Migration policies, growing xenophobia internationally, indicators on migrants and migration in sustainable development goals’ targets, and a world migration summit were key issues discussed at the United Nations Coordination Meeting on International Migration (25-26 february 2016). Education International (EI) actively participated in the meeting which took place in New York, USA.

While concerns were raised that a few countries are taking large numbers of refugees and migrants, whilst many others are introducing tighter border controls, the United Nations (UN) Deputy Secretary General, Jan Eliasson, stressed the need to raise awareness of the Geneva Convention and respect for humanitarian law. He also highlighted the need for work on the “dynamic nexus” between development and migration. Member states need to embrace existing conventions and treaties as well as the UN Charter, he said.

There was discussion about the increase in xenophobia, including the role of the media in spreading xenophobic views. Evidence was presented of heightened intolerance of, and growing violence towards, migrants and refugees, particularly in Europe, the United States and the Middle East. Discussions covered the steps that should be taken to challenge xenophobia and racism towards migrants and refugees. There was general recognition of the pivotal role that education can play in challenging prejudice and discrimination, promoting equality, and shaping a positive climate for inclusion.

In a side meeting with EI and Public Services International’s representatives, François Crépeau, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, spoke about the relevance of SDG8 (sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all). He stressed that decent work issues and labour agreements are central to ensuring that migrants and refugees can resettle successfully.

During the roundtable session, Jill Christianson from the National Education Association (USA) highlighted the EI Teacher Migration Portal and the EI World Congress Resolutions addressing migration, refugees and stateless people. She also stressed the role of educators’ in leading efforts to combat xenophobia and racism.

Sonja Hall from the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT/UK) also outlined some of the work that the union was undertaking to support refugees and migrants. She  outlined a number of actions that EI and NASUWT would want the UN to take, including engaging unions in strategic decision-making about the implementation of the SDGs, acknowledging the particular contribution that education unions can make, and ensuring that the indicators assessing SDG4, the standalone goal on teachers, are broadened.

Source: http://www.ei-ie.org/en/news/news_details/3895