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International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
New York, 1990
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Objectives

  The globalization of markets, information and technology, as well as the liberalization of many laws affecting people's mobility, has made possible vast cross-border movements of people on a scale never seen before. This Convention's objective is to create international standards for protecting the human rights of migrant workers and their families.

  People's reasons for migrating vary greatly. Some people migrate to escape desperate conditions, such as war or famine, in their home countries. Others seek better living conditions in countries where economic opportunities seem to be more abundant or more fair and open.

  However, all migrant workers are vulnerable to abuse simply because they are living in a foreign country. In fact, many fall victim to human traffickers who recruit them under false pretenses; some are even held against their will under slave-like conditions.

  Migrants may be discriminated against in many ways by the institutions and laws of their host country, or by its people. They are often restricted by law in the kind of employment or conditions of work in which they can engage, even in cases where foreign companies or Governments actually encouraged them to settle in the host country.

Key Provisions

  For migrant workers around the world, the adoption of this Convention in 1990 was a historic event. It establishes, in certain areas, the principle of equal treatment with nationals for all migrant workers and their families, no matter what their legal status may be.

  The Convention creates, for the first time, uniform definitions of different categories of migrant workers which are internationally agreed upon. Countries also agreed upon the need for sending countries, transit countries and receiving countries to begin protective action on behalf of migrant workers.

  The Convention creates standards concerning migrant workers to which countries that are party to the Convention must adhere. It combines six international human rights treaties currently in force, and establishes an international monitoring body made up of independent experts. This independent body will periodically review how well countries that are party to the Convention are complying with its provisions.

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