Adoption of the Global Compact for Migration is a historic moment

Published: 10th December 2018

Oxfam welcomes today’s adoption of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) as an historic moment. Governments have finally recognized in a formal way that migrants too have fundamental human rights that countries must observe in all their policies and practices. This is a significant achievement.


For the first time, countries have collectively acknowledged that millions of people are having to leave their homes and countries because of climate change, environmental degradation and disasters and that they all have the right to life-saving assistance and access to safe pathways.


The Compact is important for laying out all the protections and guidelines for how migrants should be treated. Although not legally binding, countries’ policies and practices should be consistent with this new agreement.


Pefi Kingi, an indigenous activist and Pacific Regional GCM Focal Point said:


“For years, our Pacific communities have advocated for leaders to take more action to help prevent and adapt to climate change and disasters, including allowing people to migrate safely if they need to. The Pacific Islands continue to face existential threats to our ancestral homes, languages, and cultures. This compact now reinforces our indigenous rights to aspire for the best for our children and our children’s children.”


The compact represents a significant shift in how global leaders talk about migrants. It also recognizes that migrant women's rights and leadership should be represented in all aspects of migration policy. 


Sarnata Reynolds, Oxfam's lead on global displacement and migration said:


“A lot about this compact is very positive. At its heart is the fact that countries’ migration policies must conform to human rights standards. We are glad that the voices and needs of women and indigenous communities have been included – they must remain central now, as countries shape their migration policies into the future.


“However, the true measure of the compact will occur over the next several years. Will governments cooperate? Will they develop new policies based on their commitments to migrants around work, education, public services and humanitarian? Or will they pursue policies instead that block migrants and blame them for unrelated domestic challenges?


“This compact offers the world a standard by which to judge governments’ future actions in treating migrants as citizens’ who have the same human rights as everyone else. Civil society is watching and will hold them to account”.


Contact information

For interviews please contact Sarnata Reynolds, Policy Advisor, Global Displacement & Migration at | mobile +01 202 322 3215 | Skype  sarnata.reynolds25

Florian Oel | Brussels | | office +32 2 234 11 15 | mobile +32 473 56 22 60

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