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Migration: Neither Safe nor Orderly Migration: Neither Safe nor Orderly
by Rene Wadlow
2021-12-10 09:23:26
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10 December is the anniversary of the signing of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration at Marrakech in 2018.  The aim of the United Nations organized Compact was to bring together existing commitment to improve migration management and the treatment of migrants.  The Compact calls upon States to develop national implementation plans and to review their national practices.

imm00001_400However, recent events underline that today much migration is neither safe nor orderly.  National priorities have often been focused on how to keep migrants out rather than on a policy  based on the dignity of migrants and their place within national societies.  Events at the Polish-Belarus frontier indicate how migrants can be used against their  expectations to advance narrow national policies.  Frontiers are being fortified; walls are being built.  The takeover of power by the Taliban in Afghanistan has added to the number of people who wish to flee and find refuge elsewhere.  The number of migrants in Mexico wishing to enter the U.S.A. is still as great, and U.S. policy remains restrictive despite the change of administration.

The image of a "Fortress Europe" or a "Fortress U.S.A." is increasingly a reflection of a reality.  There is cooperation among Western European States on better control by the police and other security forces but not on greater integration of refugees and migrants.  There is a growing European policy of a return of migrants to their "home" country.  Migration and migrants are key issues for the campaign for President of France which is now underway with anti-migrant policy being the most common feature.  Migrants and refugees in France wanting to go to England has been made even more complex since the U.K. withdrew from the European Union.

The 5 December 2021 visit of Pope Francis to the refugee-migrant camps on Lesbos, Greece, has called wide attention to the fate of refugees and migrants;  The Pope had strong words for the lack of compassion for migrants  shown by governments and called for efforts by non-governmental organizations, especially churches to take constructive action.

It is likely that progress on safe and orderly migration and compassionate refugee practices will have to come from non-governmental organizations, some of which are already active on the issues. Much can be done at the local level.  As the Pope stressed, local churches and local religious organizations are on the front lines of action.  As the Christmas season starts, we can recall the story of the birth of Jesus far from the home of his parents - a myth for our time.


Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens

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