migrant workers

Migrant workers are “foreigners” who have been allowed to enter the territory – typically because they are thought to perform an economically valuable role in the receiving countries. They may have skills that are in short supply in the receiving country, or be prepared to do work that others will not do. Despite their contribution migrant workers face profound discrimination. Most countries that are net migrant receiving countries have refused to ratify the treaty that protects the human rights of migrant workers: the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.

Frontera Movie Review

Frontera movie promo

The Frontera movie is a story about lives shattered by the US-Mexico border. The story unfolds around two families: one from the Mexican side, one from the U.S. side.  Miguel (Michael Peña) crosses the border to find work to support his family, including his pregnant wife Paulina (Eva Longoria).  On the other side lives a…

Movement Against Xenophobia – I am an Immigrant

I am an immigrant

“I AM AN IMMIGRANT” is a positive campaign out of the United Kingdom. It celebrates the contribution immigrants make to society. Xenophobia is rising around Europe.  Rather than buying into the controversy, the campaign shifts the rhetoric by simply telling the truth.  The truth is captured in stories to be placed on posters throughout Britain. …

Crossing Over: does immigration policy discriminate?

Graphs of migration planning levels for Australia http://www.immi.gov.au/media/statistics/statistical-info/visa-grants/ creative commons licence 3.0 attribution

Does immigration policy discriminate?  The White Australia policy is gone – so we might conclude that it doesn’t.  And indeed Australia would be unrecognisable to those who created the White Australia policy at the end of the 19th century. Times change and such racist practices are now a condemned part of the past. Today Australia…

The borders of virtue and power

Between Virtue and Power

Closing borders: to refugees, to undocumented migrants, raises questions of virtue and questions of power. The public debate around borders is so fractured, so superficial, so bedevilled with assumption and ritual conflict that it conveys little new meaning.  It simply reiterates the existence of a continuing contest – a contest that often is more about power than rights. In this contest…

Do Foreigners Have the Same Human Rights as the Rest of Us?

Same Human Rights?

At the core of human rights is the axiomatic truth that human beings have inherent rights: that all human beings are equal and possessed of dignity and that violation of such rights is both morally offensive and legally impermissible. An alternative ordering of human relationships is mandated by exclusive national citizenship. Implicitly and explicitly national…

Migrant Rights? Not our problem …

migrant rights are human rights protest

Despite being urged to do so, Australia will not ratify the Migrant Workers Convention: one of the major human rights treaties of the world.  The Australian Human Rights Commission and countries taking part in a review of Australia’s human rights performance under the UN universal periodic review, urged Australia to consider ratifying the International Convention on the Protection…

Australia Ratify Now: Migrant Workers Convention

Migrants Protesting for their Rights in California

One by one the world has adopted the major human rights treaties.  Early on the general ones: the ones that said everyone has human rights.  Then the treaties that tried to make this real for different groups in society.  The ones that said we couldn’t discriminate on the basis of race, or against women, or commit torture, or violate…

Libya’s Migrant Slaves

Benghazi - calling for freedom

Among the tragedies befalling the people of Libya, is the tragedy befalling its migrant workers.   On 9 March the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies reported that 30,000 migrant workers were forced back into Libya by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi to ‘return to work’ in Tripoli.   This forced return amounts to slavery.  It also violates international human rights…

No One is Illegal

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“You who are so-called illegal aliens must know that no human being is ‘illegal’. That is a contradiction in terms. Human beings can be beautiful or more beautiful, they can be fat or skinny, they can be right or wrong, but illegal? How can a human being be illegal?”  Elie Wiesel, holocaust survivor, nobel peace…