„We want to talk not only about the problems, but also about: what are the actions, the strategies, what are the new movements and alliances we can build“ – according to Monami Maulik from the New York Host Committee this is, in a nutshell, the agenda of the 2013 People’s Global Action on Migration, Development & Human Rights (PGA). The gathering of migrants and activists started with a spirited opening event on early Monday evening under the theme “People, Power, Comunities: Building Bridges for Migrant, Labour and Human ‘Rights”. For five days, the expected 450 participants want to challenge and contribute to the 2nd UN High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development (UN-HLD) that takes place just next door this Thursday and Friday. For Colin Rajah from the International Organizing Committee the gathering of migrants and activists has in a way come full circle this year:
„It feels like coming home in some way – but also like a big step forward“: This is because the origins of the PGA can be traced back to the first UN-HLD in 2006. What started out as a small meeting of activists has developed into a regular event and led to the formation of new alliances – among them the Global Coalition on Migration (GCM). But the effects of these efforts can not only be felt outside the discussions of the negotiations an discussions of the states – but inside as well, as Colin rajah stressed: „Back in 2006 we asked: What about the human rights? Now they have a full roundtable dedicated to this topic!“
The PGA was preceded by several regional meetings from Africa to South America; their reports were presented in the opening ceremony. Traditionally, the PGA addresses not only global issues but also the situation at the local level of the gathering. Thus, there was a welcome address by NYC Council Member and Chair of the Immigration Sub-committee Daniel Dromm; today there will be community visits to Brooklyn, the Bronx and Jackson Heights (which I am very much looking forward to).
There were also testimonials from migrant organisations like VAMOS Unidos; among them a mother who had lost her son at the Mexican-U.S. border (top picture).
Numerous workshops on issues like migrant domestic workers, border control, migration governance and refugees will be held at the PGA venue, the Church Center for the United Nations. There will also be reactions to the UN HLD deliberations and on Wednesday afternoon a rally and a march across the Brooklyn Bridge.
The Opening Ceremony, Wednesday Plenary on Criminalization, and Closing Ceremony of the 2013 PGA will be streamed live here: PGA 2013 live-cast (http://www.ustream.tv/channel/pga2013).