Migrants Rights International

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Press Release

Migrants Rights Groups Applaud Governments’ Focus on Protecting Migrants but Urge Greater Consultation with Migrants

September 15, 2006

Migrants rights groups in New York today for the opening session of the High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development at the United Nations headquarters congratulated governments on recognising the importance of protecting the human rights of all migrants in the development of migration policy.

The two-day dialogue, the first inter-governmental forum devoted exclusively to discussing migration and development, saw representatives of regional organizations and Member-States in the developed and developing worlds call for greater protections of migrant workers and stronger efforts to combat the scourges of human trafficking and human smuggling. As Mr Ali Hassani, the President of the UN Economic and Social Council reminded delegates: “Migration can only be beneficial if the rights of migrants are respected.”

The HLD is expected to be only the first step in an ongoing international dialogue on migration. The Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, has recommended the creation of a permanent global forum that is consultative and non-binding for sharing new research and successful practices. The proposal for a permanent forum was supported by a number of States. Governments also stressed the importance of international cooperation on migration and for involving non-governmental organizations and the private sector in any future global forum on migration.

Noting the sensitivity of migration in many countries and policies that too often are not based on reliable data, Mr Annan called on all Member-States to oversee the future Forum: “The HLD will succeed to the extent that it ushers in a new era of migration policy…it is now time to turn to the evidence and use it to create a common understanding for how migration can be of benefit to all.”

Mr. William Gois of Migrant Forum in Asia, a regional migrant rights group based in the Philippines, commented: “We are pleased to hear the commitment of member States to protect the rights of migrants and combating exploitative labour practices. We hope this will be translated into action, for example, by easing discriminatory border protections and replacing of exploitative temporary worker programmes with programmes that respect migrant’s rights to economic, social and cultural rights. It is imperative that any follow-on forum includes the voices of migrants and their advocates”. Mr. Gois reminded all Member-States of the United the need for more states to sign and ratify the 1990 Convention on the Rights of Migrants and their Families.

The HLD will continue with roundtable discussions and a closing plenary session on 15 September.

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The Civil Society Parallel Events on Migration, Development and Human Rights are being held at the Queens College Workers Education Extension Center, 25 W 43rd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues in New York City until September 15, 2006.

For interviews and more information, please contact:
Eleanor, Global Alliance against Traffic in Women
191/41 Sivalai Condominium
Soi 33, Itsaraphap Rd
Bangkok, Thailand 1060

Joey Dimaandal
Tel: +639175267171, +639278775810
Address: West Side YMCA, 5 West 63rd Street between Broadway and Central Park West, New York City.

Arnoldo Garcia (For Spanish language media organizations)
Tel +1 510 928 0685


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