Education International
Education International

International Migrants Day: EI reminds governments to ensure the rights of migrants and refugees

published 18 January 2017 updated 2 January 2018

Education International calls on governments, the United Nations and other intergovernmental organisations and stakeholders to defend and promote the rights of all migrants and refugees.

Education International (EI) particularly urges governments to ensure full respect for the human, trade union and education rights of migrant children, teachers and education support personnel. Rising xenophobia, racism and discrimination, as well as the unprecedented scale of human displacement during recent years highlight the urgent need for a global commitment to fair migration and coherent, rights-based policies. The recent revelations concerning the enslavement of migrants and refugees in Libya is a wake-up call for the UN and governments to take immediate action to guarantee the protection and safety of migrants.

The UN Global Compact on Safe, Regular, and Orderly Migration, to be adopted by member states next year, represents a historic opportunity to address these issues. Education International insists that migrant and refugee workers and children’s rights should be fully reflected in the Global Compact.

Ensure implementation of UN and ILO Conventions on Migration

Governments should ratify and implement the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families and ILO migration conventions, thus ensuring that migrant workers have the same rights, terms and employment conditions as local workers, including freedom of association, the right to organize and collective bargaining.

“The Global Compact should be rooted in existing human rights treaties,” said EI General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen. Van Leeuwen insisted that UN Covenants, Conventions and other instruments are applicable to all human beings, including migrants.

Address the root causes of migration

Education International insists that governments must address the root causes of migration such as global imbalances in economic development, poverty, political instability, conflict, unemployment and climate change. “Addressing these factors will ensure that migration becomes an option rather than a necessity for the majority of migrants and refugees”, opines Van Leeuwen.

Ensure access to quality education and other public services

EI calls on governments of transit and destination countries to ensure the right to free quality education for all migrant children, youth and adults. In addition to basic and post-basic education, migrants should have access to quality early childhood, language and technical, vocational education and training programmes.

“Particular measures should be taken to enable unaccompanied minors and undocumented children to have access to qualify education,” stressed van Leeuwen.

Destination country governments should also recognise the qualifications of migrants, including those of migrant and refugee teachers as an important pathway to employment and decent work, he continued.

Today, EI’s Dennis Sinyolo is at the UN participating in the third multi-stakeholder hearing on the Global Compact. He will be calling on the UN and its member states to put education, teachers, education support personnel and children’s rights at the core of the Global Compact on Migration.