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International Migrants Day

Migrant family in California, United States, 1936 (Source: Wikimedia Commons/Dorothea Lange)18 December 2014 -- In 1997, Filipino and Asian migrant organisations began celebrating and promoting the 18th of December as the International Day of Solidarity with Migrants. This date was chosen because it was on 18 December 1990 that the United Nations adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. In 2000 the UN General Assembly designated 18 December of each year as International Migrants Day.

This day is an opportunity to recognise the contributions made by millions of immigrants to the development and well-being of so many countries in the world, to promote respect for the rights of immigrant workers and their families, and to highlight the issues that are of key interest to migrants and their communities (those they live in and those they leave behind).

Immigrants are often perceived as criminals, economic burdens, security threats and even risks to public health. Negative views about immigrants shape government policy and action on immigration around the world, often resulting in limited or no protection for immigrant workers and their families.

Each year, the United Nations invites UN Member States and intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations to observe International Migrants Day through the dissemination of information on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants, as well as through the sharing of experiences and the design of actions to ensure their protection.

Sources: United Nations Department of Public Information, Amnesty International, December 18

Selected learning materials

Study Guide on Freedom of Movement
Brief introduction to the human right to freedom of movement, including migration.

Human Rights and Trafficking in Persons: A Handbook
This broad-based manual addresses one of the gravest dangers faced by migrants and contains general strategies that can be easily adapted to local contexts. It has proved to be an extremely valuable resource for NGOs worldwide.

UN Road Map: A guide for Asian NGOs to the International Human Rights System and Other Mechanisms (Equitas, formerly Canadian Human Rights Foundation)
This manual addresses human rights for migrant workers under both the United Nations system of human rights protection and the International Labor Organization (ILO). A major focus of the manual is advocating for the rights of women migrant workers.

International Conventions on the rights of migrant workers and their families:

- International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families

- ILO Convention (No. 97) concerning Migration for Employment

- ILO Convention (No. 143) concerning Migrations in Abusive Conditions and the Promotion of Equality of Opportunity and Treatment of Migrant Workers

Useful links

International Migrants Day site (UN)

Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants

International Organization for Migration (IOM)

December 18 organisation

Radio 1812 initiative

Links to organisations that advocate for the rights of migrant workers



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Related e-learning courses

Migration and Asylum (Foundation Course)

EU Migration and Asylum Law and Policies

Forced Migration

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Internally Displaced Persons

Psychosocial Consequences of Migration and Asylum

Related courses and training workshops on Migration and Asylum

HREA Migration and Asylum Training Programme 2014-2015 acrobat (PDF)

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