East-West migration discussed at Socialist International meeting in Chisinau

21-22 July 2006

The Socialist International Committee on Migrations met in Chisinau on 21 and 22 July 2006. Examining a subject which touches the lives of many people in Moldova - East-West Migration - the meeting was hosted by the Social Democratic Party (SDPM) and the Democratic Party of Moldova (DPM) and was the focus of great attention in the country.

Alongside delegates from SI member parties, a number of NGOs and other representatives of international organisations working on this issue participated in the discussions of the Committee.

The meeting was opened by addresses from Luis Ayala, Secretary General of the Socialist International; Amalia García, Chair of the Committee and Governor of the State of Zacatecas, PRD, Mexico; Dumitru Diacov, Chair of the DPM and Eduard Musuc, on behalf of the SDPM.

The current situation regarding migration in Moldova and its social and economic impact were presented by the Chair of Committee for Social Protection, Health and Family Affairs of the Moldovan Parliament, Valentina Buliga, also Vice-Chair of the DPM; by Loretta Handrabura, President of the National Council of SDPM Moldova; and by Ruslan Tanasa, expert on Migration from the State University of Moldova; with further contributions from the representative of the International Labour Organisation, ILO, in the region, Jana Costachi; from Liuba Revenko, the Programme coordinator of USAID and the NGO Winrock; from Ana Revenco, the Director of the International Centre ‘La Strada’ a network of Prevention of Trafficking in Women in Central and Eastern Europe and from Veronica Lupu from the Preventive Centre against Women Trafficking in Moldova.

The different aspects of migration in the country and the region were analysed in depth, drawing on the positive and negative effects of migration and the policies, approaches and other initiatives required from the public sector and the civil society to address positively the issue.

The particular case of illegal migration was discussed at length, highlighting the absence of status for illegal migrants in the country of destination and all the subsequent dangers: illegal employment and labour exploitation, lack of access to health care systems and violations of their human rights.

One of the most disturbing effects of migration in the region was that of human trafficking, especially women and children, an issue upon which the Committee members called for combined and collective efforts of both governments of origin and destination countries, with the participation of the private sector, the civil society and NGOs, emphasising the need for more public information and awareness campaigns to combat the trafficking of human beings.

Another aspect underlined in the discussions was the need for the international community to move forward more decisively in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals to overcome poverty and other conditions that are today forcing people to migrate. Delegates also emphasised the need to deepen co-operation between governments to strengthen the protection of the rights of migrants and further develop the capacity of response of the international institutions to migration.

Among specific suggestions addressed was also the strengthening of the political rights of migrants making it possible for them to vote from abroad for the elections in their country of origin, as a specific policy to be promoted by social democrats. The Committee equally expressed its support for the call of the Moldovan delegates for more humane procedures with regard to the status of Moldovan migrants.

Thanking the hosts for their hospitality and their many contributions to the success of the meeting, the delegates approved a Declaration highlighting some of the issues addressed in the discussions.

During the programme of activities in Moldova, the President of the Republic, H.E. Vladimir Voronin, received the Socialist International Secretary General on July 21 and the President of the Moldovan Parliament, Mr Marian Lupu, received a delegation of the Committee on July 22.

The next meeting of the Committee will be held, as planned, in Greece and Turkey, hosted by the SI member parties, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement, PASOK and the Republican People’s Party, CHP, on 24 and 25 October 2006, on the island of Rhodes and in the city of Marmaris. The Committee will also be contributing to the United Nations High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development to be held in New York on 14 and 15 September 2006.