IGOHR Calls for More Protection of Migrants’ Rights Globally

IGOHR Calls for More Protection of Migrants’ Rights Globally 19 December 2016

The International Gulf Organization for Human Rights (IGOHR) is honored to participate in marking this year’s International Migrants Day on December 18th 2016 together with the international community represented by the United Nations. IGOHR uses this opportunity to express its sincere sympathy to the families of thousands of migrants and refuges who lost their lives while making the perilous journey to another country in search for safety and security from violence and wars in their home countries as well as for better living conditions. Migrants being an integral part in all societies and economies around the world, IGOHR calls on everyone to build a strong bond of friendship with migrant communities that foster peace, tolerance, acceptance and mutual respect.

Due to increase in the number of conflicts and terrorism taking place in different parts of the world, international migration has become a global phenomenon that affects the whole earth. In the past few years, people are moving from one country to another in an unprecedented scale and almost every country in the world today have a percentage of migrants in their communities. According to UN estimates, the number of international migrants had reached 244 million in 2015 including about 20 million refugees. This figure has surely sore during this year as many individuals have sort to leave their countries for economic, political or other reasons. Hence, the greater the number of international migrants the more important it is to give more attention on international migration as migrants and refugees worldwide face many challenges with regards to exercising their fundamental rights. But if managed properly, international migration can bring great benefits both to the host countries and the countries of origin as well as the families and loved ones of these migrants.

It is in this regard that the UN General Assembly on 18th December 1990 adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Migrants Workers and Members of Their Families (A/RES/45/158) and a decade later in 2000 it encouraged all its member states to observe December 18th as the International Migrants Day. On this day, governments, international social and civil society organizations, NGOs and individuals engage in different activities that aim to highlight the sufferings and plight of migrants and their families. They also help raise public awareness on the human rights, social, cultural and political freedoms of migrants as well as show case the socio-economic importance of international migration.

People general move out of their home countries for various reasons – persecution, conflicts (as in the case of Syria, Palestine, Iraq Yemen, and South Sudan), famine, disaster, better job opportunities in the destination country etc. The journey – by land, desert or sea – is often dangerous and hazardous; and most migrants and refugees became vulnerable to human trafficking, people smugglers as well as bad weather conditions which may result in them losing their lives in the process. For example, recent statistics by the UN place the death toll of international migrants at 3,800 up from 3,771 in 2015; thus making 2016 the deadliest year ever in the history of migration.

Additionally, as the economic and financial situation of most countries hosting migrant communities take a downturn, migrant workers and irregular migrants face discrimination and violence due to austerity measures implemented by these countries. Hence, with the increase in international human mobility and the complex nature of their journey, IGOHR emphasizes on the urgent need for all nations to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families. They need to be committed by establishing national policies based human rights principles to address the growing issues of migration and endeavor to respect the fundamental rights of migrants within their territory.

IGOHR strongly urges Member States of the UN and their partners to decide on and implement practical measures that will facilitate labor mobility; protect the rights of migrants, especial women and children; and that fosters sustainable development as mentioned in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. IGOHR further condemns all forms of discrimination and racism against migrants around the world and calls on all governments to improve on the public perception of international migration and enhance the spirit of tolerance, acceptance of others within their territory. If this is supported by the right policies and human rights protections, migration will be of benefit to all – migrants of their families, countries of origin, transit and destination. IGOHR also calls on the UN and the international community to take responsibility and work hard to put an end to all wars, conflicts, political tensions and terrorist activities in the world which will in turn stop the suffering endured by migrants.