Marrakech manifesto: for women’s rights in migration policies

As governments meet in Marrakech to adopt the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular
Migration (GCM), we call on them to put women’s human rights at the center of migration policy.
The GCM promises to be “gender-responsive” and “a milestone in the history of the global dialogue and
international cooperation on migration.” This will only be possible if women’s human rights, international
labour standards and the following principles are fully incorporated into all national, regional and global
migration policy.

1. Participation: Ensure the full, equal and meaningful participation of women and girls in migration
in the policy spaces that impact their lives at local, national, regional and global levels. Adequate
funding and leadership opportunities should be promoted and tokenism avoided.

2. Non-Discrimination: Prioritize ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls,
regardless of migration status, race, ethnicity, nationality, caste, class, age, religion, sexual orientation,
gender identity, disability, health and pregnancy status, civil status or occupation. Realize migrant
women’s rights and access to public services, including sexual and reproductive health care, labour
rights, and justice, regardless of migration status. Address the intersection of identities and multiple
oppressions through integrated policy responses.

3. End Violence: Work to eliminate sexual and gender-based violence, exploitation and other forms of
violence affecting women in countries of origin, transit and destination. Facilitate justice and
accountability for these crimes by ensuring that migrant women and girls can report such violence
without the risk of detention or deportation. Commit to concrete measures to end violence against
women, including migrant women, in the workplace.

4. Safe Pathways: Provide access to regularization, permanent residence and pathways to citizenship,
including family reunification initiatives. End the criminalization of migrants and those who assist
them and defend their rights. End arbitrary detention regardless of migration status. Never return
migrant women and families to countries where they may experience torture or other cruel, inhumane
or degrading treatment or punishment or other serious human rights abuses; and ensure that the
principle of non-refoulement is always applied. Do not condition development aid on another country’s
facilitation of returned migrants or third country migration enforcement.

5. Labour Rights: Affirm, in practice, freedom of association and full labour rights for migrant women
and for all migrant workers, including domestic and informal sector workers, consistent with human
rights and International Labour Organization (ILO) standards. Recognize, redistribute, and reduce
women’s unpaid care burden. Promote policies that expand women’s rights rather than policies that
“protect women” which may undermine and limit their autonomy.

6. Rights at International Borders: Ensure that human rights are at the center of all border governance
measures and are applied without exception to all who present themselves or cross at international
borders — whether migrants, refugees or asylum seekers, in irregular status or in other situations of
vulnerability—and that individual consideration is provided to ensure effective protection and access
to justice. Ensure that border policies identify the particular physical, psycho-social, economic and
legal needs of women, including the heightened risk of violence and exploitation.

7. Equitable Development: Invest in human rights-based equitable development that meets the
economic, social and cultural rights of women and their families, facilitating the election of migration
as a choice, not a necessity.