Back in 2000, the United Nations passed a resolution proclaiming December 18 as International Migrants Day to reflect its adoption of the 1990 International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families Resolution. The resolution respects the full protection of the human rights of all migrants, and the need to make further efforts to ensure respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants. This day sets in eyes to incorporate the key interest of migrants and their communities on the agenda, and highlight the threats they encounter and enjoy their achievements. The International Migrants Day is envisioned initially as an opportunity to identify the contributions made by myriads of migrants to the flowing economies of their home and host nations, and to develop respect for their fundamental human rights. The UN proclamation invites UN member states, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to observe this day by disseminating information on human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants, sharing experiences, and undertaking action to ensure the protection of migrants.
The Goodwill Ambassador reminded that migrant workers comprise one of the most vulnerable groups exposed to racial-, gender-, and class-based discrimination and violence. With the global economic crisis came the destabilization of the economy, social cohesion and increased human rights violations. Irregular and undocumented migrant workers receive the greatest negative impact. Aside from low and unpaid salaries, inhuman working and living conditions, lack of protective policies in receiving countries especially in terms of access to redress or legal assistance, arbitrary detention and torture, the lack of basic necessities such as health care, and not being able to exercise freedom of association and freedom of speech, they are now in constant threat of unemployment, underemployment and deployment back to their home countries. Many have refused to go back, preferring to take odd jobs, cut downs on wage and working hours and risk debt bondage and getting caught. “The threat of continued global recession brings forth higher rates of unemployment, leaving thousands of migrant workers without a job and without financial security”, said Dr. Homoud.
Dr. Homoud while highlighting the importance of the celebrations of migrant day said “it provides us with an opportunity to identify the contributions made by thousands of migrants to the progress and prosperity of number of nations around the world and in addition to curb all kinds of violence and abuse faced by the migrants and their family members and advocate respect for their primary human rights”. He urged governments around the world to refine the UN Convention on Migrant Workers and to ensure responsibilities for protecting the fundamental rights of migrants. “The world has long since recognized the contribution of migrants for themselves, their immediate families, for their expanded and extended households, for their communities of origin and for their communities in their countries of destination. Their contributions to societies, in terms of their remittances, have earned for them the title of heroes and heroines”, added Dr. Homoud. He regretted on situation where despite their contributions and sacrifices, their protection especially remains largely ignored. “Migrants are viewed merely as workers or laborers - their rights as full human beings not factored in by most of the host countries where they go or even by their own sending countries, where they come from”, said Dr. Homoud.
Speaking on the occasion to mark this day Dr. Homoud said that most people migrate in the look out of better prospects, hoping to add to their own potential with infrastructures and resources in the destination nation just to benefit themselves and their family members, who often follow or accompany them. Local societies or regional organizations as a whole are also the beneficiaries both in native places and at destinations nations. The multicultural background of these individuals and the policies that regulate their movement make human mobility one of the most perplexed issues that the world is facing today. “Effective planning and actions are needed to regulate these issues”, said Dr. Homoud. He further went on to say “we call for an immigration policy built on the principles of dignity, justice, and equality that uphold the civil and human rights of all people, regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, immigration or citizenship status. We call on the global community, including the stakeholders, to ratify the UN International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, which establishes a comprehensive framework to uphold the rights of migrants”.
The Goodwill Ambassador believed migration aside its negative effects, positively promote development worldwide, adding that migrants are agents who acts as monitors in development through investments, remittances and skills transfers. He described migration as a complex historical phenomenon which calls for urgent attention from all governments to support the efficient management of the migration processes. Dr. Homoud lauded the last climate change summit in Copenhagen, but said “greater efforts are needed beyond Copenhagen to help tackle the complex issue of environmental and climate-induced migration especially as the world marks international migration day”. he further added “as the world celebrates yet another day for the great migrants, the world is also reminded that there are still so much more to be done to empower them and to protect them as they continue to sacrifice to protect their families and their nations”.
Dr. Homoud urged states and stakeholders to support IIMSAM and the cause undertaken by it under guidance of His Excellency Ambassador Remigio M. Maradona, its Secretary General. He said “it is well known that due to global warming, rates of poverty, malnutrition and hunger are increasing in alarming proportion and it is a forcing factor for migration and vulnerability to conflict in affected areas. Speaking further he contended that hunger and malnutrition related issues should be dealt with well-built and planned intent, “if we are able to bring to an end to adverse impacts of migration due to food scarcity even in some conflicted zones of the world, I bet, we could achieve the target of peace in those areas since from the ages, man is known for fighting for his basic needs and food being on the top of that list”.