Current Challenges in the Implementation of the UN International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families

25-07-2013

Analysis of the reasons submitted by EU Member States preventing them from ratifying the International Convention for the Rights of Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (ICRMW) demonstrates that there are no insurmountable barriers to ratification and that the decision on ratification is largely driven by political choice rather than by an objective legal scrutiny. This briefing paper clearly shows that most of the rights enshrined in the ICRMW are already recognised in EU legislation or in other international instruments ratified by EU Member States. The ICRMW clearly distinguishes between the rights of regular and irregular migrants in great detail and is the only Human Rights Convention that does so. The EU legislative approach to labour migration policies has tended to classify migrants into particular ‘categories’ resulting in diverse sets of rules and rights for different groups. The EU aims to adopt a balanced approach in its migration policy that is in line with the general objective of the Convention of favouring legal migration and reducing irregular movements. The briefing paper shows that the ratification of the Convention, which is primarily a human rights instrument aiming at protecting the fundamental rights of all migrants, could help the EU and its Member States to ensure holistic and long-term sustainable migration governance based on taking into consideration the needs of countries of origin, destination and transit as well as the rights of the individuals involved in the migration process.

Analysis of the reasons submitted by EU Member States preventing them from ratifying the International Convention for the Rights of Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (ICRMW) demonstrates that there are no insurmountable barriers to ratification and that the decision on ratification is largely driven by political choice rather than by an objective legal scrutiny. This briefing paper clearly shows that most of the rights enshrined in the ICRMW are already recognised in EU legislation or in other international instruments ratified by EU Member States. The ICRMW clearly distinguishes between the rights of regular and irregular migrants in great detail and is the only Human Rights Convention that does so. The EU legislative approach to labour migration policies has tended to classify migrants into particular ‘categories’ resulting in diverse sets of rules and rights for different groups. The EU aims to adopt a balanced approach in its migration policy that is in line with the general objective of the Convention of favouring legal migration and reducing irregular movements. The briefing paper shows that the ratification of the Convention, which is primarily a human rights instrument aiming at protecting the fundamental rights of all migrants, could help the EU and its Member States to ensure holistic and long-term sustainable migration governance based on taking into consideration the needs of countries of origin, destination and transit as well as the rights of the individuals involved in the migration process.

Údar seachtarach

Kristina TOUZENIS and Alice SIRONI (International Migration Law Unit, International Organization for Migration, Switzerland)