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A new Guide on strengthening legal protection of migrants’ rights is now available

A user-friendly Guide to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (ICRMW) is now available. Seeking to better protect migrants’ human rights and dignity, the new publication encourages governments worldwide to ratify and implement the Convention.

A user-friendly Guide to the International Convention on the rights of migrants was launched 30 April, ahead of the International Workers’ Day on 1 May. © OHCHRThe Guide, prepared by a Steering Committee -- a network of concerned intergovernmental agencies and international civil society groups chaired by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), was launched on 30 April in Geneva.

"This new guide fills a big gap and really tells the story -- why this convention is important, why it needs to be ratified, and why the arguments against it are just hot air," said Patrick Taran, Senior Migration Specialist of the International Labour Organization (ILO), who represented the Steering Committee on the launch.

"The Guide shows that the Convention is about protecting people's rights and the only way to effectively do that is to recognize and enforce those rights in national law by ratifying the treaty," Taran said, as the Guide was presented to the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, which monitors implementation of the Convention.

The new publication seeks to inform and persuade governments worldwide to sign and ratify the Convention, and to implement it at the national level.

“Migration policies and practices can only be viable and effective when they are based on a firm foundation of legal norms, and thus operate under the rule of law,” the Guide states.

“International standards provide a framework for national legislation, policy and practice as well as for cooperation within States and between States.”

The Convention is more timely than ever as the scale of international migration has substantially increased in recent years and become a truly global phenomenon. More than 200 million people now live outside their country of origin, with an estimated 100 million among them economically active; in other words employed, self-employed or otherwise engaged in remunerative activity.

The Guide provides a summary of Convention and discusses the process of ratification. Of particular importance to policy makers, parliamentarians and advocates, it outlines the pros and cons of ratification and refutes various misconceptions about the Convention.

For example, it is often said that the Convention would favour irregular migration whereas in fact, it is strongly opposed to irregular migration and contains specific provisions to combat it.

The Guide also discusses the two complementary ILO conventions on migrant workers and migration for employment that comprise a “Charter on International Migration” together with the ICRMW.

To date, 41 countries have ratified the ICRMW, far short of the 120 or more countries worldwide for which migration is an important feature, either as origin, transit or destination countries.

April 2009