Migrants networks and civil society organizations in all regions of the world have responded to the various national and global political developments that impact the daily lives of migrant and refugee communities. Global civil society has organized and mobilized to intervene actively to reclaim the agenda of migration, development and human rights, taking the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR 1945), the UN Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and Their Families (MWC 1990) and the UN Declaration on the Right to Development (1986) as starting points. These have been manifestations of our rights and responsibilities, as well as the development of global migrant and other civil society movements.
It is in this regard that we welcomed the UN initiative to organize the first High Level Dialogue on Migration & Development (HLD) in 2006, but disparaged its shift away from the human rights of migrants, and the stark marginalization of leadership and voices of migrant communities from its official processes. In response, the members of Migrants Rights International (MRI) and its other civil society partners initiated an independent parallel civil society forum during the 2006 HLD (which included the critical nexus of migrants rights, and prioritized migrant leadership and voices), and every year subsequently in conjunction with the annual Global Forum on Migration & Development (GFMD) and the 2013 HLD. These parallel forums have taken place as follows:
Initially called the Community Dialogue on Migration, Development & Human Rights, it was later renamed in 2008 with its now-permanent name of the People’s Global Action on Migration, Development & Human Rights (PGA).
Today, the PGA brings together migrant associations, migrant rights organizations, trade unions, faith groups, academia and other civil society from around the world to share information, dialogue, strengthen analyses and develop joint actions and campaigns on current and emerging issues related to migration.
It provides an essential space to enable civil society to critically engage the governments’ GFMD process and to challenge states to undertake migration and development policy-making from a human rights framework, as well as hold governments accountable to their international human rights and development commitments. The PGA also paves the way for capacity building and the development of movements and networks.
The PGA continues to highly prioritize the voices and leadership of organized grassroots migrant and diaspora networks and communities, which are typically marginalized in international forums. The PGA discussions are centered on human rights as the basis for development and explores from a rights-based perspective, the full range of issues involved in migration, including the underlying problems of poverty and injustice, and how civil society and governments must address these.
Since its origins, the PGA has engaged thousands of participants through its ongoing regional and sectoral processes, workshops, self-organized caucuses, public actions and numerous other events. It has facilitated the launching of a global coalition, the Global Coalition on Migration (GCM), regional networks such as the Pan African Network in Defense of Migrants Rights (PANiDMR) and Women in Migration Network (WIMN, formerly Women and Global Migration Working Group), as well as dozens of other ongoing working groups and processes.
Today, the PGA is jointly organized by a broad coalition of international and local migrant groups, trade unions, human rights organizations, faith-based/religious groups, and other NGOs and networks. The organizing structure typically includes an International Committee (IC) working alongside a Local Organizing Committee (LOC), and other related bodies.
This coming year, it will be held on 3rd till 4th of July, at the FES Headquarters in Berlin, Germany, just after the 2017 GFMD and Civil Society Days.