Press Releases

    15 December 2004

    Secretary-General Urges Wider Ratification of Migrant Rights Convention, in Message to Mark International Migrants Day

    NEW YORK, 14 December (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message on International Migrants Day, observed on 18 December 2004:

    International Migrants Day is an opportunity to recognize the enormous contribution migrants have made throughout the centuries to the economies, societies and cultural advancement of countries around the world -- and continue to make to this day.  Today, it is estimated that one in every 35 persons in the world is a migrant, living and working in a country other than his or her own.  All countries have migrants among their population.  The work to strengthen and protect the human rights of migrants concerns every one of us.

    The past few years have seen growing interest in cooperation and coordinated actions in the field of migration, as illustrated by the emergence of a number of consultative processes, such as the Global Commission on International Migration.  It is my hope that this work will contribute to a better public understanding of migration and the role that migrants play in their countries of origin and destination. I trust it will also provide valuable input to the High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development scheduled to be held in the General Assembly in 2006.

    We must also continue to work for wider ratification of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.  The Convention calls upon States to work together to prevent and eliminate illegal or clandestine movement and employment of irregular migrants and thus combat exploitation.  To date, 27 States have ratified or acceded to the Convention.  I call on all other Member States to follow their example.  I urge all States parties to work with the newly-established Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, and to present to the Committee their reports on measures taken to give effect to the Convention’s provisions.  I also encourage all States parties to recognize the Committee’s competence to receive and consider communications from individuals subject to their jurisdiction who claim that their rights under the Convention have been violated.

    On this International Migrants Day, let us pledge to build a framework for a coherent, comprehensive and global response to migration.  Let us pledge to do more to promote and defend the human rights of all people, regardless of their migration status.

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