Emmaus International

On the occasion of International Migrants Day on 18 December, the Organisation for Universal Citizenship (OCU), cofounded by Emmaus International, is presenting its case for a change of course on migration.

The OCU, a union of Emmaus International, the France Libertés - Danielle Mitterrand Foundation and Mouvement Utopia, was founded in 2013 to address the topic of international migration. These three organisations work together to take the campaign for a different migration policy, based on the freedom of movement and settlement of people, to the global level.
The campaign document presented on 18 December outlines the OCU's analysis and proposals.

Freedom to migrate, a fundamental right

The freedom to migrate is a fundamental right enshrined in Article 13 of the 1949 Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. Nevertheless, successive policies restricting migration and alarmist rhetoric accompanying statistics on migration and its "harmful" consequences constantly encroach on this freedom, politicising the issue rather than addressing it as a social topic.  Migrants become scape goats, blamed for all problems (social, economic or those related to living together). Scientific studies, however, prove that migration boosts the economy.  According to the World Bank, for example, the economic activity generated by the 3% rise in industrialised countries' overall workforce resulting from immigration has led to a 160 billion dollar increase in income.

Work for a change in migration policy

The OCU advocates four proposals on how to change course on migration policy:

1. Put freedom of movement into practice
In a world of interdependence and communication, a border can no longer serve as a barrier, fence and certainly not a graveyard. Rather it must provide a space for encounters, exchange and a place for people to open their minds and learn who they really are.

2. Organise an international conference on migration
Progress in this field can only be achieved through a dialogue involving multiple stakeholders. There is thus an urgent need to create fora for discussion between states, politicians, migrants, experts and civil society within the framework of the United Nations. This dialogue should culminate in a conference of states in order to implement the free movement of people and to adopt an international treaty.

3. To campaign for a different perspective on migration and migrants
We must combat prejudices and alarmist rhetoric and set the record straight on the topic of migration: the statistics and facts backed by research and testimonies, the causes, concrete examples of violations of rights, the positive effects.

4. Make migrants' voices heard and respected
Migrants must be fully included in the discussion on freedom of movement and settlement and their voice must be heard loud and clear. It is crucial that those primarily affected be given a voice, that they be enabled to play a full role in fighting for their cause.


> Read the OCU’s campaign document

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