International Migrants Day

December 18th marks the 20th anniversary of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. The United Nations Office at Geneva released this statement today and said: ”We are especially concerned at the recent rise of intolerance, xenophobia and racism directed at migrants and their communities, which has sometimes manifested itself in acts of extreme violence against migrants in transit and in destination countries. Migrants can also easily fall prey to criminal traffickers and smugglers. Their irregular status often makes these men, women and children afraid or unable to seek protection and relief from the concerned authorities.”

The Convention’s objective is to foster respect for migrants’ human rights and guarantee equality of treatment and the same working conditions for migrants and nationals. To view which countries have ratified the Convention, you can look at December 18’s map.

According to the organization Migrant Forum in Asia, over 214 million people worldwide are migrants who live, work, raise families, and make significant contributions to both their host countries and their countries of origin.

Human Rights Watch recently released their Rights On The Line report which is a roundup of their monitoring of violations of migrants’ rights around the world. Their summary states that the report documents abuses ”primarily in low-wage sectors such as domestic work, agriculture, and construction; violations of the right to health while in detention, including access to HIV and TB testing and treatment; limited investigations into abuse against migrants; trafficking; and overly restrictive entry, screening, and immigration detention policies that expose migrants to abuse, extortion, and violence at border crossings.”

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