Part Two of our Three Part Series is submitted by Phyllis Tierney, SSJ (Rochester) This Side Event was an Afternoon Session UN NGO Side Event on Tuesday, April 12,2016. It was sponsored by the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See, Augustinians International, Congregations of St. Joseph, Vincentians, Passionists International, and the NGO Committee on Migration.

The focus of the afternoon side event was to critique the 2030 Agenda of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the light of its ambitious slogan, “Leave No One Behind.”  Each of the speakers focused on migrants and refugees, vulnerable populations who are often left behind in the formation of social policies. The ongoing challenge is that these populations are often hidden in their undocumented status. They are not included in population statistics.  Their stories are not told because they are not represented at the tables where decision makers craft their policies.  Even the topic of migration has no official place in the Commission on Population and Development.sueeileen

Each of the six speakers spoke to a particular aspect of migration which includes human trafficking for labor and slave trade as well as the economic disparities in their home countries which cause people to leave.  It is difficult to do adequate data collection of those who are in transition and to develop policies to adequately address the issue.  The theme of the afternoon session was “What can we do better to see people are counted so everyone can count!”

bernaditoauzaIn giving his opening remarks, Archbishop Bernadito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, stated that migration affects almost every country or continent in the world, either as a destination or receiver.  We have to develop a culture of concern embedded in the Gospel rather than in the globalization of indifference.   Ambassador Ashraf El Nour, Permanent Observer of the International Organization for Migration noted that 2015 was a significant year for migration.  Policy makers and statisticians are now required to report data.  The STGS for 2030 include development of policies directed toward migrant populations within their specific goals.  Sister Sue Wilson, CSJ, Director of the Office of Systemic Change in Canada for the Canadian Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph spoke to the issue of labor trafficking which is driven by economic disparities in a person’s home country.  She noted that while workers have the right to report abuses, fear of repercussions often prevents them.  Governments need to take human rights’ approaches to this issue.  Consumers need to put pressure on companies regarding supply chains for their products which are often produced by slave labor.   Augustinian Father Anthony Benedetto Pizzo, OSA spoke to the issue of detention centers and noted that funding cuts in social agencies  by state legislators has compounded the problems faced by those in irregular status.  Sister Eileen McCann, CSJ, Brentwood, is a lawyer for the undocumented.  She spoke to the challenges of DACA and DAPA recipients currently awaiting review by the Supreme Court and the unprecedented deportation of migrants by Homeland Security.  The final speaker, Tom Cunningham, an organizational psychologist from DePaul University, noted that 244 million have been displaced by barrel bombs in the Mideast.  This is the largest exodus of migrants since World War II.  He noted that collection of data regarding migration has been quantitative rather than qualitative and more analysis and interpretation is needed.  There needs to be a shared agreement on a framework for analysis in order to better meet the needs of migrants.  Training for those involved in crisis intervention must be to understand the data they are receiving and actively listen to refugees in order to value, share and protect them.  The panel was ably moderated by Augustinian Father Emeka Obiezu, OSA, UN Representative of the Curia Generalizia Agostiniana.

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