International Migrants Day 2020:
Time to Give Back to Migrants
DECEMBER 18, 2020

Today, December 18, 2020, marks International Migrants Day, the 30-year anniversary of the adoption
of the 1990 International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members
of their Families, and the two-year anniversary of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular

A Time for Transformative Action
Our world today faces extraordinary challenges; after thirty years of deliberations that lead to the
drafting and final adoption of the UN Convention on Migrant Workers and Members of their Families,
and three years of deliberations that culminated in the adoption of the Global Compact for Migration,
the international community is yet to muster political will to effectuate real change in the lives of all
migrants and members of their families.
The “low hanging fruit” approach which has lately been characteristic in international migration
governance cannot be the basis for building back better. We must be able to tackle the difficult and
pressing issues in migration governance in order to bring about lasting and positive change in the lives
of the 272 million migrants in the world.

Celebrating the Recognition of Essential Workers
The year 2020 has forced us to re-examine our old ways and adapt to the new challenges of our world
today. The COVID-19 pandemic has helped us to realize the nature and value of work. This year, we
celebrate how the pandemic has brought to the forefront the value and importance of essential
workers, many of whom are migrant workers.
As the world came to a halt earlier this year, it is these courageous women and men who were at the
forefront of our society’s response. These women and men, whether healthcare workers, supermarket
workers, care workers, domestic workers, sanitation workers, have been central in ensuring the
continued functioning of our societies even amid growing global uncertainty. This often came at a great
personal risk and expense. Many were separated from their loved ones to reduce the risk of contagion.
Others had to continue to work long hours in risky conditions in exchange for a meagre pay.

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