February 4, 2011

World Assembly of Migrants Concludes

Posted by Gerald Lenoir, BAJI Executive Director
February 4, 2011

 The World Assembly of Migrants wrapped up today but, from my point of view, left much to be desired.  It is a complete misnomer to call it a "world assembly."  First of all, the attendance was poor with only about 100 people.  The overwhelming majority of migrants who were there were either from France or the French-speaking countries of West and North Africa.  The rest of the world was left out of the process.

The "Charter of Migrants" that emerged from the process was so general as to be rendered useless.  Although the initial draft was more progressive, after much tortuous debate and the consideration of amendments, the charter does not include any references to racism, the impact of economic globalization, the rights of indigenous people, and the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and health access for people with HIV/AIDS and people with disabilities.

One participant argued that references to racism should not be included because we're all part of the human race.  This was an especially blatant omission, since the conference was held on Goree Island, one of the main sites where the brutal, forced migration called the Transatlantic Slave Trade was launched.  The same speaker also swayed many of the people present that the discrimination against LGBT people should not be included because this is a matter of "personal preference."

I was disappointed in the process and the outcome.  I am not hopeful that the "Charter of Migrants" will be at all useful or usable.

On Sunday the World Social Forum will begin with a mass march.  The workshops and plenaries begin on Monday.  I will continue blogging about WSF until February 11.


  1. Thank you for your clarity and honesty.

  2. The Doctrine of Discovery is illegal.