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1. UN Member States reach consensus on Outcome Document for 19 September HLS

Late Tuesday 2 August 2016, after weeks of intensive and at times rushed negotiations, UN Member States achieved consensus on the Outcome document that will be presented for signing by states at the UN General Assembly Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants on 19 September. 
As reported in earlier editions of this newsletter, most of the process revolved around UN Member States working on drafts prepared by their two co-facilitators, the Ambassadors of the Permanent Missions of Ireland and Jordan. Civil society representatives attended all negotiation sessions, and were formally invited to provide input on the drafts to the co-facilitators in a series of briefings before or after the negotiations. Outside of the official process, civil society actively spoke and worked with states about the drafts and perspectives. From the beginning of the negotiations, the 22 members of the self-organized international civil society Action Committee, and many other civil society organizations, prepared and delivered regular inputs to the co-facilitators and states both within and outside the process.
The final vote to adopt the Outcome followed impasses in meetings on both of the preceding two work days, where Member States were - unexpectedly - unable to reach consensus. The last impasse centred on an effort by one of the states to weaken a section of the draft Outcome that aimed to prevent detention of children in immigration contexts. In the end, thanks to a strong push from civil society - in particular strong and united group advocacy, direct and via social media, over the course of Thursday through Tuesday -, the Outcome was adopted with no further changes.
During the final meeting, Irish Ambassador Donoghue, co-facilitator for the process, thanked civil society for its steady and helpful input and “wisdom” in the process.
 
2. Content of the Outcome document: Political Declaration plus two Annexes

The Outcome document is composed of three parts:
  • a Political Declaration: sets forth a set of key principles and commitments that the states are making, including many on the protection of the human rights of all migrants, regardless of their status, under existing human rights and humanitarian treaties, and the further rights (e.g., under the 1951 Refugee Convention and other international treaties) of particular migrants, such as refugees and asylum seekers, children, victims of trafficking, torture and trauma.
  • Annex I - Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework: a guide for responding to situations that involve large movements and arrival of refugees, with protection of refugees and support and cooperation from and among States, agencies, civil society and the communities involved. In the final section of the Framework, states commit to work towards the adoption of a Global Compact on Refugees at the UN General Assembly in 2018.
  • Annex II - Towards a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration: the announcement of the launch of a two-year process to devise a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, also for adoption by the UN General Assembly in 2018. In this Annex, States list some of the elements that could be included in the Compact.
Notably, both annexes and many of these commitments correspond to proposals that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made in May, 2016 in his background report for the Summit, entitled In Safety and Dignity. Among the key features emerging from the Outcome document:
  • commitments to save lives of refugees and migrants on the move, and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants, regardless of their migratory status
  • a pledge to consider developing, in a state-led but multi-stakeholder process, non-binding guiding principles and voluntary guidelines on the treatment of migrants in vulnerable situations, who do not qualify for international protection as refugees and who may need assistance (see Declaration, 3.12)
  • a commitment to achieving a Global Compact on Refugees in 2018 (see Annex I, 19)
  • a commitment to launching a new intergovernmental process to create and then adopt a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in 2018
  • a welcome and commitment to implement the UN’s current global campaign against xenophobia (see Declaration, 1.14)
  • a commitment “to strengthening global governance of migration. We therefore warmly support and welcome the agreement to bring the International Organization for Migration, an organization regarded by its Member States as the global lead agency on migration, into a closer legal and working relationship with the United Nations as a related organization. We look forward to the implementation of this agreement which will assist and protect migrants more comprehensively, help States to address migration issues and promote better coherence between migration and related policy domains.” (see Declaration, 3.9)
 
3. Civil society reactions to the overall Outcome document

In the aftermath of the release of the Outcome document, a number of civil society organizations, academics, UN experts, and the media expressed their impressions of the result. [See section 8 below for a list of such statements and reports.]
Reactions ranged from calling the Outcome - or parts of it - an abject failure or a minor miracleKaren AbuZayd, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the Summit, IOM and UNHCR adopted an optimistic attitude, pointing out that 193 Member States had managed to reach consensus on a document reaffirming the 1951 Refugee Convention, the institution of asylum, the principle of non-refoulement, and the need for both better protection of people on the move and stronger global governance of migration. According to Volker Türk, UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, this is a remarkable achievement considering that “a number of politicians have in the past questioned these important legal principles”.
While everyone seemed to recognize that it is an important step forward that states have reached consensus in the UN General Assembly on a global response to migration and refugee challenges, some states and many NGOs have complained that the Outcome document is generally weak, lacks appropriate urgency and is not concrete enough, i.e., with insufficient detail, timelines and binding force. As further described below, NGOs have also expressed grave concern about signs of back-sliding on existing rights, standards or commitments in certain sections of the Outcome document.
 
4. Civil society reactions to specific parts of the Outcome document

Several civil society organizations are strongly criticizing specific paragraphs of the Outcome document. Some of the most debated elements concern in particular:
  • a lack of political will by the states to act immediately and with urgency: even though it was intended to provide global solutions to current emergencies, the Outcome document delays much of the response until 2018
  • there is little real commitment to responsibility-sharing on refugee issues
  • contrary to rulings by multiple UN human rights treaty bodies and authorities, the Outcome document suggests that children may be held in detention on account of their, or their parents’, immigration status
  • a number of references in the Outcome document to repatriation and return lack iron-clad respect for international law prohibitions against refoulement
  • there is no meaning attention to internally displaced persons
[See section 8 below for a list of such statements and reports.]
 
5. Baselines for wide civil society assessment of the Outcome document

In order to analyze the specific strengths and shortcomings of the Outcome document, many civil society organizations have returned to the principal documents (see below) that many civil society groups used as baselines for advocacy during government negotiations over the last months. For example, members of the self-organized civil society Action Committee are considering the possibility of completing and, by the end of the month, widely distributing a “scorecard” with their assessment of how good or not they think sections of the Outcome document are compared to key elements of these two baseline documents:
  • A New Deal for refugees, migrants and societies (24 June 2016)
    With 90 signatories as of 15 August, the civil society starting points outlined in the New Deal for refugees, migrants and societies were developed to provide a common and constant reference that could be used either as, or with, an organization’s own advocacy directly with governments, not only in the lead up to but also beyond the Summit 19 September.
    See the full list of signatories so far here, or sign up to be included as a signatory here.
     
  • Test for success: World leaders must Step up efforts to conclude Robust & Principled Deal for Refugees and Migrants (28 July 2016)
    In a joint statement that the civil society Action Committee urgently issued in the final days of the negotiations, twenty-four leading civil society organizations expressed concerns about how the Outcome was turning out. The statement urged governments to step up, to cooperate concretely on responsibility-sharing solutions and agree on an outcome document “delivering vital changes” for the lives of millions of displaced people.
    The signatory NGOs identified five goals - five “tests for success” of the Outcome document - that needed to be achieved in order to consider the final outcome a success rather than a “repetition - or diminishment - of existing commitments”.
 
6. Next steps of civil society action to take and test the Outcome document going forward

With the negotiations completed and consensus achieved on the Outcome document, civil society is looking to the Summit 19 September and beyond to propel concrete follow-up, implementation responding to clear timelines, meaningful involvement of civil society - especially refugees, migrants and diaspora - in all related processes, and accountability of governments.

Moreover, heading immediately into two two-year processes leading up to the adoption of the Global Compacts on refugees and on safe, orderly and regular migration, civil society will need to devise strategies and capacities to be involved and effective in both. The same is true for other aspects of the Outcome document, such as development of the principles and guidelines on protection of non-refugee migrants and the expanding global campaign against xenophobia.

Fora, such as the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), will offer additional opportunities for civil society organizations and governments to take these issues forward. For example, the next GFMD will be held on 8-12 December 2016 in Bangladesh, followed by the 2017 GFMD in Germany expected in June 2017.
 
7. Update and Civil society participation in the Summit 19 September

Current reports indicate that some 150 heads of state or heads of government will be participating in the Summit in person.
As described in earlier newsletters, under the “modalities resolution” that the UN Member States adopted in June for the Summit, civil society representatives are permitted to participate directly in the Summit provided that they registered with the UN specifically for the Summit in advance, and subsequently their right to participate has been confirmed by the UN. Upon registration, most NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC were expected to be confirmed without any problem; but non-ECOSOC accredited civil society organizations were required to be submitted to UN Member States for “non-objection” to their participation, after which they would be notified of their right to participate.
The programme of the Summit is:
  • an Opening plenary from 8:30- 9:30 am, with 13 speakers speaking 3 minutes each
  • Plenary sessions in two rooms through the rest of the day, from 9:30am- 7:30pm. Speakers are given 4 minutes to speak in these plenary sessions.
  • the first 3 roundtables between 10am- 1pm and the second 3 roundtables between 3-6 pm. Speakers are given 5 minutes maximum to speak in these roundtables
  • a Closing plenary from 7:30- 8 pm. 
According to both the June modalities resolution and the Information Note dated 8 August 2016, which describes in detail the “arrangements” for the Summit, members of civil society have basically two opportunities to speak inside the official meeting of the Summit 19 September: 4 speakers during the Opening plenary and 2 each (of which one private sector) in the six roundtables, where “at least two seats” are reserved for non-governmental actors.
The roundtable themes are:
  1. Addressing the root causes of large movements of refugees
  2. Addressing drivers of migration, particularly large movements, and highlighting the positive contributions of migrants
  3. International action and cooperation on refugees and migrants and issues related to displacement: the way ahead
  4. Global compact for responsibility-sharing for refugees; respect for international law
  5. Global compact for safe, regular and orderly migration: towards realizing the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and achieving full respect for the human rights of migrants
  6. Addressing vulnerabilities of refugees and migrants on their journeys from their countries of origin to their countries of arrival.
Working with the civil society Steering Committee that it convened, the United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) recently concluded the process to create a short-list of candidates for the speaking roles available to civil society. The members of the Steering Committee were called to vote their favourite speaker (from among 359 candidates who had expressed their interest) for each of the six roundtables, plus three speakers - one migrant, one refugee, and one civil society representative - for the Opening plenary. After two rounds of voting, the list of 42 final candidates for speaking roles in the Summit has been sent to the OPGA, with their final decision to be announced shortly.
Another 1 + 6 speakers from the private sector (for the Opening and roundtables, respectively) are to be identified in a process separately organized by the UN.
 
8. Other Summit-related events 20 September
  • Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, in margins of UNGA: reportedly states-centred, by invitation only
    From the UN website (immediately below): US President Barack Obama is hosting a Leaders’ Summit on the Global Refugee Crisis to galvanize significant new global commitments to:
    1) increase funding to humanitarian appeals and international organizations,
    2) admit more refugees through resettlement or other legal pathways, and
    3) increase refugees’ self-reliance and inclusion through opportunities for education and legal work. 
    For information:
    http://www.state.gov/p/io/c71574.htm
    https://refugeesmigrants.un.org/summit
     
  • Private Sector Forum on Migration and Refugees, Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York: by invitation only
    From the website immediately below, Concordia, which is Columbia University’s Global Policy Initiative, together with IOM and UNHCR and with support from the Open Society Foundations and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, is hosting a series of high-level discussions, culminating in a plenary session, on the private sector’s role and responsibility in addressing global migration challenges and the current refugee crisis. 200 cross-sector leaders participate in this forum, which will issue a Call to Action to a broader 1,000+ participants in the full Concordia Summit, on the need to combine efforts and partner across sectors to provide tangible solutions for forced migration.
    For information: https://www.concordia.net/the-summit-2016/the-private-sector-forum-on-migration-and-refugees/
 
9. Updates and Resources

Recent statements of Civil Society: a sampling    United Nations and Member States  In the news: snapshots
 
10. Dates and deadlines

September
18 various civil society self-organized preparatory events – to be confirmed (check also website www.refugees-migrants-civilsociety.org  for further information as available)
19 High Level Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants, UNGA New York
19 United Nations Private Sector Forum 2016
20 Leaders’ Summit on the Global Refugee Crisis (Obama Summit)—by invitation only
20 Concordia Summit: Private Sector Forum on Migration and Refugees, Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York – by invitation only
 
December
8-12 Civil society days, Common Space and Government days of Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) in Bangladesh
 
With solidarity and shared ambition,

Ms. Wies MAAS in New York (maas@icmc.net) and
Ms. Emer GROARKE in Brussels (groarke@icmc.net)
Ms. Melissa PITOTTI in Geneva
Ms. Eva SANDIS in New York
The HLS Civil Society Action Committee is convened by:  
ICMC MADE Network
International Council of Voluntary Agencies
NGO Committee on Migration (New York)
 
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The MADE Programme is co-funded by the European Commission (EC). The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of the Implementing Organisation and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the EC.
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MADE is co-funded by the European Union. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this newsletter lies entirely with the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC), as the global coordinator of the MADE programme. If you no longer wish to receive Global Migration and Development newsletters and updates, please use the unsubscribe button included below. Should you wish to contact us about this mailing, or would like to submit any articles, events or updates please send us an e-mail at info@madenetwork.org


 
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IInternational Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC)
Rue Washington 40
Brussels 1050
Belgium

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