Date: 17/12/2010 - 18:08
GENEVA – “Today, we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families*, a key day that has been marked by worrying trends in the situation of migrants, both regular and irregular, around the world.
What should be an opportunity to celebrate the successful adjustment of countless migrants to their new environments, enriching their new societies with their cultures, ideas, technologies, skills, or the diversity that they bring, has become a dire warning to renew our efforts to effectively address the legal, social and practical challenges that migrants face.
This year, we particularly note with concern the increasing trend towards criminalization of migration in irregular situation. This criminalization makes migrants in irregular situation more likely to face discrimination, exclusion, exploitation, abuse at all stages of the migration process.
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.
We deplore the insufficient progress in mainstreaming human rights into migration governance and wish to remind all stakeholders that migration can be an essential component of development and prosperity in countries of destination, transit and origin in all regions of the world.
We also wish to pay respect to those migrants who have perished at sea while attempting to reach far-off destinations in spite of the inherent dangers of such journeys.
Once again, we reiterate the importance of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, the first comprehensive international treaty focusing on the protection of migrant workers’ rights and on the link between migration and human rights. This Convention provides very useful guidance for States on how to ensure that migration takes place in humane and equitable conditions and with due respect for the human rights of migrant workers and members of their families.
Finally, in order to continue building the path towards the respect of migrant workers’ rights, we reiterate our call to all States which have not yet done so to accede or ratify the Convention and thus seize the opportunity to undertake an important step to ensure the human rights of every person, including those of millions of women, men and children who have abandoned their homes in search of a better life.
For State parties to the Convention, we urge to make the rights guaranteed therein a reality on the ground through concerted action. Civil society, international organisations, and all concerned stakeholders – individually and collectively, are also invited to make the rights guaranteed in the Convention a reality.”
Statement by the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, Jorge Bustamante, and the Chairman of the UN Committee on Migrant Workers, Abdelhamid El Jamri, to mark International Migrants Day, 18 December 2010