More than 70 states were in attendance at this year’s Global Forum for Migration & Development, including for the first time, the United States, and the Mexican President. The theme was: “Partnerships for migration and human development: shared prosperity – shared responsibility”.

Detention was raised by a number of groups in the irregular migration session, which was attended by the Mexican First Lady and the Special Rapporteur for Migrants. Detention was also included for the first time in the final statement provided to governments, which included an IDC statement that alternatives to detention must be pursued and are more humane and less expensive.

As per previous Forum’s, civil society was not invited to attend government meetings, however an improvement this year was the inclusion of two ‘common space’ initiatives, where governments and civil society could jointly attend, one during the Civil Society Days and teh other during the opening of the GFMD. Mexico was instrumental in pushing for this ‘common space’, however access to governments remained very limited.

A key concern raised consistently by NGOs was the lack of a human rights framework in GFMD discussions, and this remained. The PGA, a civil society forum, which met the week earlier, is primarily focused on pushing for an alternative development migration model, including ensuring human rights are included in the GFMD, which has mainly been on focusing on maximising the economics of migration.

A positive development this year was the more visible inclusion of irregular migration in discussions, including conversations about the growing criminalization of irregular migrants and increased use of detention, and the impact of this on individuals, especially women & children.
Having the GFMD in Mexico right now was good timing to put pressure on the Mexican government to respond to the ongoing violence affecting Central American migrants which led to the recent massacre of 72 migrants. Amnesty International launched a powerful new documentary on this issue with Gael Garcia Bernal, who attended and presented: Click here to view the film, titled The Invisibles

The background material to the sessions can be found here-


IDC PGA Detention Session
The IDC ran a workshop on immigration detention at the PGA, attended by participants from eight countries, with key findings below.

Shared Priorities Access, conditions, vulnerable groups, long term detention, violence, privatization, protection of asylum seekers, interpreters/language, due process, legal representation, mental health, medical care, getting money owed to them but employers, role of sending countries, consular protection, training and capacity building and need for alternatives to detention.

Shared Strategies
– Legal actions
– Monitoring conditions
– Capacity building
– Research and case documentation
– Evidence-based advocacy
– Networking nationally and internationally

Identified Actions Needed:
· Information sharing (email and newsletter)
· Training at regional workshops, including on ATD, monitoring, legal and psychosocial
· Regional network development
· Promoting alternatives to detention
· Advocacy messages on alternatives to detention

For more details, please e-mail: [email protected]