The World Social Forum on Migrations (WFSM) is one of the thematic processes of the World Social Forum (WSF). The WSF is a global process of, and by, social movements, mass organisations, civil society, activists and advocates. As reflected by its slogan, “Another World Is Possible”, it explores an alternative world order, and the building of societies and communities characterized by mutually-beneficial relationships among people and with the environment. WSF promotes and consolidates a globalization of solidarity, collective analysis, discourse, and people’s action.
The WSFM, in particular, provides a space for democratic debate, reflection, sharing of ideas and experiences, cultural exchange, socialization, networking, enhancing solidarity, consensus-building, discussion of plans and strategies, and popularization of positions, agendas and actions on migration and mobility-related issues. “Migration and mobility” includes but are not limited to: labor migration; refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people; trafficking and smuggling of people; internal and cross-border migration; families and communities of migrants; the economic, political, social, cultural and gender dimensions of migration and mobility; rights, principles and standards of protection for migrants and their families; the linkages between migration and human rights, development, economy and finance, food and jobs, environment, governance, citizenship, etc.; strategies, responses and advocacies on these issues; and the stakeholders, actors, agencies, and groups involved.
The 5th WSFM will be held, for the first time in Asia, on 26-30 November 2012 in Metro Manila, Philippines. Around 3,000 delegates and participants from the Philippines and all over the world are expected to join the various WSFM events, including workshops, exhibits, cultural events, field trips and the march-rally on the last day.
The 5th WSFM will be prepared, organized and hosted by the Philippine Working Group on WSFM (PWG), under the guidance of the International Committee of the WSFM (IC).
Since it started in 2005, there have already been four WSFM’s that were organized:
The 5th World Social Forum on Migration (WSFM) will be held in Manila, Philippines on 26-30 November 2012. This would be the first WFSM that will take place in an Asian country as previous WSFMs were held in Europe and Latin America.
The overall theme of the 2012 WSFM is “Mobility, Rights and Global Models: Looking for Alternatives” and the following are the sub- thematic areas:
For the past decades, the issue of migration has been gaining relevance at the international level. Governments of origin and destination states have come to recognize the importance of migration to their national societies and economies, yet many countries, especially those of the Global North, also see and construct the phenomenon as a potential challenge to their national security regimes, socially constructed national identities, and territorial sovereignty. Therefore we see efforts to simultaneously attract and close the door to migrants; who are differentiated based on legal and administrative categorizations that often curtail their human rights. In times of economic and political upheaval and social unrest,( as in the case of global financial crises and uprisings in the Arab World,) migrants are often the most adversely affected, yet we hear little of their struggles.
The first thematic area will focus on examining and critiquing existing trends and issues on global migration, linking migration-specific issues with the broader social issues (eg development, poverty, climate change, empowerment, social justice, etc.). In addition to drawing lessons from the global crisis and critiquing the patchy and un-equitable solutions provided by the international community, specific attention should be dedicated to the role of migration in time of crisis, experiences and survival strategies utilized by migrants, and alternative approaches put in place by local government units.
The basic human rights of migrants and their families are well-recognised and established under international laws (treaties) and normative standards of the United Nations (UN), International Labour Organisation (ILO), World Health Organisation (WHO) and other international and regional bodies. All migrants are entitled to protection of their human rights by the States that they originate from, transit through, and reside and seek employment in. The most comprehensive framework of protection for the rights of migrants and their families remains the UN 1990 International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (UN 1990 MWC).
The second thematic area of the WSFM will focus on the human rights of migrants and their families, examining the current status of protection for the rights of migrant; the gaps between international standards and national policies, implementation of policies and programs on migrants rights, the lessons, experiences, gains and setbacks in the advancement of migrants’ rights.
The rapid globalization of economies worldwide has fueled the demand for labour migration. However, this demand is not complemented by an increase in the protection of the rights of migrant workers. There is a need to examine existing frameworks on migration and call for programs and policies that: ensure the protection of the rights and welfare of migrants and their families; and ensure that workers benefit from equal treatment and opportunities in respect of wages, working conditions, membership in trade unions, social security and other national benefits. There must be a comprehensive, rights-based gender-sensitive regulatory framework, anchored in the principles of the UN 1990 MWC, CEDAW, ILO Conventions (97, 143 and 189).
More fundamentally, a radical and basic rethinking of migration and global social and economic models need to be stepped up. The third thematic area will focus on discussing alternatives to existing migration frameworks and global socio-economic and political paradigms, and on challenging the dominant neo-liberal framework.
The fourth thematic area will focus on next steps and recommendations for future action. The fourth thematic area is a common theme throughout the weeklong program of the WSFM.
Topics for discussion under this thematic area can include essential elements in resistance, organization and action of, for, by migrants – which led to gains, landmark advances in policies and programs. Organizations are encouraged to share lessons, experiences and strategies for advancing the migrants rights agenda. Ideas for the organizing of migrants and their families, empowerment, collective capacity building, advocacy and campaigns will be highlighted. Movement building, solidarity and alliance building between migrants, migrants’ rights advocates and broader social and peoples’ movements will be among the key areas for discussion.