This chapter contains four sections: international migration and development; documented migrants; undocumented migrants; and refugees, asylum seekers and displaced persons. Four major issues remained unresolved at the end of PrepCom III: the rights of minorities and indigenous people; the right to family reunification; the rights of documented migrants; and the human rights of undocumented migrants.
Brackets appeared in paragraph 10.3, "to ensure the [human] rights of [individuals belonging to] minorities, and indigenous people[s] are respected." Delegates made a variety of proposals before Algeria proposed language from a 1992 UN General Assembly Resolution, which was accepted. The phrase now reads: "to ensure that the rights of persons belonging to ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities and indigenous people are respected."
In paragraph 10.13 (rights of documented migrants), the word "age" was bracketed. At PrepCom III, the Philippines had asked for this word, since migration patterns are often discriminatory based on age, and Australia had insisted on the brackets. The Philippines suggested deleting "age" and adding a new phrase at the end of the sentence: "including the special needs of children and the elderly." This formulation was approved.
In paragraph 10.20, the phrase "in accordance with international law" was bracketed, when referring to human rights protection of undocumented migrants. The US proposed, and Cuba amended, alternative text, which was accepted. It now reads: "in accordance with relevant international instruments."
The "right to family reunification" in paragraph 10.12 proved to be one of the more difficult issues to solve at the Conference. Many developing countries wanted to delete the brackets and recognize this right. Canada, Australia, Switzerland and the US commented that their commitment to the objective of family reunification is clear, but their Governments retain the ability to define family and limit the number of family members. These countries also thought that family reunification was sufficiently covered in paragraph 10.13. Other countries were concerned since the right to family reunification is not a universally recognized human right, and this Programme of Action should not establish any new rights.
When it appeared as though the Main Committee was unable to make headway on this issue, a working group, chaired by Soliman Awaad (Egypt), was established. The group met over the course of three days before a compromise emerged. When the new text, which did not refer to the right of family reunification, was announced on Saturday, 10 September, over 35 delegates expressed their regrets, frustration, sadness, difficulties and even reservations. Several delegates asked that the draft be rejected since it was not fully endorsed. The working group reconvened and announced a new compromise on Monday afternoon: "Consistent with Article 10 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and all other relevant universally recognized human rights instruments, all Governments, particularly those of receiving countries, must recognize the vital importance of family reunification and promote its integration into their national legislation in order to ensure the protection of the unity of the families of documented migrants." Egypt added that there was strong support in the working group for a global conference on international migration and development and that the report of the conference should note this support.
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