The Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO)’ Human Rights and Refugees Programme bought its commitment to migration justice to the United Nations Network on Migration (UNNM) 5th Annual Meeting in January in Geneva. QUNO engages with these processes to meet with people working on different aspects of migration, strengthen collaboration and promote migration justice.
The UNNM was established to support UN Member States to implement the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration adopted in 2018. Discussion included how to change the migration narrative, how responses to disaster displacement can be enhanced, and how to foster meaningful participation and representation of migrants. The opening address from Hein de Haas from the International Migration Institute spoke of a “crisis of political will”. QUNO’s Human Rights and Refugees Representative, Laurel Townhead, moderated a discussion on priorities for future action on human rights quoting Daniel Trilling (author of Lights in the Distance):
People develop attachments to places, they move, they develop attachments to new places, and to new people. If you think people have a right to do that, then the question is how to support it. If you don’t, then you need to ask yourself: what level of violence are you prepared to tolerate to keep people in their place?
She concluded her closing remarks calling for: collaboration, coherence, convening and courage. Maria Kemenias, Human Rights and Refugees Programme Assistant called for meaningful migrant participation in a panel on the future of migration, including a well-received recommendation for a GCM Talk on models for meaningful migrant participation. While acknowledging progress and opportunities ahead, discussions repeatedly acknowledged the lack of political will as a significant challenge. This must be addressed in order to honor the inherent dignity of all people.
QUNO co-organised a side-event during the meeting to launch Friedrich Ebert Stiftung’s report “Towards More Ambitious Goals: Reflections on the First International Migration Review Forum”, which was co-authored by QUNO’s Human Rights and Refugees Representative. This side event enabled a conversation amongst different actors reflecting on the inaugural International Migration Review Forum (IMRF), sharing recommendations for the upcoming Regional Reviews and future IMRFs, and considering how to enhance motivation for the IMRF to deliver for migrants.
QUNO’s engagement is part of an ongoing work on migration justice, including a commitment to ensure that the lived experiences and expertise of migrants are consistently at the forefront of efforts towards just and inclusive migration governance.