Experts urge priority for safe migration objectivesNepal is a signatory to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration for the protection of migrants by formulating required policies.
Nepal needs to set out its priorities while implementing the Global Compact for Migration, the first-ever UN global agreement on international migration, according to government officials, labour migration activists and expert.
The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, commonly known as GCM, is the first inter-governmentally negotiated agreement, which was formally adopted by 164 countries including Nepal in December in Marrakesh, Morocco.
Nepali stakeholders, analysing the first year of the GCM adoption and its implementation status, have said that the country needs first to prioritise GCM’s 23 objectives—all of which are about commitments to making migration safer at local, regional and international levels.
According to Jeevan Baniya, a labour migration researcher and assistant director of Centre for the Study of Labour and Mobility, a think tank, Nepal government needs to outline a plan clearly, mentioning which objectives are the most important for implementation.
“All the 23 objectives are significant, but not all of them are equally important for Nepal as we might have already accomplished the mandate mentioned in a particular point,” said Baniya, during an interaction in Kathmandu on Thursday. “Our government agencies have been regularly introducing interventions which are in line with GCM objectives. Therefore, we need to check what has been done and what needs urgent attention.”
Some of the primary objectives and policy recommendations of the GCM aim to gather better data on international migration; minimise factors that compel people to leave their own country; provide migrants with a proof of legal identity; and reduce vulnerabilities in migration, among others. The global pact also recognises that managing international migration is a shared responsibility of all countries, not only the country of origin and destination.
Baniya also suggested that responsibilities of achieving the objectives of the GCM should be divided among the three levels of government.
Sharing the status of implementation, Giri Prasad Acharya, a section officer with the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security, the government was committed to achieving the objectives of the GCM.
“Our commitment to the document is new but the notion it carries for managing migration is not new for Nepal,” said Acharya. “Nepal government has already introduced several measures for the protection of workers’ rights. The government has ensured that all the workers migrate under fair and ethical recruitment practices.”
The Labour Ministry is also moving ahead with forming a steering committee, which will be headed by Labour Secretary and consists of officials from other ministries and experts in the field. The government is also drafting a strategy in consultation with other stakeholders for time-bound and effective implementation of the GCM.
Nepal, as a leading labour source country, has a lot to do under the GCM commitments, which is non-binding, for protecting its migrant workers within and outside the country, said participants at the event, organised by the National Network for Safe Migration, an umbrella institution of the Nepali organisations working in the field of migration.
“We can hope that the GCM will be fully implemented,” said Laxman Basnet, general secretary of the South Asian Regional Trade Union Council, a regional federation of national-level trade unions of South Asia. “But our workers need to be protected at all stages of migration. As most of them are not educated and remain unaware of basic rules and their own rights, empowering them should be the first task.”