International Migrants Day

On December 18, 2009 the UN will observe International Migrants Day, a day to renew commitments already made and to celebrate what has been achieved. Most important, it is a day to focus our attention and draw strength for the vast amount that remains to be done. 

Every country in the world is affected by the phenomenon of vast numbers of people moving across the face of the earth. Counting them is a formidable task. The International Labor Organization estimates that they now number some 100 million persons worldwide. To learn more, clickhere.

The worldwide economic crisis has made migrant workers willing to run increased risks. In addition, given the global context of climate change, some workers’ countries are literally disappearing from the earth as oceans rise (see Displacement due to climate change). 

We ask: who is working to alleviate the suffering of so many, to address the injustices they often endure, and to address the root causes that drive or lure so many from their homes? What can we do?

  1. We can educate ourselves. For example, check out the website of the International Organization for Migration. We can also learn about the role and findings of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants by clicking here.
  2. We can pay attention to the migrants in our own countries. If our country receives migrants from elsewhere, how does it treat them? If they are “voiceless,” what organizations speak for them? If our country is mainly a sender of migrants elsewhere, why does this happen? What is the long-term fate of migrants who leave our country? What happens to migrants in transit through our countries?
  3. Finally, we can discern the actions to which we are called and engage with others. For example, has your country ratified the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families?

Judith Garson, rscj
December 200