The Human Rights of Migrant Workers Do Not Have Borders!

On December 18, in the framework of the 27th Anniversary of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and their Families; The Scalabrini International Migration Network (SIMN), the Scalabrini Migrant Centers Network, we call on the governments of the States to fulfill the human rights of migrant workers and their families.

The Heads of States, Congressmen and Senators, if you want to put an end to the tragedy experienced by Migrant Workers and their families, you have the urgent responsibility of being guided by the strict compliance with the human rights subscribed in the 1990 Convention, to eliminate all forms of violations perpetrated against migrant workers.

The Convention is based on the “Reception, Protection, Promotion and Integration” of workers’ rights, as Pope Francis affirms. Likewise, the States have the duty and responsibility to accompany migrant workers from the countries of origin, transit and destination; this responsibility falls solely and exclusively on all States. Its implementation should have as its main objective the full respect of human rights, to ensure that migrant workers are not objects of labor exploitation or other analogous ways.

The Convention promotes the meaningful participation and empowerment of migrant workers and their families beyond national borders as subjects, through equality and the principle of non-discrimination, accountability on the part of States in the application of human rights for integral development, which is emphasized in full respect for the dignity of the person.

The application of just legal frameworks must be built through citizen participatory processes, eliminate stigmas, prejudices and pre-conceived myths of the migrant population from the receiving countries. The Convention creates accountability mechanisms on the part of States, which must allow victims of human rights violations to act so that those responsible are held accountable for their actions or lack of action due to the atrocities committed against working migrants and their families.

Rebuilding gender equality requires respect of the human rights of migrant women, including the right to justice, in the welcoming, protection, integration. The right to social security of migrants must be ensured within the framework of the right to migrate, which allows migrants to have access to food, health, housing, water, sanitation and education.

Worker migrants in situations of vulnerability or undocumented persons demand greater efforts from States and human rights defenders to ensure that all people enjoy these rights without discrimination, racism and xenophobia.

The current model of the neoliberal market is one of the causes of the increase in the inequality gap between wealth and poverty, which leads to forced migrations. At present, there are some highlighted vulnerable groups – girls, boys, adolescents, women, minorities, people with disabilities, and people displaced by violence – which very often they are forgotten.

Efforts aimed at integral human development must be oriented towards the fulfillment of economic, political, social, cultural and environmental rights. It is urgent that the states expand monitoring and be close to the real situation experienced by migrant workers and their families. The condition of high vulnerability reveals the disadvantages faced by migrant workers. States must design programs to address the reality of migrant workers to prevent human trafficking, and systematic violations perpetrated by groups of unscrupulous entrepreneurs at national and international level.

The politicians have the serious responsibility of mobilizing funds and energy, promoting comprehensive immigration reforms, to avoid the situation of undocumented migrant workers and their families. States can achieve humane migration policies, just and comprehensive only if they are guided by the obligations they have in terms of human rights, which define what actions must be carried out and by whom.

All human rights are the maximum expression of the dignity of the person. Good governance and the rule of law at the national and international levels are critical because the governments of the States have not put the issue of migration in an integral way with decent policies. Those who migrate to escape poverty are only visualized by the remittances that they send to their countries of origin, however, they are not taken into account in the processes of elaboration of public policies.

States have the responsibility to address the structural causes of poverty and underdevelopment also improves global security. This means, locating the human rights of working migrants, family unification at the center of strategies to achieve the implementation of the Convention correctly, which would attack social tensions such as massive deportations without criteria, the militarization of borders and State terrorism against working migrants and their families.

The International Convention on the protection of the rights of all migrant workers and their families, defines clear goals in the application of all human rights, without exclusion and / or reservations. But the challenge is in its implementation, and that is where human rights are crucial.

Migrating to seek survival is not a crime against humanity! States have the obligation to leave the globalization of indifference, to globalize solidarity, justice and truth with working migrants and their families.


Fr. Mauro Verzeletti, cs
Regional Director of SIMN
Director of Casas del Migrante, El Salvador and Guatemala