As part of Transnational Migrant Platform (TMP), takes this date of December 18, 2015 - the Day on which the International Convention for the Protection of the rights all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1990 - to grieve the thousands who have died on the treacherous journeys to the borders of Europe and to be in solidarity with those who have survived. This is also a time when we grieve those who have died crossing the Mexico-US border, in seas in Asia as well as those who have died enduring intolerable conditions of work as in Qatar.
Migrant Rights are Human Rights!
Amsterdam, December 18, 2015
The movement of people across borders, especially into Europe, has been unprecedented in the
second half of 2015. European governments as well as the EU Council have failed to address the
humanitarian crisis and EU security-focused migration policy has led to the death of thousands of
men, women and children. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), over
3,455 people died at sea trying to reach the EU as of November 10, 2015 and Human Rights Watch
has estimated that 800,000 people have reached European borders this year.
We take this date of December 18, 2015 - the Day on which the International Convention for the
Protection of the rights all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families was adopted by the UN
General Assembly in 1990 - to grieve the thousands who have died on the treacherous journeys to
the borders of Europe and to be in solidarity with those who have survived. This is also a time when
we grieve those who have died crossing the Mexico-US border, in seas in Asia as well as those who
have died enduring intolerable conditions of work as in Quatar.
At the same time we protest the economic and war policies of the EU, other governments, as well as
the corporate sector that are intensifying both the root causes of migration and refugee flight and
also contributing to disastrous climate change – forcing people to abandon their sources of
livelihood. It seems that the main response by Europe’s political leaders and those ‘near neighbour’
governments who are complicit, is an abandonment of the human rights framework and the
substitution by militarisation and externalisation of borders and the related criminalisation of
peoples forced to be on the move. This trend was already highlighted in the 2010 Joint Statement
made by UN Global Migration Group.
“ too often States have addressed migration solely through the lens of sovereignty, border security or law enforcement, sometimes driven by hostile domestic constituencies. Although States have legitimate interests in securing their borders and exercising immigration controls, such concerns cannot, and indeed, as a matter of international law do not, trump the obligations of the State to respect the internationally guaranteed rights of all persons, to protect those rights against abuses, and to fulfil the rights necessary for them to enjoy a life of dignity and security.”
This current conjuncture also raises the challenge for a new debate and re-thinking on the false
dichotomy between migrants and refugees. Despite the particular contextual reasons why migrants
or asylum seekers leave their countries of origin, the protection of Human Rights for all remains
central. According to Francois Crépeau, the UN Special Rapporteur on Migrants,
“a continued focus on security continues to structure the way in which the European Union handles border management. A wholesale, coherent integration of the human rights of migrants in policies is missing. The system continues to be characterized by complexity, a lack of harmonization between relevant policies and regional and international human rights standards, limited responsibility sharing and the absence of the political will needed to initiate the required changes.”
During these months of ineffective response to the crisis at the borders of Europe, we have also
witnessed the rise and visibility of rightist and racist voices all the way to representation in some
national and regional Parliaments. This is a time when we need to re-iterate that racism, xenophobia,
islamophobia, antisemitism and all forms of discrimination and gender violence have no place in our
societies – not in Europe and not in our countries of origin.
As we mark December 18, 2015, we, as the Transnational Migrant Platform, advocate:
o For a major review of both migrant and refugee policy – not driven by a short-term
crises response – but firmly grounded on a long term strategy based on a
fundamental human rights framework;
o For a fundamental re-appraisal of the disastrous Trade and Investment Agreements
which hold our peoples in impoverishment;
o For an immediate stop to the current wars - including the ending of all bombing
campaigns in the Middle East, as in Kurdistan.
More specifically, we call on governments:
o To ratify the 1990 UN Convention on Migrant Rights;
o To fully respect human rights conventions and international law;
o To take urgent action to rescue migrants at sea and to provide safe and legal access
to Europe for refugees and migrants;
o To take action against racism, islamophobia and all forms of xenophobia.
Finally we join our efforts as migrants and refugees with the social movements, trade unions,
farmers, indigenous peoples, women, environmental networks and all those who are resisting the
current economic and political model, including the disastrous Climate Change. Together, we can
make a difference in building a society in Europe that seeks an end to austerity, inequality, racism
and all forms of discrimination.
Commission For Filipino Migrant Workers (CFMW), Platform of Filipino Migrant Organisations in
Europe, Foundation University, Turkish Workers Foundation (HTIB), Euro-Mediterraan Centrum
Migratie & Ontwikkeling (EMCEMO), Kromantse Foundation (Ghana), Social Development
Cooperative (Ghana), Africa Roots Movement, RESPECT Network, Trusted Migrants, Koop Natin,
Indonesian Migrant Workers Union (IMWU), ORADELA, Transnational Institute (TNI).
Contact en informatie:
Eerste Weteringplantsoen 2c Amsterdam 1017 SJ Nederland
Tél. : 0031 (0)20-4288825/0031 (06)-55818828