Global Migration and the Quest for Justice
▲ Photo by Carol Barton
United Methodist Women is present in Athens, Greece this week to attend global deliberations on migration, development and human rights at the Civil Society Days event at the Third Global Forum on Migration and Development. We will be sharing the experience with you!
The United Methodist Church has committed to understanding and responding to the realities of Global Migration in a new 2008 General Conference resolution, Global Migration and the Quest for Justice. That resolution affirms, “Christ calls us as Christians to drop barriers of tribe and nation and to embrace all as children of God.” The General Board of Global Ministries in conjunction with the United Methodist Task Force on Immigration developed the resolution.
For United Methodist Women, a concern for global migration expands our Immigrant/Civil Rights Initiative, challenging us to learn about what drives migration in many parts of the world, the experience of migrants, and the growing rejection of migrants by nations of the global North. Our particular concern is about migrant women and their children.
This is not new—through International Ministries we have supported ministries with women migrants, including the Batis Center for Women in the Philippines; Bethune House in Hong Kong, SAR, P.R. of China; and protection for women migrant workers in the Persian Gulf through the Middle East Council of Churches. In the US, our National Mission Institutions often serve immigrant communities. And in our advocacy work at the UN and in Washington, DC, around global debt and trade, we have addressed some of the causes of migration.
United Methodist Women was invited to be present at the Civil Society Days event at the third Global Forum on Migration and Development in Athens, Greece. Two hundred non-governmental delegates from around the world are gathering to discuss the links of migration and development as well as concern for the rights of migrants. This event takes place in conjunction with a meeting of governments – the Global Forum on Migration and Development. Carol Barton, executive for community action and lead staff for the Immigrant/Civil Rights Initiative is representing United Methodist Women in Athens at the Civil Society Days. In addition, she is attending a parallel People’s Global Action on Migration, Development and Human Rights.
This five-day event is by and for immigrant communities from around the world. It is an opportunity for them to share experiences and organizing strategies and to network to build a global voice in defense of migrant rights. Migrant communities in Athens – including Albanians, Filipinos, Bangladeshis, Nigerians, Zimbabweans and others, will host the event.
Through our presence in Athens at the Civil Society Days and the People’s Global Action, we hope to:
- Hear stories about the realities of women and children migrants around the world to share with members and consider how we might respond
- Deepen our awareness and understanding of migration flows to Europe, and current European migration policies. How are these similar or different to current US policy? How are church and community organizations responding, and what can we learn from them?
- Get to know women leaders in migrant rights organizations regionally and globally who can continue to resource UMW and partner with us in global advocacy for migrant women’s rights
- Understand some of the root causes of global migration, and how both governments and civil society organizations are responding. How does this inform our long-term commitment to a just international economic order and human rights?
In the coming days, look for updates through www.umwmission.org, www.umwonline.org, and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. We’ll share voices from women migrants and migrant rights organizations; descriptions of migrant realities in Europe; and debates about what migration has to do with “development.” Tune in this week to learn more about it!