INTO FORCE OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON THE PROTECTION
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes the
entry into force, on July 1, 2003, of the “International Convention on
the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their
Families,” adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1990. The
Office of the Rapporteur considers that this Convention represents a major
step forward in establishing international standards for the protection of
the human rights of a vulnerable segment of the population. One of the
principal features of the Convention is that it establishes an extensive
and detailed catalogue of the human rights of migrant workers and members
of their families, as well as a system for review of periodic reports of
the States Parties by a Committee of Experts, on which the International
Labour Organization (ILO) and other intergovernmental organizations
specializing in this subject may be represented. The Convention is the
most ambitious and most comprehensive instrument establishing specific
rights and duties in this field.
The entry into force of the Convention is a response to the
increased importance of migration issues and to the vulnerability of
migrants and migrant workers, who, on numerous occasions, have to face
open hostility on the part of the local population and the authorities.
The circumstances of illegal migrants are even more dire, as they are
exposed to additional improper treatment.
member states of the Organization of American States (OAS) have ratified
the Convention: Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador,
Guatemala, Mexico and Uruguay. The Office of the Rapporteur would like to
point out that the Convention has finally entered into force in part
thanks to its ratification by these states. At the same time, the Office
of the Rapporteur avails itself of the opportunity afforded by the entry
into force of this instrument to reiterate its appeal to OAS member states
that have not yet ratified the Convention to consider ratifying it at some
point in the future.
In formulating any migration-related policy, states need to
reconcile and complement two fundamental principles: on the one hand,
their right to regulate the entry of persons into their territory in
accordance with domestic needs, in other words, to exercise their
sovereignty; and, on the other, the obligation to respect the intrinsic
dignity and the right of millions of human beings who seek to emigrate
from their countries in search of a higher standard of living for
themselves and their families. The entry into force of the Convention is a
major step toward striking a balance between those two principles.
Washington, D.C., July 3, 2003