763/ to register. Registration is open until 22 June 2018.


The Webinar will be held on Monday, 18 June 1PM (Manila time) to discuss further the June Negotiations. You may access the webinar via this link: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/302686213

All documents referred to in the circular can be downloaded below.


MFA Secretariat

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MFA is a regional network of non-government organizations (NGOs), associations and trade unions of migrant workers, and individual advocates in Asia who are committed to protect and promote the rights and welfare of migrant workers.

It is guided by a vision of an alternative world system based on respect for human rights and dignity, social justice, and gender equity, particularly for migrant workers.

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