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Migrant Groups and Supporters Celebrate International Migrants' Day, 18 December 2008

Over 150 events in 57 countries planned

Hundreds of migrants' groups and supporters around the world are organizing events to promote respect for the dignity and human rights of all migrants on 18 December 2008, International Migrants' Day.

Over 150 events will take place on Thursday, 18 December and surrounding dates, in 57 countries including Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, France, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Mali, Morocco, Philippines, Romania, Senegal, South Africa, Spain, UK, and USA.

The 18th of December is the date that the UN General Assembly adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (MWC), in 1990. The MWC is the principle UN treaty providing protections for the rights of migrant workers (both documented and undocumented) and their families, with regard to civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

Some international events occurring on International Migrants' Day include the Global Day of Action for the MWC, a campaign organized by Migrants' Rights International to help promote the universal ratification of the MWC. Other events include a series of radio shows in 35 countries organized by the Radio 1812 project of December 18 to promote discussion about the situations confronted by migrants worldwide. For instance, a collaboration of migrant organizations and migrants' rights defenders in the Dominican Republic (FEI, Mosctha, and others), will speak about the discrimination and violence that is spiralling against Haitian migrants in the country. Also, TakingITGlobal will be hosting a Live online Chat to allow young people to talk about migration. Other events include a discussion and debate regarding the MWC, hosted in Morocco by the Collectif Marocain 18/12; a press conference to discuss the treatment of migrants, unaccompanied migrant children, and the Mexican government's policy on migration hosted in Mexico by Sin Fronteras and other partners; and an immigrant rights film festival hosted by the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights in the United States. Please see below for more information on these and other events.

Many events will focus attention on the crisis in migrants' rights that is deepening in the world today. There are over 250 million people living as migrants worldwide; if they belonged to the same country, it would constitute the fifth most populous country in the world. Yet rights advocates criticize the rising wave of discrimination, xenophobia, repression, and violence against migrants all over the world.

"Migrants are indispensable members of our societies, and migrants' rights are human rights," stated Naomi Onaga, International Coordinator of Migrants Rights International. "Governments and international institutions everywhere must respond immediately to stop attack and discrimination against migrants', and live up to their obligation to respect, protect and fulfil all migrants' human rights."

Migrants Rights International (MRI) is a federation of groups across Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe that defends the rights of migrants. It is organizing the Global Day of Action for the MWC, which is calling for the universal ratification of the Migrant Workers Convention. There is increasing acceptance of the MWC in the Global South - for instance, in 2008 alone, Paraguay, Congo, Jamaica and Rwanda ratified. Yet no country in the Global North has yet ratified the MWC. MRI further advocates for full protections for all migrants' civil, cultural, economic, political, and social rights.

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Sample List of Events Planned for International Migrants Day 2008

For a global map of activities, see http://www.radio1812.net/en/location/views

· BANGLADESH – Rally, Solidarity Human Chain, & Discussion Meeting – hosted by the WARBE development foundation with the participation of the Ministry of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment (MEWOE), Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET), Migrant Workers Association, Migrant Workers, International Organizations, and Trade Union representatives.

· BRAZIL – Marcha dos Imigrantes, Associação Nacional de Estrangeiros e Imigrantes no Brasil (ANEIB), São Paulo, 14 December 2008.

· DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO: Radio Broadcast – hosted by Radio Bubusa, 98.5 Mhz, will broadcast a series of reports on the lives of displaced young Congolese.

· DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Radio Broadcast – hosted by FEI, Mosctha, Pastoral Haitiana, the Jesuit Service and other groups. Discusses the discrimination and violence that is spiralling against Haitian migrants in the country.

· GREECE – European Immigration Pact Protest – hosted by the Greek Forum of Migrants in Athens.

· ISRAEL – Cultural Festival – hosted by the Hotline for Migrant Workers in Tel Aviv for the 8th year in a row, to recognize the contributions made by millions of migrants to the economies and well-being of their host and home countries.

· IVORY COAST – Radio Broadcast - hosted by the West Africa Civil Society Forum, based out of Abidjan, regarding the ratification of the MWC.

· MAURITANIA - Awareness and Mobilization Campaign for the Ratification and Application of the MWC - organized by the Initiative for Civic Education and the Promotion of Political Dialogue (IPCD), together with the West Africa Civil Society Forum (WACSOF) and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA); launching of the MWC campaign, debates regarding varied themes related to migration and human rights, poem readings, and other activities in solidarity with migrant communities across the globe.

· MEXICO – Press Conference – hosted by Sin Fronteras, Servicio Jesuita de Migrantes (México), Red por los Derechos de la Infancia en México, and the Red por los Derechos de Todos y Todas (Red TDT) in Mexico, D.F. Evaluation current issues related to the treatment of migrants, unaccompanied migrant children, and the Mexican government's policy on migration.

· TAIWAN – Protest March - The Taiwan International Workers Association will be leading a protest march to focus on the fight for legal protection of migrant household workers in Taiwan.

· USA: Immigrant Rights Film Festival - hosted by the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and Migrants Rights International. Mini film festival in Oakland, California featuring short informative presentation on migrants rights and two award winning films, Children in No Man's Land and La Americana.

· VIRTUAL (ONLINE): Live Chat on Youth Migration, at http://events.takingitglobal.org/21977 – hosted by TakingITGlobal. Panel presentations and discussion. Panelists include René Plaetevoet, December 18; Michael Boampont, Young People We Care; Naomi Onaga, Migrants' Rights International.

Contacts:

Angela Sarakan
(+1) 940 642 4930
communications.mri@gmail.com

Jaime Durham, MRI
(+1) 925 784 2948
campaigns.mri@gmail.com