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Social Platform Asks That Migrants Have Human Rights Respected

by Natasha Pitts -

Plataforma Social Migratoria Hermes asks that migrants be guaranteed security, equal opportunities, participation, and well-being.

The 4th World Social Forum on Migration is approaching. The event, to be held from October 8 to 10 in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, motivated Plataforma Social Migratoria Hermes to publish its thinking and to place demands reflecting the need to treat the migrant population from Colombia and also from other countries as citizens with rights, no matter what region they are from.

Without migration, social, economic, and political tensions would be greater

Currently, more than eight million Colombians are outside of their home country. This figure, which is equal to about 17% of the country’s total population, is constituted in its majority by women, who represent 52% of migration cases. Half of this migrant population decided to leave their country and seek better living and working conditions in other nations. The other four million had no choice but to leave, as they were victims of forced displacement, motivated in many cases by situations of violence.

Colombia today is host to about 200 thousand persons from other countries, who, like Colombian migrants, are also fighting to have their rights recognized. Plataforma Social Migratoria Hermes reports that these foreigners are living in extremely vulnerable conditions, mainly because the state has not done its share to guarantee security, equal opportunities, participation, and well-being to all its citizens.

“Transnational migrant labor," stresses Plataforma, "contributes to reducing the social pressures in its country of origin where unemployment rates and the informal economy are rampant, as well as precarious working conditions, the low quality of health care, and scarce opportunities of civic participation; in these conditions, international migration becomes functional for the Colombian state, given its inability to solve its own social tensions. If the migration alternative did not exist for a good part of the population, social, economic, and political tensions in the country would most probably be greater."

The experience of civil society should be taken into account when designing public policy

It was in this context that social, religious, academic, and union organizations, and concerned social actors joined, in 2008, to constitute Plataforma Social Migratoria HERMES. One of the first initiatives of the organization was to formulate and submit to Congress the National Migrations system, a mechanism intended to guarantee that Colombia’s migrant population have effective rights, including women’s, girls’, children’s and adolescents’ rights.

Beyond launching this mechanism, there is also the concern that all benefits suggested for the population in a migration situation should be inclusive and developed jointly with the main stakeholders. The Platforma states that “public policy acquires its legitimacy and the capacity to change the living conditions of migrant citizens for the better only when it promotes and is based on social participation.”

Among the Plataforma’s foremost demands for migrants is recognition of the experience of civil-society actors and use of their knowledge when designing and evaluating public policy to favor migrants and their families.

URL : www.alliance21.org/2003/article3475.html
PUBLICATION DATE: 30 September 2010