International Migrants Day - A Time to Celebrate, Protect Migrants Rights

18 December 2007

18 December is celebrated around the world as International Migrants Day. The date commemorates the signing in 1990 of the International Convention on the Protection of Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

UNESCO has been active in promoting migrants rights for decades, supporting freedom of movement issues and encouraging states to sign and implement the principles reflected in the Convention.

In Central Asia, UNESCOs activities contribute to establishing a coordinated regional dialogue on labour migration, harmonization of policy and awareness-raising on migrants rights. UNESCO Almaty is partnering with OSCE ODIHR on the first large scale national survey Kazakhstan as a receiving country for labour migrants. This project is shedding light on the plights of migrants in the region and illuminating crucial policy issues both at the state and regional levels.

UNESCO support for the Expert Council for Labour Migration in Central Asia and the Russian Federation helped build government capacity and model legislation on labour migration policy at the inter-regional level. The group was formed under the auspices of The Kyrgyz Republic Parliament, the Eurasia Foundation Central Asia, The Soros Foundation Kyrgyzstan and UNESCO. The Eurasian Economic Community (EAEC) is assuming stewardship of the Expert Council starting in 2008.

As rising migration rates influence further economic and social development in Central Asia, UNESCO will continue to support research, training and policy dialogue in this key area.

UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon has issued his annual message for International Migrants Day that can be found at

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