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The Rights of Migrants

    The Rights of Migrants: Human rights regardless of status

    Shoes of migrants remain in the street during a protest by members of Amnesty International demanding respect for the human rights of migrants on January 26, 2012 in Mexico City.  JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images

    Migrants move from one country to another, for many reasons. Some move voluntarily, while others are forced to leave because of economic hardship or other problems. People can migrate ‘regularly’, with legal permission to work and live in a country, or ‘irregularly’; that is without permission from the country in which they wish to live and work.

    Regardless of their status in a country, both regular and irregular migrants have human rights, including the right to freedom from slavery and servitude, freedom from arbitrary detention, freedom from exploitation and forced labour, the right to freedom of assembly, the right to education for their children, equal access to courts and rights at work. These rights are laid out in the Migrant Workers’ Convention (1990) as well as other human rights treaties. Canada is not a signatory to the Migrant Workers Convention.

    Amnesty International’s research shows that both irregular and regular migrants face serious human rights violations. The problems differ from region to region and country to country. Our research and campaigns on behalf of migrant rights are focused on the movement of workers between some Asian countries and the Gulf; migration control measures in the European Union and migration flows through Mexico and into the United States.

    In recent years Canada has adopted policies which encourage temporary migration.  In 2008 for the first time, the number of temporary foreign workers in Canada exceeded the total number of permanent residents admitted in the same year.

    Photo: Shoes of migrants remain in the street during a protest by members of Amnesty International demanding respect for the human rights of migrants on January 26, 2012 in Mexico City. JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images

     

    UPDATES

    Reject dangerous migration response plan, more than 100 NGOs tell EU leaders (27 June 2016 News Release)

    Mexico becoming a ‘no-go zone’ for migrants as gruesome massacre remains unresolved five years on - 21 August 2015

    The disgraceful lack of effective investigations into the mass killings of 72 migrants in Mexico five years ago is giving a green light to criminal groups who terrorize and murder people crossing the country to seek safety and a better life. News Release

    Bitter Harvest: Exploitation and Forced Labour of Migrant Agricultural Workers in South Korea October 2014 Take Action

    EU migration policies put lives and rights at risk July 2014

    India: Exploited dreams: Dispatches from Indian migrant workers in Saudi Arabia  July 2014

    Qatar: 'My sleep is my break': Exploitation of migrant domestic workers in Qatar April 2014

    Qatar: The dark side of migration: Spotlight on Qatar’s construction sector ahead of the World Cup November 2013

    RESOURCES

    Migrants in Mexico: Invisible journeys October 2013

    Report on the Status of Migrant Workers in Canada UFCW 2011

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