Tunis Principles on Migration and Development

Tunis Principles on Migration and Development

Adopted by the Network of Arab Liberals in Tunis, August 19 2009

• We the members of the Network of Arab Liberals (NAL) that comprises liberal parties, personalities, and NGOs from Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, the Sudan, and Lebanon, believe in the basic liberal principles represented in democracy, freedoms for individuals and groups, the rule of law, human rights, equal opportunity, social justice, equality among all human beings (without discrimination based on race, religion, and gender), and respect for the rights of minorities. 

• We believe in human beings as a sublime value; are inspired by our interest in dialogue with our liberal partners and friends concerning all the issues of interest to human beings; and we believe in the necessity of upholding the dialogue and interaction of civilizations in all fields (cultural, social, economic, and political) in a manner which guarantees common interest. 

• Because immigration represents an aspect of the individual and social freedoms which we both defend, we came today to warn against the seriousness of the paradox of the age of globalization, which witnesses the free movement of capital and goods, on the one hand, and a rather increasing restriction on the natural movement of individuals, as well as the aggravation of the policies opposing human rights from the various perspectives, which reduces the opportunities of equal and sustainable development in the Arab world as much as Europe – as a guarantee for further stability and security. 

• We believe that the relationship between the Arab world and Europe has a multidimensional strategic depth, emphasized by the historical impact north and south. This relation requires from the liberal family an exceptional effort to fend off the threats of all forms of extremism through constructive and responsible dialogue. 

• Believing in the seriousness of the dimensions connected to the issue of immigration, we held a workshop in Tunisia 17 August-20 August, which led to a consensus among participating Arab liberal parties related to the following ideas: 

  •   Alerting for the gravity of the deterioration of the rights of immigrants in Europe; 
  •   Respecting civil, cultural, and social freedoms of the immigrants; 
  •   Opening legitimate channels for immigration; 
  •   Reviewing the legislations discriminating between indigenous and immigrant labor; 
  •   Generalizing the model of the Tunisian-French Immigration Agreement regulating immigration to all EU countries due to the balance this agreement strikes between the needs of both states; 
  •   Demanding that European governments remove the impairing barriers facing immigrants while establishing a legal framework in a manner that ensures the needs of both sides; 
  •   Dismantling detention centers, because they violate human rights; 
  •   Promoting communication through a joint mechanism among the sending and the receiving countries to reduce the threats of illegal immigration, as well as promoting development cooperation; 
  •   Reconsidering the system of visa issuance by the European and Arab governments, which restricts the freedom of movement and travel; 
  •   Establishing a joint observatory for immigration affairs; 
  •   Developing electronic gates and mechanisms that help determine job opportunities available in the receiving countries and the needs of the job markets; 
  •   Creating a permanent framework for dialogue and communication among European and Arab liberals; 
  •   Working towards making the job market open between Europe and the Arab world; and 
  •   Involving the media constantly to give a realistic image to face racial incitement against immigrants. 

All the aforementioned preliminary ideas hopefully establish a basis for a fruitful dialogue that would help us reach joint positions concerning the issue of immigration. This would necessarily promote the European-Arab friendship and ensure the causes of joint development and continuous cooperation with the purpose of disseminating security and peace among our people. 

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