Amel reflects on implications of PGA and GFMD in light of Global Compact

Amel reflects on the implications of the PGA and GFMD in the Light of the Global Compact

Zeina Mohanna, Program Coordinator, Amel Association International

In December 2016, the Amel team represented by Zeina Mohanna and Madeleine Maxwell Hart attended the Ninth GFMD in Dhaka, Bangladesh, as well as participating to the PGA dialogue sessions in the run-up to the GFMD.

Within the framework of Time for Action: Doing rights-based governance of migration in our communities and across borders, civil society organisations gathered to discuss a number of pressing issues related to the protection of refugees’ and migrants’ rights in a global context. With breakout sessions related to climate change, mixed migration, and labour migration and recruitment reform among others, participants were invited to form concise recommendations for the GFMD dialogue. 

Prior to the events in Dhaka, Amel was honoured to participate in the IOM CSO Regional Consultations in Geneva, to discuss the initial conclusions from the UN high-level summit Post-September Conference that is shaping the Global compact calling for  Regular, Orderly and Safe Migration and that lead to the New York declaration  for migrants and refugees. Zeina Mohanna was the official representative from the MENA region. Given Amel’s grassroots work in refugee response, as well as in migration and development through the Migrant Domestic Worker (MDW) program, Amel was able to provide rounded insight into the situation on the ground.

Following from this, Amel was privileged to be one of the few representatives from the MENA region at the PGA and GFMD civil society days, offering insight into the context-specific challenges faced by migrants, notably labour migrants, in Lebanon. With different actors from countries of origin and host countries, experiences and best practices were exchanged, with the enhanced rights of migrants always at the forefront of discussions. 

Given its relevance to the Lebanese context, during the PGA, Amel attended breakout sessions on mixed migration as well as labour migration and recruitment reform. The latter is particularly relevant for Amel’s SDC funded migrant domestic worker project, in which Amel’s migration team is currently focusing on a number of priorities to enhance the wellbeing of female migrant workers in Lebanon, particularly in relation to the recruitment process. Amel is currently looking at the whole process of recruitment, from countries of origin to the recruitment agencies acting in Lebanon. There have been various reactions from the Lebanese government in recent months to close unethical recruitment agencies in Lebanon, but Amel believes there is much more to be done. 

In order gain a more comprehensive understanding of the recruitment process experienced by migrants travelling to Lebanon, Amel took the opportunity of being in Bangladesh to meet with a number of important stakeholders, including grassroots organisations tackling unsafe recruitment practices as well as members of BAIRA (Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies). Such interactions will help the Amel team to develop relevant, collaborative interventions that promote safe recruitment and migration. 

A number of conclusions from the civil society days in Bangladesh were deemed particularly relevant to the work of Amel in our Migrant Domestic Worker (MDW) program, namely employing an approach that is people-centred, needs-based and rights-based. Amel currently uses this approach across all of its work, ensuring that those people receiving services from Amel receive quality services that are suited to their needs, always with the aim of promoting their human rights and their individual dignity. Within the MDW program, there is continuous input and feedback from beneficiaries, which ensures that the activities and services offered are relevant to their needs. For example, in the last semester of empowerment activities, sports and relaxation classes were introduced after a number of beneficiaries noted that this would be good for stress-release. Furthermore, following from a number of discussions between Amel’s team and organisations in Bangladesh and in Sri Lanka, the team is now in discussion with these actors to develop a continuation of financial literacy courses in Lebanon, that are currently initiated pre-departure in the countries of origin. 

Amel also supports the GFMD civil society’s calls to ensure a multi-stakeholder approach to the response to migration. Amel currently engages in dialogue with all stakeholders in Lebanon, in a constructive manner, in order to work for the enhanced rights of migrants. For example, Amel conducts awareness sessions for employers and for future generations through schools, in which they discuss the rights and duties of both employers and employees and emphasise the importance of recognising and respecting the rights included in the Convention C189 on domestic workers. Furthermore, Amel ensures constructive interactions with governmental bodies, particularly within the framework of providing legal services to MDWs. Amel believes that involving all actors leads to a balanced and comprehensive response and promotes positive attitude change. 

Amel firmly promotes the need for binding commitments within the Global Compact and, through ongoing dialogue with partners, colleagues and friends from the PGA and GFMD and within other migration networks, will continue to promote this in order to promote and protect the rights of all migrants, regardless of legal status. 

Within its efforts in the use of SDC funds for the protection of Migrant Domestic Workers rights, Amel Association was able to meet with the SDC teams in South East-Asia and expert leading on policy making from the headquarters. This networking strengthens the bond of support of migration issues from countries of origin to countries of destination.

Amel took the opportunity of being in Bangladesh to meet NGOs and stakeholders supporting and related to migration to collaborate for future interventions. This including a visit to a rural area, attending a pre-departure training of women coming to the Middle East, and other stakeholders.