#InternationalMigrantsDay in the times of Compacts: A #MigrantsDay compilation #IMD2017

migrants day 2017Today is International Migrants Day, marking the 27th anniversary of the adoption of the “International Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families” by the General Assembly of the United Nations. Since last year there seem to have been two additional ratifications, bringing the total number up to 51. This number is unlikely to rise significantly in the near future, since the  the international community (except the USA…) seems to now focus its energy  on the deliberations for the planned “global compact on safe, orderly and regular migration”. These developments also dominate todays’ statements – as in the past years, I have compiled some resources surrounding International Migrants Day:

NOTE: This year, there  is a plethora of hashtags for #InternationalMigrantsDay or #MigrantsDay or both added with the year 2017 or just #IMD2017 or… Maybe time to establish some sort of standard?

NOTE 2: As always, if you want your statement included, drop me a note:

Let’s start with the United Nations (UN); the organisation has a whole website dedicated to the Migrants Day – which is either new or I have not noticed in the previous years. It provides some background, info on events and messages from the Secretary General Antonio Guteress

“We need effective international cooperation in managing migration to ensure that its benefits are most widely distributed and that human rights of all concerned are properly protected – as recognized by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

From the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration Louise Arbour

“When the world convenes under the auspices of the United Nations, it engages in the pursuit of a truly global public interest. In doing so, there is no need to sacrifice national interests and ambitions. In facilitating safe, orderly and regular migration, the international community will enhance individual and collective security and protect the rights and freedoms of migrants and host societies.”

and from Ms Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO

“The 2030 Agenda promises to leave no one behind — this must include every migrant. Protecting their rights and dignity means responding to humanitarian needs and advancing sustainable development. Fundamentally, this is about defending our common humanity through solidarity in action.”

for full statements and more, see the website



As an indicator for the closer cooperation between the UN and the IOM: There is a direct link in the website to the IOM statement on International Migrants day

Director General of IOM, William Lacy Swing, make a somewhat strange statement:

On the one hand, freedom of movement is virtually guaranteed for a privileged and surprisingly broad global citizenry, for whom it has become natural to move safely, freely and relatively inexpensively around the world. This includes tourists, students, visiting family members, migrant workers from the global south (over 2 million Filipinos and 1 million Sri Lankans etc.) as well as the businesspersons who keep our globalized world humming.”

I am not quite sure if I would count the migrant workers from the global South as privileged and in the same class as tourists and businesspersons… They might be “regular”, but that does not mean they are not being exploited and abused.

Also a claim worth investigating/fact-checking: “the shocking reality—first revealed by IOM—of African migrants being sold as slaves and indentured servants”


I could not find a specific ILO press release, except for the announcement of the “four winners of the 2017 Global Media Competition on Labour Migration”


But there is the announcement of a very promising study on “Risks and rewards: Outcomes of labour migration in South-East Asia”



UNICEF have issued a press release “In 2018 make migration safe for every child”, stating that “2018 could be a landmark year for migrant children if countries follow best practices to ensure their safety and wellbeing”



Migrant civil society is once more very active – here is a statement from the Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA), making reference to the planned Global Compact on Migration

“We affirm what is stated in the Civil Society 10 Acts for the Global Compact: The Compact must directly benefit migrants, refugees and societies, save lives, respond to needs, be rights-based, gender and age-sensitive, and oriented to human dignity and human development for all, regardless of migration status.

We call for a strong, inclusive, and substantive partnership among governments and stakeholders, including civil society in the process of creating the Global Compact, as well as its implementation, follow-up, and review.”

And on the very recently adopted Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers

“We express grave concern over the limitations of the consensus document covering only migrant workers who are nationals of ASEAN member states. [….] We also note the discriminatory provisions in Article 2 of the consensus document covering only migrant workers who are documented and those who become undocumented through no fault of their own.”



Trade Unions have also issued statements – here is one from the British TUC “On International Migrants Day, let’s fight for the rights of undocumented workers”:




…and related a flyer by UnionMigrantNet:



There are also several newspaper reports – here is one from renowned migration reporter Rejimon Kuttappan (also a regular participant at the PGA / D)




About Dr. Stefan Rother

Senior Lecturer and Researcher at the Arnold-Bergstraesser-Institute at the University of Freiburg -- Freelance journalist -- You can find my CV at the links below:
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