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International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families

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Title: International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families  
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Collection: 1990 in Labour Relations, 1990 in New York, Human Rights Instruments, Labour Treaties, Migrant Workers, Treaties Adopted by United Nations General Assembly Resolutions, Treaties Concluded in 1990, Treaties Entered Into Force in 2003, Treaties of Albania, Treaties of Algeria, Treaties of Argentina, Treaties of Azerbaijan, Treaties of Bangladesh, Treaties of Belize, Treaties of Bolivia, Treaties of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Treaties of Burkina Faso, Treaties of Cape Verde, Treaties of Chile, Treaties of Colombia, Treaties of East Timor, Treaties of Ecuador, Treaties of Egypt, Treaties of El Salvador, Treaties of Ghana, Treaties of Guatemala, Treaties of Guinea, Treaties of Guyana, Treaties of Honduras, Treaties of Indonesia, Treaties of Jamaica, Treaties of Kyrgyzstan, Treaties of Lesotho, Treaties of Madagascar, Treaties of Mali, Treaties of Mauritania, Treaties of Mexico, Treaties of Morocco, Treaties of Mozambique, Treaties of Nicaragua, Treaties of Niger, Treaties of Nigeria, Treaties of Paraguay, Treaties of Peru, Treaties of Rwanda, Treaties of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Treaties of Senegal, Treaties of Seychelles, Treaties of Sri Lanka, Treaties of Syria, Treaties of Tajikistan, Treaties of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Treaties of the Philippines, Treaties of Turkey, Treaties of Uganda, Treaties of Uruguay, United Nations Treaties
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International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families

States parties and signatories to the treaty:
  Signed and ratified
  Acceded or succeeded
  Only signed

The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families is an United Nations multilateral treaty governing the protection of migrant workers and families. Signed on 18 December 1990, it entered into force on 1 July 2003 after the threshold of 20 ratifying States was reached in March 2003. The Committee on Migrant Workers (CMW) monitors implementation of the convention, and is one of the seven UN-linked human rights treaty bodies.


  • Context 1
  • Overview 2
  • State of ratifications and signatures 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


In 2005, the number of international migrants was between 185 and 192 million. This represents approximately three percent of the world population, comparable to the population of Brazil. Nearly all countries are concerned by migration, whether as sending, transit, or receiving countries, or as a combination of these. International migration has become an intrinsic feature of globalization.

"It is time to take a more comprehensive look at the various dimensions of the migration issue, which now involves hundreds of millions of people, and affects countries of origin, transit and destination. We need to understand better the causes of international flows of people and their complex interrelationship with development." United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, from his report on strengthening the Organization, 9 November 2002 [2].


The United Nations Convention constitutes a comprehensive international treaty regarding the protection of migrant workers’ rights. It emphasizes the connection between migration and human rights, which is increasingly becoming a crucial policy topic worldwide. The Convention aims at protecting migrant workers and members of their families; its existence sets a moral standard, and serves as a guide and stimulus for the promotion of migrant rights in each country.

In the Preamble, the Convention recalls conventions by migrant workers: Migration for Employment Convention (Revised), 1949, Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Convention, 1975 and on forced labour; Forced Labour Convention and Abolition of Forced Labour Convention as well as international human rights treaties including Convention against Discrimination in Education.

The primary objective of the Convention is to foster respect for migrants’ human rights. Migrants are not only workers, they are also human beings. The Convention does not create new rights for migrants but aims at guaranteeing equality of treatment, and the same working conditions, including in case of temporary work, for migrants and nationals. The Convention innovates because it relies on the fundamental notion that all migrants should have access to a minimum degree of protection. The Convention recognizes that legal migrants have the legitimacy to claim more rights than illegal immigrants, but it stresses that illegal migrants must see their fundamental human rights respected, like all human beings.

In the meantime, the Convention proposes that actions be taken to eradicate clandestine movements, notably through the fight against misleading information inciting people to migrate irregularly, and through sanctions against traffickers and employers of undocumented migrants.

Article 7 of this Convention protects the rights of migrant workers and their families regardless of "sex, race, colour, language, religion or conviction, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, nationality, age, economic position, property, marital status, birth, or other status".[1]

This Convention is also recalled by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the Preamble.[2]

State of ratifications and signatures

The Convention required a minimum of 20 ratifications before it could enter into force. When El Salvador and Guatemala ratified it on 14 March 2003, this threshold was reached.

As of May 2015, the following 48 states have ratified the Convention: Albania, Argentina, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, East Timor, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, Guinea, Honduras, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uganda and Uruguay.

In addition, several countries have signed the Convention but not yet ratified it. (This means that their government has expressed the intention of adhering to the Convention but is not yet bound to do so at international law.) These countries are: Armenia, Benin, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chad Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Liberia, Palau, São Tomé and Príncipe, Serbia and Montenegro (now applies to Serbia and Montenegro), Sierra Leone, Togo, and Venezuela.

So far, countries that have ratified the Convention are primarily countries of origin of migrants (such as Mexico, Morocco, and the Philippines). For these countries, the Convention is an important vehicle to protect their citizens living abroad. In the Philippines, for example, ratification of the Convention took place in a context characterized by several cases of Filipino workers being mistreated abroad: such cases hurt the Filipino population and prompted the ratification of the Convention. However, these countries are also transit and destination countries, and the Convention delineates their responsibility to protect the rights of migrants on their territory.

No migrant-receiving state in Western Europe or North America has ratified the Convention. Other important receiving countries, such as Australia, Arab states of the Persian Gulf, India and South Africa have not ratified the Convention.

See also


  1. ^ Kinnear, Karen L. (2011). Women in Developing Countries: A Reference Handbook. ABC-CLIO. p. 184.  
  2. ^ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Preamble,(d)

External links

  • Full text of the Convention (English)
  • Full text of the Convention (Spanish)
  • Signatures and ratifications
  • The Committee on Migrant Workers (which monitors the implementation of the convention
  • The 2002 International Migration Report published by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs/Population Division
  • Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants
  • UNESCO Programme on International Migration and Multicultural Policies: Project on the UN Convention on Migrants’ Rights
  • International Labour Organization
  • International Organization for Migration
  • Migrants Rights International
  • Migrant Forum in Asia
  • December 18
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