Today is International Migrants Day, observed annually to promote the protection of the rights of migrant workers and their families.
In 2000, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 18 December International Migrants Day to commemorate the UN’s 1990 adoption of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. Although migration to and from countries is a world-wide phenomenon, only 42 countries have ratified the convention.
The convention created a Committee on Migrant Workers, which meets in Geneva every four years to review a report of State parties on their application of the convention. The convention also created a mechanism by which the Committee could receive individual complaints. Only three States have ratified this individual complaints mechanism: Mexico, Guatemala and Uruguay.
Today, there are some 232 million persons who reside and work outside their country of birth. The reasons for migration are diverse − most often they are economic, but there are also refugees from armed conflict and oppression, and increasingly what are called “ecological refugees”—persons who leave their home area due to changing environmental conditions: drought, floods, rising sea levels, etc. Climate change may increase the number of these ecological refugees.