5 key aspects of migration management that must be addressed through international cooperation

5 key aspects of migration management that must be addressed through international cooperation

According to the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations (DESA), the world population currently has four trends that have direct implications for sustainable development: population growth, population aging, urbanism, and international migration. While the first three trends are matters of local or national management, comprehensive migration management requires cooperation between countries of origin, transit, and destination.

A key area for the consolidation of regional initiatives on migration is the Central American Integration System (SICA). The SICA Secretariat has been successful in multiple projects for the axes and guidelines that direct its work from a human rights perspective (as opposed to those who see migration only as a security issue), and involving the migrant as a subject of development (rather than simply victims or beneficiaries). SICA also seeks the mainstreaming of migration in other issues necessary for the development of communities, such as health, education and the economy.

Towards the end of 2018, SICA’s General Secretariat and the IOM signed a cooperation agreement to establish the general guidelines for the design and execution of a regional study on the causes and consequences of migration; The same document will also provide key elements and recommendations for the Action Plan for comprehensive attention to migration in the region, known as PAIM-CA (Plan for Integral Attention to Migration in Central America). The study was conducted under the 12 general guidelines approved SICA’s Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs in June 2018.

Of the 12 guidelines approved by SICA, we highlight five that must be addressed from a multilateral cooperation viewpoint so that work to improve migrant conditions is effective:

Comprehensive migration governance: This aspect has a strong practical character, since it goes through the standardization of procedures and migration processes, and the strengthening of border management. In addition, the implementation of strategies to exchange information for the regional generation of data that allow an international treatment of the migratory phenomenon is encouraged.

Why is this aspect comprehensive? Because it also includes a social component, including the strengthening of neighborhood relations in cross-border communities, and committing to respect human rights when there are cases of deportation or detention.

Labor migration: Through the implementation of regional and bilateral agreements it is possible to promote circular and orderly labor migration flows. International cooperation in this area also favors the creation of mechanisms that strengthen the protection of labor rights for migrants.

Social integration: The actions between States allow greater integration of migrants and their families in the countries of destination, as well as returnees. Promoting actions at a regional level that recognize the positive contributions of migrants helps reduce prejudice and xenophobic actions towards these groups of people. Finally, promoting regular migration as a viable and accessible option and discouraging irregular migration facilitates social integration in work, health and other spheres.

Trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling: It is essential to combat these crimes in coordination with the relevant regional bodies, but it is also necessary to strengthen the information and statistics system for a deeper understanding of how migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons work, their areas of action and main victims, among other characteristics. SICA also aims to promote the consolidation of the Regional Coalition’s work against these crimes.

Comprehensive management of migratory crises: Regardless of the migratory status of a person, it is necessary to provide humanitarian assistance when someone needs it. This includes food, water, sanitation, shelter, health and safety care, and psychosocial support. The strengthening of mechanisms that allow the temporary or permanent protection of migrants, especially the most vulnerable, is a job that requires international cooperation to be effective. In practical terms this means the issuance of humanitarian migratory permits. In addition to this, it is necessary that States have contingency plans for the attention of migratory crises, strengthen the relevant institutions (including consulates), and develop national and regional information systems: inter-institutional coordination is key for diligence in tackling migratory crises.

Since the inclusion of migration in the 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda, it becomes more evident that demographic changes and crises make migration a global issue, and as such it must be addressed transversally (through social and economic perspectives) and internationally (with interstate and intraregional work). In the words of Irune Aguirrezabal of IOM’s regional office in Brussels: "Migration is inevitable in view of the driving forces in an interconnected world; necessary, if skills are to be available, jobs to be filled and economies to flourish; and desirable for the contributions that migrants make both to countries of origin and destination." International cooperation is what makes it possible for this to happen in a safe, orderly and dignified manner.


Interviewing Rubén Sánchez, Director of 'Zanmi'

Interviewing Rubén Sánchez, Director of 'Zanmi'
Categoria: Communication & Migration
Autor: Laura Manzi

‘Zamni' (2018) is one of the films that participated in the 2020 edition of the Global Migration Film Festival. The short film, which was selected to be screened at regional level by the Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, narrates the experiences and daily lives of four Haitian migrants in Chile and their integration process in the South American country.

In this interview, the young director Rubén Sánchez, tells what objectives and motivations guided him towards the creation of the short film.

Why did you choose young Haitian migrants as the protagonists of your work? Is there something in their profile that makes them different from other migrant communities in Chile?

What struck us is that the Haitian population here in Chile is the one that finds it most difficult to integrate into society. One of the main reasons is that they speak another language, the Creole language, and that is an even bigger barrier considering that Chilean Spanish has many idioms and tends to be spoken very quickly. Another obstacle to integration is the racism and rejection of some sectors of society towards the Haitian population: whether because of ethnicity, nationality, language or other prejudices. This leads to more segregation and not integration.

In the short film, there are many scenes that portray different landscapes: the sea, the forest, the city. What is the role of nature in the integration process of migrants?

Climatic conditions and landscapes can be a challenge for integration. For example, Haiti is very flat, there are no mountains and the climate is tropical. Here in Chile, nature and microclimates are quite diverse (the north has higher temperatures, the south is more humid and rainy, while the central zone is a mixture of these).
Nature, however, has also a symbolic purpose in the documentary. The mountain range, which characterizes the Chilean landscape, is the great frontier that any person faces to reach Chile. This justifies the scene that opens and closes the film and represents one of the protagonists in the Embalse del Yeso, which is a place here in Santiago, in the middle of the mountain range. We wanted to film those scenes there as a more oneiric way of representing this enormous wall that is like a border to cross in order to reach Chile, and that at the same time symbolizes the great wall that is in the cultural shock that the Haitian population faces.

‘Life is a circle. A perfect circle of which we are not a part': the protagonists in the film have jobs, go to school, learn Spanish. Then, what are the elements that continue to prevent their integration into the host community, this 'circle' from which they are excluded?

The cultural shock is big. If the host society lives this 'fear of the unknown', the Haitian migrant population in turn reacts and this generates a fear of the community where they live. The lack of integration is made difficult by prejudice and because initiatives that value cultural richness are not promoted. I think this is what we lack as a society: to be more educated. If there is no good education, there will be no people who cannot integrate; we still need to be educated and 'humanized'. I feel that in some way we are also 'dehumanized'. This is what the documentary wants to capture: to reflect on the humanity that we need, the humanity that we need to integrate others, to show that we are all really the same, we are all human beings and we all have dreams.

How much is the director visible in his work? How come are you interested in the subject of migration?

The issue of Haitian migration was, for me, a personal concern, because I live in one of the cities in Chile with the largest Haitian population. I used to witness daily this rejection of the Haitian population in the eyes of the people, in comments that were exchanged by whispering in the bus when I went to the university. I was worried about that.
Also, before I enrolled in audiovisual communication, I studied social work, and had many courses on the migration issue and related social policies. I did a lot of research on Haitian migration, which allowed me to capture the central idea of the short film. During the shooting process, I had the opportunity to meet these young people (Haitian migrants), to live their culture, to taste their food. I was filled with a culture that I didn't know, I was filled with knowledge, with a new experience. I wish this documentary could reach more people, change who we are and cultivate our humanity.