Celebrating International Migrants Day

Today is International Migrants Day – a day observed annually to promote the protection of the rights of migrant workers and their families around the world.

The origins for International Migrants Day began back in 1997, when Filipino and other Asian migrant organisations began celebrating and promoting 18th December as the International Day of Solidarity with Migrants. Exactly seven years earlier, the United Nations had adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrants Workers and Members of Their Families.

Building on this initiative, the UN then designated 18th December as the official International Migrants Day in 2000.

Today, the day is observed in many countries throughout the world.

“Migration is not only inevitable, but also necessary and desirable,” says William Lacy Swing, Director General of the International Organisation of Migrants in a statement released specially for this year’s International Migrants Day. “Societies are ageing in the North, while in the South, young populations are growing. The rise of anti-migrant sentiment is a cruel irony at a time when ageing societies need migration to provide much-needed labor,” he observes.

“The international community must work together to change the actual migration narrative to something more positive, focusing on what migrants contribute to their host countries, as well as their countries of origin, which benefit hugely from the remittances they send home,” he adds.

Around 232 million people are classed as international migrants. While the number of international migrants has increased in absolute terms, the share of international migrants in the world population remains constant at around 3 per cent.

Article published 18th December 2014