International Migrants Day - December 18


On December 18, the international community recognizes and celebrates the rights of migrants around the world. This year, 2020, marks the 30th anniversary of the UN's International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (commonly referred to as the Migrant Workers Convention or Migrant Rights Convention). It was approved by the UN General Assembly on Dec. 18, 1990.

The Migrant Workers Convention affirms the human rights of all migrants, regardless of citizenship or immigration status, and recognizes that migrants are men, women, children, and families – not just economic commodities. In 2003, the Convention "entered into force"; today, 55 countries have ratified or acceded to the Convention.

Statement from UN Secretary General

"We must ensure that migrants, irrespective of their legal status, are included in every country’s pandemic response, particularly in health and vaccination programming. We must reject hate speech and acts of xenophobia. And we must find solutions for those migrants who have been left stranded, without income or legal status, and without means to return home." 

UN Migration Network: Stronger Together: Including Migrants in the COVID-19 Response and Recovery

"On International Migrants Day, the United Nations Network on Migration calls on the international community to recognize that inclusive societies are more resilient, dynamic and successful. In 2021, being ‘inclusive’ will imply providing universal access to healthcare and social protection for migrants, regardless of status, as well as safe and affordable access to COVID-19 vaccines. It will also mean paying greater attention to the heightened risks that migrants can face, particularly those in irregular situations. Human and labour rights are not to be ‘earned’ by virtue of being a frontline hero or a victim; everyone, whatever their origin, age, gender and status, is entitled to their rights."

Human Rights at the Border: A Facebook Live Vigil

This year, NNIRR is co-hosting with our colleagues at the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity (IM4HI) an event on Facebook Live: Human Rights at the Border: A Facebook Live Vigil and discussion on human rights.  Facebook Live: 10 am PST — join in on NNIRR's Facebook page








Global Celebration of Our Rights and Our Struggle for Justice is an all day global event on December 18. NNIRR is a member of the Civil Society Action Committee, one of the co-conveners, and will be presenting in the panel on borders. Go here to see the program and to register:

#StandUp4Migrants - Check out this new Toolbox created by OHCHR, the UN's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, launching on International Migrants Day 2020. Read an Overview of the Toolbox and how to use it. (Graphic by OHCHR)

International Migrants Day 2020

Let's honor International Migrants Day 2020 with a call to action to lift up and respect human rights of all migrants, and to commit to challenge and end all forms of racism and xenophobia. This past year has been traumatic for migrants and refugees on many levels. The global pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus has multiplied the factors impacting population displacement and migration, and the lives of migrants and refugees in transit, at borders, and at destinations. While some countries and communities have responded generously and courageously to address the health and economic hardships of so many, still others have used the pandemic as "cause" to fuel anti-immigrant and racist hate and violence. Some countries have mounted harsh border and immigration restrictions without regard for the right to mobility, or for asylum access.

With hope for effective vaccines on the horizon, we need to step up our demand for equitable access to health care and to the vaccines themselves for all people in migration, regardless of their immigration status or citizenship. Immigrant workers around the world have also been performing "essential work" during the pandemic -- in health and home care work; food production and distribution; in restaurants and building maintenance and cleaning. Some, working in hospitals and senior care facilities, have been among the hardest hit by COVID, falling ill and dying at a much higher rate than others.

We continue to call for the recognition and respect and human rights at international borders, and urge an immediate end to the detention of migrant children and families.

We join with our members, colleagues and partners in the U.S. and around the world in urging national governments and international institutions to redouble their efforts to ensure that no one is left out of the COVID recovery process.


You can see more information on the issue of border justice here. Go here to learn more about the international initiative to recognize human rights at international borders.


How can organizations recognize International Migrants Day?

International Migrants Day is a day when we can express our support and solidarity with all immigrants. In a period when economic crises have stirred anxieties about immigration and when unjust policies and public discrimination against immigrants have intensified, we call for respect and justice for all immigrants, regardless of their status. December 18 provides an opportunity to highlight important issues affecting immigrant communities. It also serves as a reminder of the rights guaranteed to all migrants by the Migrant Workers Convention, and the need for all nations, including the U.S., to ratify and adopt its standards.

  • Hold a press conference, public forum, or community workshop around a current campaign or on immigrant and human rights.
  • Join us! Every year on Dec. 18 we do a global TWEET STORM! #IMD2020 #MigrantRightsNow @NNIRRNetwork
  • Speak with local public officials about just immigration reform, immigration enforcement, and the human rights of immigrants.
  • Ask your local and state government representatives and bodies to recognize International Migrants Day with resolutions and declarations of support. (Download 'resolution tip sheet')
  • Issue an organizational statement on International Migrants Day; collect contributions to place an ad in your local newspaper about immigrant rights.
  • Screen films and documentaries about human rights.
  • Host a fundraiser, house party, “posada”, or other celebration for your organization.

Useful Links and Resources: