On 18 December 1990, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

Everyone has the right to leave any country,
including his own, and to return to his country.
Article 13 (2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

On 18 December 1990, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families

In the following years, the date was taken as reference and as a way of supporting demonstrations of migrants. As from that moment, campaigns were thought out for the promotion of an official day in recognition of migrants and their rights. Therefore, on 4 December 2000, pursuant to Resolution No. 55/93, the UN General Assembly stated the following: “taking into account the great and increasing number of migrants around the world, encouraged by the increasing interest of the international community in the effective and full protection of migrants’ human rights, and based on the need to make further efforts to ensure respect for migrants’ human rights and fundamental freedoms, it decides to declare 18 December as the International Migrants Day.”

The Convention adopted in 1990 finally came into force on 1 July 2003, after being ratified by 20 countries. Currently, 52 countries have ratified it.

Between 2000 and 2015, the number of international migrants worldwide grew by 41%. While in 2000 the estimate was 173 million, in 2015 it grew up to 244 million (UN, 2016). In Latin America and the Caribbean there are about 9 million international migrants that contribute in a major way to their countries of origin and destination.

By 2017, the number of international migrants (people residing in a country different from their country of origin) had reached 258 million worldwide, according to the Global Portal on Migration Data.

On 19 September 2016, at the first summit on the mobility of migrants and refugees, the General Assembly approved a set of specific measures for Member States. These commitments undertaken by States are known as The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants (or simply the New York Declaration). Said declaration ratifies the importance of the international protection of migrants and refugees and reinforces the obligation of the States to improve it. Additionally, in December 2018, 164 countries approved the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration at the Intergovernmental Conference that took place in Marrakesh (Morocco).

Migrants and Cities

Cities are spaces that connect local actions to global actions and provide visibility and proximity between the different parties involved. Currently, more than half of the world’s population live in cities and it is estimated to reach the 66% of the world´s population by 2050 (UN, 2014). Also, migrants, asylum seekers and refugees are increasingly settling down in urban areas, and are thus turning them into multiethnic, multicultural and intercultural spaces.

In 2017, UNESCO emphasized the importance of cities as strategic spaces for sustainable development and promotion of interculturality and, in turn, promoted different city platforms, such as the International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities (with a specific chapter for Latin America and the Caribbean) and the Coalition of Latin American and Caribbean Cities against Racism, Discrimination and Xenophobia

Today more than ever, local authorities must have a leading role in the fight against prejudices by developing public policies that favor inclusion and encourage interculturality. Governments face the challenge of managing policies that include said diversity and value contributions made by migrants to their origin and destination countries.

The SDGs and Cities Handbook. International Human Mobility

Within this context, the CIPDH published The SDGs and Cities Handbook. International Human Mobility, supported by UNESCO’s Regional Bureau for Science in Latin America and the Caribbean and with the help of the Coalition of Latin American and Caribbean Cities against Racism, Discrimination and Xenophobia

It is a support tool that gives local governments an outlook of the different care, reception and integration strategies for migrants and refugees in cities of Latin America and the Caribbean, from a human rights perspective and in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The publication provides a context and a conceptual framework to a global and regional phenomenon marked by millions of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees who are increasingly settling down in cities, thus turning urban areas into multiethnic, multicultural and intercultural spaces. In addition, it addresses the multiple challenges that local governments face and their strategic role for the development of inclusive diversity policies with regard to human mobility.

For its development, in 2017, a consultation procedure was carried out to member cities of the Coalition, interviews to key actors in the cities were conducted, and documents and current international diagnosis on human mobility were analyzed.  In addition, more than one hundred relevant experiences worldwide that were linked to migrants, asylum seekers and/or refugees were identified and analyzed and those that, based on their relevance and context, were considered more eloquent for the region and cities in Latin America and the Caribbean, were selected.

The Handbook is a practical tool that includes 13 possible courses of action to be implemented by local governments for the management of international human mobility, focusing on human rights and taking into account social participation and systematic production of information as their substantial factor. Said actions address subjects like education, gender, health, access to documentation, access to employment, institutionality, participation and fight against discrimination. Also, the work shows the different stages suggested for the implementation of this practical tool in local management.