Too much harmony? GFMD Civil Society Days – observations so far


Are we all on the same page here? Actually, it seems as if most of us are – which is an unusual feeling when attending the civil society days. In the last two meetings I attended, there were definitely divisions or differing views; mostly between the organizers and the participants regarding the agenda, participation and especially the relevance given to the issue of human rights.

 Here in Mexico, the first lady of the state even attended a Roundtable yesterday (topic:

Effects of International Migration on those left behind). Just while posting this, she has  returned with her husband for another ceremony. The UN High Commissioner of Human Rights interpreted this as a sign that Felipe Calderón “cares about the human rights of all migrants”.

So, there are definitely signs of recognition of the civil society component (and also for the first time of the PGA taking part last week). Here are some thoughts on the matter:

– A UN representative participating for the first time wondered, why the migrant groups had no strategy meeting each morning where they plan how to influence the agenda in the roundtables. Thinking about this, I came to the conclusion that it is not really necessary, since members of Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) and other organisations are very much involved in the roundtables as moderators, rapporteurs etc.

– Are we only talking to ourselves here? The positive reading would be that the attempt of mainstreaming human rights in the CSD agenda has been succesful. But as a result, the roundtables are somewhat preaching to the already converted.. I was also surprised, how tame the Roundtable on Gender Sensitive Migration Policies (held for the first time) turned out. Many valid points were raised, but I would have expected some more passionate/radical statements.

–  Where are the migrants? This is mostly based on anecdotal observation, but it feels like the number of “real”  migrants present has further declined.

– The Roundtables I found most interesting where the ones on the connection between the GFMD and the PGA and the Asia and Gulf Regional meeting – probably because they were at least a bit controversial. In the latter, a government representative from the Gulf was also present and there was some debate on the sponsorship system.

– Because all of this, a recommendation from Rex Verona, AMC Hong Kong,might be worth considering: Merge the PGA and the “internal” discussions of the CSD, and make the “official” part mostly one of discussion with the government representatives  – preferrably a full day ore more.

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About Stefan Rother

Lecturer and Researcher at the Department of Political Science, University of Freiburg -- Freelance journalist -- You can find my CV at the links below:
This entry was posted in Gfmd, GFMD Civil Society Days, Migration. Bookmark the permalink.

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