GMPA: Global Migration Policy Associates

Migration Topics

Human and Labour Rights
(Research papers and policy briefs below)

The rule of law and respect for widely recognized notions of human rights are the essential foundation for democratic society and social cohesion. Respect for the human rights of all persons in each society is an essential, accountable and equitable basis for addressing and resolving differences, tensions, and potential conflicts that interaction among different persons and groups with different interests inevitably brings, particularly in context of immigration and the diversity it brings.

ILO pioneered the development of international instruments pertaining to migrant workers in its Conventions on Migration for Employment, 1949 (No.97) and the Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions), 1975 (No.143). In addition all ILO labour standards apply to migrant workers in the workplace unless otherwise specified. A long and slow trend extending application of basic human rights principles elaborated in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights to migrants culminated in the adoption of the 1990 International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. Discussion of migrants' human rights became markedly more visible and "mainstream" over the last decade. Migrants rights has emerged as a formal topic on the agenda of many migration-related conferences and forums, and news media attention increased. A global campaign for ratification of the Conventions on migrant workers helped obtain 46 States Parties to the ICRMW and a total of 86 countries that have ratified at least one of the three international Conventions on migrants (as of mid-June 2012).

However, contemporary international forums on migration appear dominated by views that overlook these international standards as irrelevant, while relegating participation of civil society and the United Nations to the margins. This should be seen in a context where there is rampant abuse and exploitation of rights of migrant workers in all regions of the world. Research, documentation and analysis of the nature and situation of human rights issues of migrants remain inadequate. International efforts to defend human rights of migrants and combat xenophobia remain scattered and fragmented. The few activities by UN and other inter-governmental organizations to promote standards and their implementation have been resource-starved. While migrant and civil society organizations active on migrants rights emerged in Asia, the Americas and Europe, there is still little coherency in international civil society efforts.

Advancing the protection of migrants' human rights requires common approaches, strategies, and coordination as well as mobilization of human resources. Government officials and institutions, social partners, , civil society and migrant groups all have roles to play in cooperation at national regional and international levels for this purpose. GMPA offers research capacity, technical expertise and successful experience in assisting governments and other stakeholders to adopt and apply international standards and implement effective practical measures to ensure protection of migrants and effective governance of migration in line with the ILO and Un instruments and the ILO Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration.


Focal Point Contacts

Abdelhamid El Jamri

Patrick Taran


Documents and Papers