Promoting Life at the Frontiers

Scalabrinian Sisters, MSCS

Civil society advocacy on the protagonism of migrants and refugees and their right to have rights.

In the city of Tijuana, Mexico, the 2nd International Conference “Promoting Life at the Frontiers” convened by the Scalabrinian Centre for Migration Studies (CSEM) took place from March 21 to 23, 2023, with the participation of more than 100 speakers from some 20 countries in Latin America, Africa, and Europe and 900 online participants.

The conference aimed to strengthen the impact of civil society at regional, national, and international levels in promoting migrants’ and refugees’ protagonism in developing and defending their rights and managing the challenges posed by migration. The proposal formulated is based on the promotion of studies and institutional reflections between academics and agents working with people and people in situations of mobility, with the aim of deepening knowledge of this phenomenon and optimizing advocacy efforts.

Following three days of interaction, it was possible to deepen the knowledge that actors present – migrant collectives, civil society entities, and academics – established with international migration bodies based on their personal and professional experiences in order to reaffirm the understanding of the migration phenomenon.

The historical and fundamental role of civil society in receiving migrants was mentioned; they are the first to offer humanitarian responses, to make the necessary denunciations, to know the daily trajectories and expectations, to orient them in the territories where they live, and to produce data and knowledge on migratory phenomena. This organizational capital must be taken into account in interactions with other actors, particularly and strategically with international organizations when it comes to building their alliances.

On this front, collaboration with academia and migrant collectives are fundamental tools in the production of data. For this reason, the commitment to strengthen and develop strategies and skills in advocacy for the right to migrate at transnational, national, and subnational levels was reaffirmed.

The care and assistance of migrant and refugee persons emerged as a point of focus during the discussion, as well as the need for self-reflection on what can be improved, for example, by engaging more with self-organized movements of migrant and refugee collectives.

It was concluded that the first step being taken by the faith community is the formation of leadership to deal with the reality of migration, adopting such work as a priority commitment in the general work of transforming reality.

Ultimately, it must be remembered that migration is part of the political and cultural reality of every country. Actions in favor of immigrants must therefore be global and inclusive for the population directly affected, as well as for the people living in receiving territories.