USF for Freedom 2019 


Symposium on the International and Humanitarian Protections for Migrants and Refugees - Perspectives from Graduate Students, Leadership Ethics and Human Rights Experts.

Thursday March 21, 2019 

6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

University of San Francisco - Downtown Campus

101 Howard St. Room 451

“This must be a world of democracy and respect for human rights, a world freed from the horrors of poverty, hunger, deprivation and ignorance, relieved of the threat and the scourge of civil wars and external aggression and unburdened of the great tragedy of millions forced to become refugees.
— Nelson Mandela

Towards a Global Compact for Migrants and Refugee Rights


“Today, there are over 258 million migrants around the world living outside their country of birth. This figure is expected to grow for a number of reasons including population growth, increasing connectivity, trade, rising inequality, demographic imbalances and climate change. Migration provides immense opportunity and benefits – for the migrants, host communities and communities of origin. However, when poorly regulated it can create significant challenges. These challenges include overwhelming social infrastructures with the unexpected arrival of large numbers of people and the deaths of migrants undertaking dangerous journeys.” (UN Global Compact

The Leadership Commitment for Refugees

Leaders’ Summit on Refugees

The conversations toward a global compact for migration started in April 2017 with Pres. Barak Obama and other country leaders who committed to develop a global framework for global responsibility toward refugees - what was called a Global Compact for Refugees and included in the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. These commitments provided a framework for the respect of refugee rights (covered under the international protection established in the 1951 Refugee Convention) and for migrant rights (covered under national and regional approaches for humanitarian protection as reflected in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

What were the New York Commitments towards Migrants and Refugees?

  1. Protect the human rights of all refugees and migrants, regardless of status. This includes the rights of women and girls and promoting their full, equal and meaningful participation in finding solutions.

  2. Ensure that all refugee and migrant children are receiving education within a few months of arrival.

  3. Prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence.

  4. Support those countries rescuing, receiving and hosting large numbers of refugees and migrants.

  5. Work towards ending the practice of detaining children for the purposes of determining their migration status.

  6. Strongly condemn xenophobia against refugees and migrants and support a global campaign to counter it.

  7. Strengthen the positive contributions made by migrants to economic and social development in their host countries.

  8. Improve the delivery of humanitarian and development assistance to those countries most affected, including through innovative multilateral financial solutions, with the goal of closing all funding gaps.

  9. Implement a comprehensive refugee response, based on a new framework that sets out the responsibility of Member States, civil society partners and the UN system, whenever there is a large movement of refugees or a protracted refugee situation.

  10. Find new homes for all refugees identified by UNHCR as needing resettlement; and expand the opportunities for refugees to relocate to other countries through, for example, labour mobility or education schemes.

  11. Strengthen the global governance of migration by bringing the International Organization for Migration into the UN system.

Pres. Obama Opening Remarks at the Leaders’Summit on Refugees

“We are here because, right now, in crowded camps and cities around the world, there are families -- from Darfur in Chad, Palestinians in Lebanon, Afghans in Pakistan, Colombians in Ecuador -- who’ve endured years -- in some cases, decades -- as refugees, surviving on rations and aid, and who dream of someday, somehow, having a home of their own.[…] And I’m here today -- I called this summit -- because this crisis is one of the most urgent tests of our time -- our capacity for collective action.  To test, first and foremost, our ability to end conflicts, because so many of the world’s refugees come from just three countries ravaged by war -- Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia. […] It’s a test of our international system where all nations ought to share in our collective responsibilities, because the vast majority of refugees are hosted by just 10 countries who are bearing a very heavy burden -- among them Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, Iran, Ethiopia.  Countries that often have fewer resources than many of those who are doing little or nothing.” Presentation. Barak Obama, September 30, 2016. Read more here.  


The Evolutions of a Global Responsibility

The Global Compact for Migrations

On 13 July 2018 UN Member States finalized the text for the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. In spite numerous government oppositions to the process, the Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration  was held on 10 – 11 December in Marrakech, Morocco with significant advances in the conversations on the human rights of migrations and the global responsibilities for migrant flows.

The Global Compact for Migration is the first-ever UN global agreement on a common approach to international migration in all its dimensions. The global compact is non-legally binding. It is grounded in values of state sovereignty, responsibility-sharing, non-discrimination, and human rights, and recognizes that a cooperative approach is needed to optimize the overall benefits of migration, while addressing its risks and challenges for individuals and communities in countries of origin, transit and destination.

The global compact comprises 23 objectives for better managing migration at local, national, regional and global levels. The compact:

  • aims to mitigate the adverse drivers and structural factors that hinder people from building and maintaining sustainable livelihoods in their countries of origin;

  • intends to reduce the risks and vulnerabilities migrants face at different stages of migration by respecting, protecting and fulfilling their human rights and providing them with care and assistance;

  • seeks to address the legitimate concerns of states and communities, while recognizing that societies are undergoing demographic, economic, social and environmental changes at different scales that may have implications for and result from migration;

  • strives to create conducive conditions that enable all migrants to enrich our societies through their human, economic and social capacities, and thus facilitate their contributions to sustainable development at the local, national, regional and global levels.

Objectives for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration

(1) Collect and utilize accurate and disaggregated data as a basis for evidence-based policies
(2) Minimize the adverse drivers and structural factors that compel people to leave their country of origin
(3) Provide accurate and timely information at all stages of migration
(4) Ensure that all migrants have proof of legal identity and adequate documentation
(5) Enhance availability and flexibility of pathways for regular migration
(6) Facilitate fair and ethical recruitment and safeguard conditions that ensure decent work
(7) Address and reduce vulnerabilities in migration
(8) Save lives and establish coordinated international efforts on missing migrants
(9) Strengthen the transnational response to smuggling of migrants
(10) Prevent, combat and eradicate trafficking in persons in the context of international migration
(11) Manage borders in an integrated, secure and coordinated manner
(12) Strengthen certainty and predictability in migration procedures for appropriate screening, assessment and referral
(13) Use migration detention only as a measure of last resort and work towards alternatives
(14) Enhance consular protection, assistance and cooperation throughout the migration cycle
(15) Provide access to basic services for migrants
(16) Empower migrants and societies to realize full inclusion and social cohesion
(17) Eliminate all forms of discrimination and promote evidence-based public discourse to shape perceptions of migration
(18) Invest in skills development and facilitate mutual recognition of skills, qualifications and competences
(19) Create conditions for migrants and diasporas to fully contribute to sustainable development in all countries
(20) Promote faster, safer and cheaper transfer of remittances and foster financial inclusion of migrants
(21) Cooperate in facilitating safe and dignified return and readmission, as well as sustainable reintegration
(22) Establish mechanisms for the portability of social security entitlements and earned benefits
(23) Strengthen international cooperation and global partnerships for safe, orderly and regular migration

The list of the 23 objectives can be found in paragraph 16 of the Global Compact for Migration.


CASE: Pope Francis on Global Moral Leadership

Pope Francis Leadership for Migrants and Refugees

Pope Francis and the Holy See agreed and adopted, along more than 160 countries, the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). The four verbs that sum up the Holy See's response to the challenges posed to the political community, civil society and the Church when it comes to how we help migrants and refugees are explained in the short film below.

To Welcome
"A responsible and dignified welcome of our brothers and sisters begins by offering them decent and appropriate shelter"

To Protect
"We are speaking about millions of migrant workers, especially men and women in irregular situations. Millions of asylum seekers and displaced persons; and millions of victims of human trafficking defending their inalienable rights, ensuring their fundamental freedoms and respecting their dignity are duties which compel one and all."

To Promote
"Protecting migrants, refugees and displaced persons is not enough, what is required is the promotion of their integral human development. Responsibility for the full human promotion of migrants and their families begins with their home communities. That is where such promotion should be guaranteed, along with the right to choose to emigrate and also the right not to be forced to emigrate."

To Integrate 
"Integration, unlike assimilation or incorporation, is a two-way process, rooted essentially in the mutual recognition of each other's cultural richness. I believe that taking action in these four ways, as individuals and in groups, is our duty today."

Download the Global Compact on Migration - Letter from Vatican on the Adoption of the Global Compact on Migration

Learn more from the Office on Migrants and Refugees of the Holy See we visited during the AGI-Rome Program.
Read more from our Blog


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