PGA opening in Berlin: A time to be excited or cautious? #MigrantRightsBerlin


PGA 2017 Opening 2The 2017 Peoples’ Global Action on Migration, Development and Human Rights (PGA) has started today in Berlin. More than 130 migrants grassroots and civil society representatives have gathered at the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation (FES) in order to discuss strategies and advocacy with particular focus on the negotiations of the “Global Compact on safe, orderly and regular migration”. Why another meeting after a packed week of deliberations in Berlin taking place within and around the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD)? The answer is clear:

The PGA process is very open and inclusive and I have already met many participants who had not been part of the GFMD Civil Society Days, so it serves as an outreach event to a wider group of activists. Also, as Rex Verona from the Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) put it: “We have not given up the PGA, because the discussions are sharper here and we don’t want to be restricted by the government agenda”.

The meeting started with two plenaries on

“Reflections on the current global to regional moment for migrant rights: GFMD/CSD, the Global Compact and PGA strategy moving to 2018 and beyond”

and

“Building strategy and new solidarities across movements for social, economic and global justice”

As well as a side event hosted by the Women in Migration Network.

There was also the screening of “How many more?, a moving spoken (and sung) word Poem by Lula Saleh:

https://vimeo.com/220473972

Some of the emerging themes in the discussions were alternatives to detention, red liens where civil society might decide not to accept the Global Compact, and in particular local action – how can the debates taking place on the global level, such as this PGA, be translated to the local/national level? The regional level was also highlighted, since this is where several consultations on the Global Compact will take place mostly August/September. Transregional cooperation was also brought up, since many migration corridors actually reach across regions, for example from Asia to the Gulf Countries.

Another venue for cooperation is cross-sectoral: As in previous PGAs, the peasant movement La Via Campesina was present. They highlighted the link of between the movements – one of them being that “many migrants are ruined landowners that have been destroyed by capitalist system” as well as a nexus between food security and (forced) migration.

In the “Women in #Migration side-event it was highlighted that the debate should not center on the protection of “vulnerable” women but on the protection of their rights.

After these plenaries, the program reserved significant space for Concurrent Strategy Sessions on the Global Compact on Migration, Sustainable Development and Migrant Organizing and Anti-Racism/Xenophobia.

I am currently participating in the session on the Global Compact – and one of the main questions is the one, William Gois (MFA) posed when highlighting the 10 years history of #GFMD_CSD & PGA: “Now that migration has come to the UN, should we be excited or cautious?”

PGA 2017 Opening

 

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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:
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