December 7, 2018 — Last Thursday, our collaborators, Norbert Piché and Mouloud Idir, sent a letter to the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau concerning the Global Compact on Migration. The national director of the Jesuit Refugee Service and the leader of the Vivre ensemble department of the Centre justice et foi invite the Canadian government to be one of the signatories to this non-binding pact, developed by the United Nations over the past few months, which will be adopted at the Marrakech Summit on Migration, December 10 - 11. Former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, former UN High Commissioner for human rights, and special representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations for migration, the Canadian jurist Louise Arbour is one of the promoters of this pact.
“In the context of the current migratory crisis - of which we are reminded notably by the people who make up the caravan that left Central America in the past few weeks - our organizations, the Centre justice et foi and the Jesuit Refugee Service, want to insist on the urgency of finding generous and global solutions. As Canada has done in the past, we hope that our country will advocate for significant measures regarding the welcoming of forcibly displaced people and that it will play a leadership role in this issue. The root causes of migratory movements are structural and call for like measures,” says the letter, co-signed by Norbert Piché and Mouloud Idir. Hailing the resilience and the “prophetic courage” of the migrants, they urge the Canadian authorities to “ find more dignified and just answers to their need of protection.”
“We hope that Canada will encourage other stakeholders to take a close look at the serious shortcomings that come from a disordered management of the migration issue too often based on a security approach. We hope that the recommendations stemming from this Pact will not be of the nature whereby migrants would be essentially selected for utilitarian purposes,” they add.
This multilateral non-binding pact puts forward 20 goals aimed at establishing an approach of international collaboration regarding migration which “respects the sovereignty of States and the obligations that international law places on them.” Even though it is non-binding, the pact has already sparked some negative reactions on the part of populist parties in Europe, which “are multiplying the attacks against the pact,” even suggesting a “deluge of migrants”, according to an article this morning in La Presse.
It is primarily this retrogressive rhetoric that the international community must attack, notes Louise Arbour: “The conversation in New York among the member States was more serene, more respectful, more rooted in reality. Now, the challenge will be to reconcile the national discourses that are rooted in fear. It is betting on the future, because human mobility is not only an inevitable phenomenon but above all, if well managed, it can pay hugely positive dividends.”
Canada is committed to being a signatory to the Global Compact on Migration. Last June, Pope Francis invited the international community to put in place a “‘shared, global’ administration of migrations”. The Holy See gave its support to the pact, which was also supported by the President of the Commission of Bishops of the European Union, Very Rev. Jean-Claude Hollerich, SJ: “Following Pope Francis, the Catholic Church reaffirms ‘our shared responsibility to welcome, protect, promote and integrate’ migrants and refugees in our societies. They have ‘individual faces, names and histories’, and deserve to be treated according to their intrinsic human dignity and their fundamental rights.”