WACC to co-host UN side event to share best practices for meeting communication needs of migrants

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WACC to co-host UN side event to share best practices for meeting communication needs of migrants

The World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) and the Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM) are hosting a side event with the civil society space at the upcoming International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) scheduled May 17-20, 2022, in New York City.

The side event, Meeting Migrants’ Information and Communication Needs: Grassroots Experiences from Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, will gather WACC and APMM partner representatives to share lessons and best practices for addressing unmet communication and information needs of migrants. Countries represented include the Philippines, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Mexico, and Colombia.

Topics include migrants’ access to information, access to media technology, and connectivity, fair media representation, and their ability to exercise their right to free expression and participate in their new communities.

The initiatives of WACC-supported grassroots initiatives “are helping to enhance the capacity of migrant groups to engage in advocacy, build relationships with media houses, and produce a body of evidence to help raise public awareness about the issues they face,” says Lorenzo Vargas, WACC programme manager for Communication for Social Change. “This work is relevant because as migration and displacement have increased, so has media coverage, not all of them positive. Some coverage has led to increased hostility towards migrants, as well as misinformation and disinformation.”

Vargas adds, “the ability of migrants and refugees to make themselves heard in their host societies and to contribute to public discourse on migration is severely curtailed by linguistic, cultural, economic, and political factors.”

WACC and APMM hope that the event will enable international audiences to learn about these grassroots efforts, raise awareness about the critical link between communication rights and migrants’ rights, and encourage other stakeholders (such as civil society organizations, governments, multilateral organizations, the private sector and media) “to embrace communication rights as an essential dimension of the promotion of migrants’ human rights,” says Vargas.

The side event is relevant to issues discussed at the IMRF, including inclusion and cohesion, information provision, reducing vulnerabilities, and eliminating discrimination, explains Vargas. “Information and communication issues are cross-cutting and have a major impact on social cohesion, vulnerabilities, and discrimination because they affect how migrants are perceived in their host societies, their ability to make their voices heard, and the extent to which they can access vital information.”

The IMRF is the primary intergovernmental global platform to discuss and share progress on the implementation of all aspects of the Global Compact on Migration, an international UN Agreement on migration that was adopted in 2018 at the Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in Morocco.

The WACC-APMM side event will include presentations from Carolina Martinez (program manager for migration, Grupo Comunicarte, Colombia), Marie Pia Rieublanc ( manager, La Sandia Digital, México), Daoud G. Kuttab (directorJordan Community Media Network,Jordan), Julia Puno (research manager, Asia Pacific Research Network, Philippines), and Salma Sakr (advocacy officer, Anti-Racism Movement, Lebanon)

Lorenzo Vargas, WACC programme manager for Migration and Communication Rights, will deliver the introduction, and Rey Asis, APMM manager for advocacy and campaigns, will moderate the discussion.

Above: Filipina domestic workers in Hong Kong gather to discuss their rights using a study guide published by the Asia-Pacific Mission for Migrant Workers. There are roughly 370,000 foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong, mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia. Photo: Paul Jeffrey/Life on Earth