Members of the Socialist International Committee on Migrations, meeting on 24 and 25 October 2006 in Rhodes and Marmaris, respectively, considered and exchanged experiences on the following themes: (a) From countries of emigration to countries of immigration: passing on experiences to the new generation; (b) Maritime borders and irregular migration; (c) Migrants in transit and the experience of Greece and Turkey.
Europe demonstrates that the majority of countries that are currently receivers of immigration were until recently countries of emigration. This experience must be used to understand the processes of migration which we are living through today around the world. We are acutely aware that hunger, war, dictatorships and lack of opportunities are some of the main causes for migratory movement.
As socialists we reiterate the need to put forward a brave, responsible and imaginative answer to migration based on reason and democratic values and respect for human rights.
As opposed to conservative policies that view the process of migration as a conflict or problem, socialists recognise it as a phenomenon which can be a great challenge full of opportunities if it is managed with appropiate progressive policies. We are aware that immigration is today more necessary than ever for developed countries, as demonstrated by data indicating the contribution of immigrants to the GDP of these countries, whose economic growth and competitivity would be unthinkable without this contribution.
The Committee notes that correctly managing migratory flows requires instruments that take into account the capacity to receive migrants and the needs of the labour markets in the host countries. In this way, it underlines the need to redouble efforts against unregulated migration which feeds the traffic of human beings and exploitation, which victimises women and children especially. The Committee warns against these new forms of slavery.
We highlight the need for a coherent policy of co-development. International cooperation can become indispensable in contributing to the economic, social, cultural and political stability of originating countries. In this regard, the Committee gives its support to the holding of the Forum on Migration and Development on 9 and 10 July 2007 in Belgium.
The Committee notes the need to strengthen public systems and services in host countries in order to guarantee their level and quality, as allowing the deterioration of public services would work in favour of the conservative sectors which wrongly perceive immigrants as responsible for such a fall in the quality of services. We aim to bring about a host society that is more cohesive and integrated, strengthening public services and promoting the indispensable conditions of equality of access to health, education and social services.
The Committee underlines the need for dialogue, commitment and co-responsibility between originating countries, transit countries and host countries. Current international migration cannot be approached from unilateral or local perspectives, but to the contrary, we support bilateral and multilateral strategies which combine, on one hand, the need that exists in the economic and social system of the receiver countries, and, on the other, avoid the draining of human resources but promote the political, economic and social development of the originating countries.
We declare our commitment to exchange information and experience in the development of migratory policies from the different member parties of the Socialist International.
If we are capable of building strategies which avoid marginalising and indeed promote the presence, participation and expression of immigrants in all aspects of the collective life of our countries, we will be on the path towards a future in which this widening of the citizenship will become a pillar of cohabitation, and so the best way of guaranteeing security. For this, we must raise the need to find ways of implementing participation in public affairs. It is with the right to vote that the immigrant population demonstrates perhaps more than in any other area the idea of a society of citizens with equal rights that we socialists are proposing and defending, as well as it being necessary to guarantee and promote the right to vote of migrant citizens in their originating countries.
The Committee reiterates that the solution to migratory flows does not lie in building physical barriers between countries. We condemn the construction of the wall on the US-Latin American border and respectfully call on the United States Congress to move forward integral migratory reform which gives order and certainty to migration in that country.
Finally, the Committee thanks both PASOK and the CHP for their hospitality and the efforts both have made towards the success of this meeting.