Migrants Rights International

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Press Release

Former UN Human Rights head Mary Robinson to governments on migration and development: Do not forget human rights


(New York City) “Migrants are the human face of globalization. Now is the time for us to act. We have to make globalization fair and ethical.”

That was the call Mary Robinson made at the rally yesterday of various migrant rights organizations and other human rights advocates in a plaza across the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York City where permanent mission representatives and ministerial delegates from around the world gathered for the UN High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Development. The former President of Ireland and High Commissioner of the UN Human Rights Commission said that there is a need to link migration to development without sacrificing human rights.

“Our job is to emphasize the role of governments in migration and to link it to development. There should be shared responsibility…co-development based on human rights principles,” said Robinson. “Before, migration is associated with criminality, barbed wires and taking one’s job. Also, human rights groups in the past did include migration in their advocacies. However, migration is a very important human rights issue. We must now forge a different movement where migrants’ issues are top priority, where people have dignity and rights are respected.”

According to the rally organizers, Migrants Rights International (MRI), Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) and the US-based National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR), the protest action sought to remind the government representatives inside the UN to place human rights at the top of the agenda of the two-day dialogue. Sajida Ally of MRI said she hoped for a more systematic analysis of how migration impacts on labor and human rights of migrants: We caution the governments’ overemphasis on labor market economics of migration that treat migrant workers as commodities.”

Ellen Sana of the Philippine-based Center for Migrant Advocacy and member of MFA said that now is the time for governments to implement the International Convention for the Protection of Migrant Workers and their Families. “I say enough to the discussions that are confined within the four walls of the UN. Policies, attitudes and practices that are inimical to the interests of migrants should be changed. Migrants have human rights and we should respect that.”

The rally was attended by more than a hundred people representing migrants rights organization in Asia, North America, Latin America and the Middle East.

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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:
Joey Dimaandal
Tel: +639175267171, +639278775810
Email: j-mod@rocketmail.com
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
Email: agarcia@nnirr.org

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