December 21, 2018

Youth: Agents of Transformation in Migration Advocacy

Nearly 100 young people of 50 nationalities gathered at the Youth Forum in Marrakech for the ratification of the first United Nations Global Compact on Migration. The representative from Fe y Alegrías youth network, “Red Generación 21+”, Rosalía González – accompanied by Macarena Romero, from Entreculturas- Fe y Alegría España – shares what she experienced and learned during this international political event.           

This pact, signed by more than 150 countries on December 11th, includes 23 objectives whose priority is to defend human rights and put an end to the discrimination that migrants suffer in the migratory process.                                                      

They have been days of sharing, stories and opinions, different realities, but with common objectives. We have dealt with issues that, as the “Red Generación 21+”, matter to us and with which we seek to work and how they influence migration processes, such as gender equity and the environment.

There were many different workshops, we found it interesting to study how policy and law narratives influence the impact that the Global Compact for Migration can have. We learned that the way to transmit the message really matters, that we must show clearly and truthfully what we want the world to know, with a perspective that adapts in some way to the changes that society is having over the years; in that aspect, our youth network can contribute a lot, and our diversity can make sure that all the policies that we want to defend are based on real stories and our own.

We learned in the non-formal education workshop that labels should not define us and should not influence when it comes to treating others, everyone deserves the same respect and the same treatment, since, above any characteristic, any label, nationality, gender or job, we are people.

I also participated in the gender workshop, whose figures impacted me (half of the almost 260 million migrants worldwide are women, almost 2 million women and girls are victims of international trafficking each year, Women and girls make up 98% of all victims of sexual exploitation and human trafficking) and from which I learned that change requires a look at gender, fortunately, as the “Red Generación 21+” we have integrated this perspective in our work. And as committed young people we can share it with others that men and women have and share the same universal rights.

We learned that in most Latin American countries, there is the unwritten policy of open doors, which implies that the right to move is truly a right. We have talked about the different barriers that affect migration, issues such as gender, education, human rights, natural disasters, human trafficking, policies, laws and many other things that are related to migration and pose a great challenge to our society.

In addition, I have heard the personal story of one of the young people here at the forum for whom sports has been essential, explaining how sports can contribute in some way to improving their migration experience. Participation in sports is universal, and I believe it is a great system of integration of societies.

I believe that the greatest learning of this Forum is the great role and the great responsibility that we, as youth, have, for the future, and also in the present to lead and participate in the implementation of international commitments of States, demanding of them and monitoring them. As part of the “Red Generación 21+” I believe that participation in international events of this nature is necessary, and it helps us to understand the true functioning of global citizenship, also opening us up to situations in countries that may not yet be part of our network.

Young people are the future, but we are also the present. We are political agents of transformation. We can and must participate in the creation of policies, which in the future will become laws. Our diversity, our internationality, and our youth are three of the greatest virtues we can bring to the world as a network.

The insights from the Youth Forum can be reviewed through social media using the hashtag #Youth4Migration

Resources:

United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth