World Social Forum for Migration 2008

During the Forum, held in Rivas Vaciamadrid in September, five thematic blocks have been discussed: globalization and migrations, societies of origin and alternative development, borders and human rights, societies of destination and the situations of the migrants, asylum and displacement.

This world Forum has counted with the presence of more than 2.000 delegates from more than 90 countries. The presence of African leaders of countries such as Morocco, Senegal, Mali, Mauritania or Cameroon has been important as well as the increase of Asian participants. Rivas becomes the most important appointment for world migrants.

The Forum gathered the demands of all migrant people in the Final Declaration.

Final Declaration:

We demand:

The signing, ratification, and full implementation of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families by those countries that have not yet done so. We commend the countries that have ratified this Convention and demand that they adapt their national legal frameworks as necessary to fully comply with its obligations. We also welcome the commitment of local authorities to support the campaign in favour of its ratification, which was initiated by the municipal authorities of our hosts in Rivas Vaciamadrid.

The establishment of a special mandate or procedure within the UN system to address the gaps in existing instruments and instances for the integral defence and protection of the rights of migrants, refugees, and displaced persons, such as the CMW (Committee on Migrant Workers), the Special Rapporteur regarding the Human Rights of Migrants, the UN High Commissioner for Refuges, and the Secretary General's Special Representative for Internally Displaced Persons, among others, with a particular emphasis on the creation of a permanent space where the voices of migrants, refugees, and the displaced and their movements and organizations can be heard.

The elimination of the EU Return Directive, as well as other legal instruments that permit and encourage the harassment and arrest of migrants throughout the world; the dismantling of Frontex and all political and military mechanisms that subordinate migration policies to the supposed imperatives of international security within, along, and beyond borders; we also demand measures to enable on-site monitoring of detention centres with free and full access by social organisations until their final closing and elimination;
That the borders of the world stop being places of impunity where migrants are the object of every kind of violation and crime and as a result are compelled to take risks that put their lives in danger. We demand that countries of origin, transit, and destination assume their responsibilities to remedy such situations and its effects.

The regularization and legalization of all undocumented persons or those with no papers throughout the world, and the expansion of legal bases for the full recognition of all forms of persecution of seekers of asylum and refuge, and for them to be granted the relief that they need, from an integral human rights and gender perspective, as well as compliance with their internationally recognized right to return to their places of origin.
The repudiation and cancellation of all bilateral and multilateral clauses and agreements providing for the expulsion of migrants to their places of origin against their will, which are generally imposed on countries of origin or transit as a reflection of their unequal relations with countries of destination, and which often involve serious violations of human rights, the separation of families, and retaliation by authorities in countries of origin, and a serious uprooting and disruption of the lives of migrants and their communities. This includes the annulment of agreements or clauses regarding re-admission, and the cancellation of all related trade and aid accords including provisions along these lines between the European Union, countries in the EU, and third countries, and among third countries.

That migrants, refugees, and displaced persons and their movements and organizations be encouraged, supported, and defended when they organize, speak out, and denounce all forms of domination and exploitation, and assert their rights in resistance and struggle, and promotion of the strengthening of their movements, organizations, and mutual support networks.

Full compliance with all international human rights and legal standards that guarantee the adequate protection of children and minors that are an increasingly important part of international migratory flows.
The incorporation in our struggle of the demands of environmental justice, and as to the legal recognition and protection of environmental refugees resulting from global climate change and environmental destruction, as an integral part of our commitment to strive for a new world order that promotes human dignity for all people, in a manner harmonious with the Earth and its limits and potential.

Implementation of policies that aim at guaranteeing equality of opportunities for all migrants, and the development of inclusionary measures that are not conditioned upon the legal status or administrative situation of migrants, and the promotion of policies to insure migrant access to all public services in a manner which respects their cultural diversity and identities, as well as long term policies for the integration of youth, and for the advancement and achievement of equal rights for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, and Trans-gender) migrants and their families.

The right to vote for migrants in local and state elections in countries of destination, and guarantees for their active participation in the determination of local development plans, in a manner which respects the autonomy of social organisations and movements, and that helps promote the recognition and effectiveness of full citizenship rights for all migrants, both in countries of destination and in their countries of origin.

Full respect for rights of political participation of migrants in order to enable them to influence internal policies as well as external policies in their host countries in favour of the interests of their countries of origin, in a manner which provides visibility to their contributions as active agents of change in both their countries of destination and origin.

The continuation of the collective drafting process of the World Migrant Charter, as well as other processes and initiatives intended to strengthen the recognition and defence of the rights of migrants throughout the world.

Support of the increased presence and strength of alternative, inclusionary and democratic mass communication media and strategies that take into account and reflect the perspectives of migrants and their communities, movements, organisations, and that adequately reflect the complexities of migratory processes.

We want to restore the full dimensions of the dignity of all human beings, and reaffirm our commitment to struggle together against the damaging effects of a market among us, which undermines the quality of the lives of our families and communities, and of our social movements and organisations. This includes a recognition that our identities as migrants, refugees, and displaced persons does not imply the denial of our multiple and diverse identities, demands, and struggles in other spheres.

We commit ourselves to insure that these perspectives and concerns will be present when we gather together once more during the IV World Social Forum on Migrations in Quito, Ecuador in October 2010.
Migration is not a crime. It is instead the conditions which produce migration that are criminal.
We raise our voices, we defend our rights, and we struggle together in order to build a world without walls.

Rivas Vaciamadrid, September 13th, 2008