On 1 January 2008, 30.8 million foreign citizens1 lived in the EU27 Member States, of which 11.3 million were citizens of another EU27 Member state. The remaining 19.5 million were citizens of countries outside the EU27, of which 6.0 million were citizens of other European countries, 4.7 million of Africa, 3.7 million of Asia and 3.2 million of the American continent. Foreign citizens accounted for 6.2% of the total EU27 population.
This news release, issued on the occasion of the International Migrants Day2 on 18 December 2009, is based on a report3 by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities, on foreign citizens in the EU27 Member States, Norway and Switzerland. This report presents data either supplied by National Statistical Institutes, or approved by them if estimated by Eurostat.
For the full press release, click here
“In the current context of massive job losses, migrant workers, who are generally confined to the most precarious and least well-protected sectors, are the first to suffer as a result of the world economic crisis,” according to Guy Ryder, general secretary of the ITUC. Some countries have put in place policies designed to encourage unemployed immigrants to return home. These programmes generally have little effect, however, because the economic situation is also highly unfavourable in their home country: as a result, migrants prefer to stay. Once they have no work, they also find themselves without a residence permit, which further increases their vulnerability.
To mark International Migrants’ Day on 18 December, the ITUC is highlighting the urgent necessity of providing more effective protection for migrants from the consequences of the economic crisis and putting decent work at the heart of strategies linking migration and development. At the 3rd Global Forum on Migration and Development held in Athens in November 2009, the international trade union movement stressed the urgency of tackling the issue of migration from the point of view of the rights of migrant workers. The ITUC has lent its support to the global campaign marking the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all migrant workers and members of their families in 1990.
In the eyes of the international trade union movement, the positive contributions made by migrant workers to the economies of their home and destination countries should be recognised, and in concrete terms this means that recognition should result in fairer treatment. In the context of the global trade union struggle for fairer globalisation with a more human face, linking migration and sustainable development is a fundamental priority for promoting decent work for all workers, migrants included.
Within the framework of the international protection mechanisms provided by the UN and in particular the ILO, migrants should be able to exercise in full their rights to freedom of association and trade union organisation, of which they are too often deprived. They should also be entitled to an adequate social welfare system and more ethical recruitment procedures.
For the ITUC, taking action to combat discrimination is a priority and must take full account of gender-related issues. Female migrant workers represent a significant and increasing proportion of the migrant labour force and suffer particularly high levels of discrimination. They also represent the vast majority of trafficking victims of all kinds.
In December 2006, the ITUC launched a practical “action plan” within the trade union movement to organise migrants more effectively, protect and promote their rights and improve their working conditions, in particular by insisting on the framework of collective negotiations but also in partnership with NGOs and the other players in civil society concerned.
The ITUC has launched three partnership agreements with affiliate organisations in different regions as part of its efforts to strengthen South/South solidarity. Backed by LO-TCO Sweden, the three pilot projects are being run in Indonesia (SPSI) and Malaysia (MTUC), Senegal (CNTS) and Mauritania (CGTM), and Nicaragua (CST, CUS, and CUSa) and Costa Rica (CNTR). Information and support centres for migrant workers have been opened in Malaysia by the MTUC, in Mauritania by the CGTM and in Costa Rica by the CTRN. Other affiliate organisations are launching similar initiatives, for example the CGT in Colombia.
Long-established projects and mobilisation campaigns in many trade unions, particularly in Europe and North America, aim to ensure the full integration of migrant workers and their families. To illustrate the efforts of the trade union movement in this area, the ITUC is publishing a new report which highlights the encouraging results of the trade union cooperation project being run in Mauritania and Senegal to support migrant workers.
Protection for migrant workers will be one of the main themes at the next ITUC Congress, which will be held in Vancouver (Canada) from 21 to 25 June 2010. Meanwhile, the international trade union movement, along with many national affiliate organisations in different parts of the world, will be campaigning vigorously for the ILO to adopt a new international convention specifically covering the rights of domestic workers.
Why celebrating International Migrants' Day?
In 1997, Filipino and other Asian migrant organizations began celebrating and promoting the 18th December as the International Day of Solidarity with Migrants. This date was choosen because it was on 18th December 1990 that the UN adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrants Workers and Members of Their Families.
Building on this initiative, December 18 - with support from Migrant Rights International and the Steering Committee for the Global Campaign for Ratification of the International Convention on Migrants' Rights and many other organizations - began late 1999 campaigning online for the official UN designation of an International Migrant's Day, which was finally proclaimed on December 4th, 2000.
The UN proclamation of the International Migrants' Day is an important step, offering a rallying point for everyone across the world who is concerned with the protection of migrants. The UN invited all UN member states, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations to observe this day by disseminating information on human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants, sharing experiences, and undertaking action to ensure the protection of migrants.
But it is first of all an opportunity to recognize the contributions made by millions of migrants to the economies and well being of their host and home countries, and to promote respect for their basic human rights.
We encourage non-governmental organisations - including yours - to join the global solidarity movement for the promotion and protection of the rights of migrants and to use of the International Migrants' Day to highlight publicly the contributions made by migrants and to call on their government to ratify the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
You are organising an event to celebrate the International Migrants' Day and you wish to use the following international IMD logo, we will adapt it to your needs! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
You are organising an event to celebrate the International Migrants' Day and you wish to use the following international IMD logo, we will adapt it to your needs!
Contact us at email@example.com