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Extraordinary meeting of the SI Committee on Migrations

01 June 2015

Latifa Perry


An extraordinary meeting of the SI Migrations Committee was held in Rabat on Monday 1st June, to focus on a social democratic response to the migrations crisis unfolding in different parts of the world. The meeting took place at the Moroccan Parliament, hosted by the Socialist Union of Popular Forces, the USFP.

The Committee, chaired by Habib el Malki (USFP), focused on three key themes: a. Asylum seekers and migrants fleeing conflict and violence: the obligation of the international community to save and protect; b. The moral and humanitarian responsibility to address the plight of migrants escaping poverty and hunger; and c. Building a response to the current crisis based on our values and principles.

Driss Lachguar, First Secretary of the USFP, addressed the opening session. He highlighted the need for a roadmap to develop a comprehensive new approach to today’s migrations phenomenon which is not only due to economic factors but also a consequence of the ideology inherited from the cold war, fuelling instability and insecurity, and the correlation with arms merchants and those who finance terrorism. He emphasised the diversity of Morocco with its Moorish and Jewish heritage from immigration in the 16th century and regretted the lack of a medium or long term strategy by today’s government in Morocco to effectively deal with this problem.

The meeting also heard a contribution from Driss El Yazami, from the National Council of Human Rights in Morocco who outlined the mutations in migrations over recent decades. He emphasised the current diverse nature of migrants, including those with university degrees and today’s high number of women and children, and pointed out that today all countries in the world are affected and all are countries of departure. He also highlighted that the use of migration as a tool for political campaigns should be a subject of debate, as well as the key issue of international governance and the rise of xenophobia.

The SI Secretary General, in concluding the opening session, recalled the point that human history has shown that migration is a source of wealth both economically and culturally and in today’s crisis too many people are being denied fundamental rights and too many states are not respecting them. The level of injustice today is immense, bearing in mind the millions displaced by wars, conflicts, persecution, famine and economic hardship. He particularly underlined the need, in facing this crisis, to act in accordance with the values that unite our movement and constitute our identity, and to work for political and human solutions rather than to rely on the use of force.

Outlining the tasks ahead, the Committee chair emphasised the urgent need to come up with a plan of action; to agree on a diagnosis of the situation in different parts of the world to identify the true causes of the circumstances in order to deal with the origins rather than the consequences; to treat the migrations phenomenon as a symptom of the chaos and institutional destruction we see in many states; to seek solutions other than military ones which are repressive; and to take a fresh look at the concept of security, placing people at the center.

As a specially invited guest, Tun Khin, a Rohingya activist recognised internationally, made a presentation on the history and plight of the Rohingya people, an ethnic group in Burma who are denied nationality. Of a population of 3.5 million, more than1.5 million have been forced to flee their homeland in Burma due to persecution and violence against them. Presently, 8,000 Rohingya people are stranded on boats at sea, being turned away from neighbouring countries. He stressed the importance of addressing the root cause of this displacement of his people.

During the discussions, it was recalled that although the focus was currently on the plight of migrants at sea, migration was also a matter of crossing the desert where many people in Africa died. While emphasising the benefits of migration, it was pointed out that migration itself was not the problem, it was illegal migration that needed to be addressed. There was also a perceived need to bridge a link between migration and development and to adopt programmes for the transfer of technology to stimulate development where needed. Globalisation and the IT revolution had been expected to bring progress, but in some cases it had brought terror, wars, tanks and more deaths. Greater political efforts were required by the international community to work towards liberating oppressed peoples. With regard to Europe, the need to share the burden was emphasised as well as the need to urgently act to save lives.

Formulating an approach that is gender based was underlined, bearing in mind the high number of female migrants and their particular vulnerability to abuse.

At the conclusion of its discussions, the Committee adopted a Declaration and agreed to continue advancing with the Charter of the Rights of Migrants, whose elaboration had begun at previous meetings, with a view to presenting it for adoption at the next Council of the Socialist International due to take place at the United Nations headquarters in New York on 6-7 July. The objective of the Charter is to provide a code of conduct for political action by member parties.


Original: Spanish
  1. Migration is a global phenomenon that affects all countries on all continents.
  2. Migrants are first and foremost human beings and, as such, they have rights.
  3. Crisis situations and acute conflicts in various regions of the world are producing a tragic and irreversible loss of innocent lives among victims of situations that are not of their making. Given the increasing number of tragedies of this kind, the Migration Committee has decided to convene urgently to discuss the situation and call for immediate action.
  4. The Socialist International hopes to find comprehensive, lasting and fair solutions that might resolve the root causes of forced migration.
  5. However, the Socialist International is aware of the urgent moral imperative to act to stop the human bloodshed that undermines the basic foundations of social order.
  6. The Socialist International Migrations Committee urges all its member parties to stand true to their principles and to act decisively in circumstances in which neutrality or indifference are not an option.
  7. We must reject solutions to humanitarian crises that are founded on a logic of force or based exclusively on maintaining security. We also reject the criminalisation of migrants. In their precarious situation, they cannot, under any circumstances, be considered guilty of their situation.
  8. We socialists must be guided by the principles and values that we share as socialists: respect for the dignity of all people, equal rights and opportunities and the pursuit of justice in all actions: there is no greater or more urgent political aim than that of safeguarding these principles.
  9. We urge socialist Governments and Party representatives at all levels immediately to put forward effective initiatives committing themselves to act with all their strength and resources to stem the loss of human lives resulting from illegal migration.
  10. Agreement and commitment must be sought between the various States, both in regional institutions and in the context of the United Nations, but the responsibility of individual States cannot wait or be dependent on the existence of these supranational agreements or undertakings.
  11. States not only have an obligation to comply with international law, under the treaties and conventions to which they are party, but also the unavoidable moral duty to act without delay to save human lives who depend on actions and decisions that are within their reach.
  12. The Socialist International wants to highlight the case of victims of the situations covered by the 1951 Convention and to urge all signatory countries to comply with it scrupulously. 
  13. The case of the Rohingya people in Burma requires the international community as a whole, and the neighbouring countries in particular, to take responsibility for protecting these people, persecuted as they are in their place of origin, while lacking any international protection to stop the oppression to which they are subjected or even the slightest degree of solidarity that might provide them with a safe haven. The Socialist International urges the Burmese authorities to cease all forms of persecution of the Rohingya people, to recognise their nationality and the human rights to which they are entitled.
  14. The people of Sub-Saharan countries are being affected by armed conflicts, as well as social and gender conflicts and extreme poverty. Emigration is the only escape for many of these people. While the media spotlight is focused on Mediterranean crossings, the new geopolitical map of migration flows shows that the majority of these migrants travel to other African countries. The Socialist International urges socialist parties in the region to strengthen their immigrant protection policies to guarantee their safety and respect for their rights.
  15. Countries such as Morocco are an example of a transit country which has become a destination country for many, the authorities of which have sought to establish a policy of acceptance and integration.
  16. On numerous occasions, immigrants whose final destination is Europe are subject to abuse by people trafficking networks, whose greed and ruthlessness lead them into situations where their lives are put at risk. The Socialist International urgently calls upon all policy makers to fight these criminal organisations, but also to use all means to prevent the loss of any more lives. It is also a priority to address the different causes, prospects and solutions in an honest dialogue involving European and African political leaders, in order to find global, fair and lasting solutions to the crises that are causing forced migration.
  17. In addition to the actions taken directly by States, organisations like the UNHCR, which devote their efforts to caring for millions of refugees and victims of conflicts, urgently need more financial resources to meet their growing needs. Therefore, we call upon all States to contribute jointly to meeting these unavoidable costs.
  18. At its next meeting, which will take place at the United Nations headquarters in New York on 6th and 7th July, the Socialist International will discuss the adoption of international undertakings of a global nature, which will include the adoption of a Charter of the Rights of Migrants, which will become a mandatory code of conduct for political action by its member parties.






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