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11.12.2018 - News

Terre des hommes puts children at the heart of the Global Compact for Migration

Children comprise one-eighth or 31 million of all international migrants in the world. To improve their access to protection and care, for over 18 months, Terre des hommes worked hand in hand with governments and other civil society organisations to make the Global Compact for Migration a reality. This important document was adopted on December 10 in Marrakech, Morocco, by 164 states. Even though Switzerland played an important part in the negociations of the Compact, the country hasn't signed it yet.

On December 10 and 11, Terre des hommes is attending the final intergovernmental conference on the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) in Marrakech, Morocco, which succeeded the Global Forum on Migration and Development.

The adoption of the Global Compact on Migration is a significant step forward in the fight to protect the rights of children on the move or affected by migration in other ways. For children, this means that States commit to prioritising better cooperation to uphold children’s best interests.

If adequately implemented, the GCM - together with the Global Compact for Refugees, can play a crucial role in bringing real and necessary improvements not only to the lives of those on the move, but also of children and families in communities in countries of origin, transit and destination.

Advocating for child rights

Tdh co-chaired the Initiative for Child Rights in the Global Compacts, a multi-stakeholder alliance bringing together over 30 civil society organisations and UN agencies, with the aim of ensuring child rights are at the heart of the Global Compacts. We can be proud that they are.

Pierre Cazenave, Tdh Senior Advocacy Advisor of our Child and Youth in Migration Programme, who is representing Tdh these days in Morocco, mentions: “This conference does not put an end to 18 months of advocacy work, but represents on the contrary the first step towards a new policy reality that will help us deliver services to children in a more effective way, across borders and in partnership with governments who believe children’s rights are important.

Today, there is considerable commitment from Terre des hommes and other civil society organisations and networks working all over the world and at all levels to support the implementation of the Global Compact for Migration, so that migration can work for everyone – people on the move, societies in destination countries, and also people in countries of origin.

The GCM outlines a series of practical measures for improved cooperation on key issues affecting children, including:

  • mitigating adverse drivers of migration and improving regular migration pathways;
  • improving identification and referral of children to adequate services;
  • strengthening collaboration on child protection across borders;
  • ensuring that returns are carried out only after a determination of the child’s best interests;
  • developing alternatives to child immigration detention, favouring non-custodial care arrangements that guarantee children’s rights;
  • keeping families together;
  • combating discrimination and xenophobia.

Next year we will be celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and we believe that the GCM will help us take forward the commitments in the CRC not only for migrant children, but for all children. Terre des hommes will continue to work hard and provide services for children in vulnerable communities, including migrant children, but also in ensuring that key international initiatives are inclusive of children’s voices, as the GCM is today. And that all governments realise that it is their duty to uphold the rights of all children.


Photo credit: ©Tdh/Grace Medina

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