The Cross Regional Center for Refugees and Migrants (CCRM) in partnership with the Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) organized a Civil Society Consultation on the 24-25 of September, 2017 for GCC countries. The Consultation aimed to bring together local civil society organizations working in the Gulf to discuss the situation of migrant workers in the region and to develop a number of recommendations to improve their conditions. Discussions centered around a number of key themes including access to justice, information, the use of technology, skilling, recruitment reform and new developments in the region. The discussion built on the output of the Abu-Dhabi Dialogue, which is a regional consultative process bringing together countries of origins in Asia and gulf countries focusing on improving the governance of migration in this corridor, and highlighted the perspectives of local civil society actors.
Governance of migration in the GCC was highlighted as one key area; participants emphasized the need for greater flexibility in the labor market to accommodate employer and employee preferences and uphold the rights of migrants. A number of new initiatives were highlighted in this regard, most notably the Bahraini flexi permit system. Access to justice was identified as one of the priorities where more efforts need to be focused. The role of civil society in accessing migrant workers, informing them on their rights and empowering them to access justice was also highlighted.
Outcomes of the MENA civil society consultation as well as outcomes of GCC consultation were presented at the governmental consultation organized by the Economic and Social Commission for East Asia (ESCWA).