IOM and FOPREL lay the foundation for a common migration framework inthe region

Costa Rica
13 June, 2019

Marcelo Pisani (left), IOM’s regional director for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, and Santiago Rivas (right), Secretary Executive of FOPREL, during the signing of the agreement. Co-signs as honor witness Carlos Ricardo Benavides, current president of the Legislative Assembly of the Republic of Costa Rica.


San José- International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Forum of Legislative Presidents of Central America and the Caribbean Basin (FOPREL, as per its Spanish abbreviation) have started a cooperation process with the goal to create Model Law in the Matter of Migration, to impact the whole region.

Cooperation spheres, information sharing and technical assistance capabilities from IOM and FOPREL were written down in an agreement signed on June 11th, at the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica. This framework is expected to direct and ease the activities of the member States –through both their legislative and executive branches—while guarding their adherence to international standards in migrants’ Human Rights protection and to accepted best practices in migration governance.

Migrant peoples currently represent 3% of the world population. The region of Central America, México, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, is currently home to around 2.8 million migrants, and the number of their citizens living abroad is close to 20.7 million.  Historically, migrant groups have transformed the region, bringing with them new opportunities. This initiative is exemplary of the member States to answer in the face of this changing dynamics, while recognizing the unique complexities of the region and guaranteeing the welfare of both their local residents and the migrants.

“Our region has at least four challenges regarding migration: addressing irregular migration, generating the proper conditions for return, creating regular migration channels, and fighting xenophobic discourses”, explained Marcelo Pisani, IOM’s regional director for Central America, North America and the Caribbean. “With this alliance we can create framework to be accessed by each country, and make it coherent, modern and adapted to the specific needs of our region”.

FOPREL has previously developed other framework policy, like the Trafficking in Persons Model Law. IOM has responded favorably to FOPREL’s request to lead the workgroup and will join with all its experience and expertise as a specialized organization in migration issues.

“All presidents of legislative Powers integrating FOPREL have a firm commitment towards strengthening our legal frameworks in migratory topics. We want to promote the integral development of the region, and provide concrete answers to the challenges migration poses”, said Dr. Santiago Rivas Leclair, Secretary Executive of FOPREL. “This agreement will improve the technical capacities available to the legislative branches in the region and will enable them to play greater roles in migratory governance”.

This proposal Will help member States in coordinating their legal framework and will be a reference for national processes of strengthening existing legislation. Up to this moment, no other legal instrument had been created to this end.

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