The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families is a United Nations multilateral treaty governing the protection of migrant workers and families. Signed on 18 December 1990, it entered into force on 1 July 2003 after the threshold of 20 ratifying States was reached in March 2003. The Committee on Migrant Workers (CMW) monitors implementation of the convention, and is one of the seven UN-linked human rights treaty bodies. The convention applies as of October 2022 in 58 countries.[1]

International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
Migrant Workers Convention parties and signatories map.svg
States parties and signatories to the treaty:
Signed18 December 1990[1]
LocationNew York
Effective1 July 2003[1]
Condition20 ratifications[1]
DepositarySecretary-General of the United Nations
LanguagesArabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish


"It is time to take a more comprehensive look at the various dimensions of the migration issue, which now involves hundreds of millions of people, and affects countries of origin, transit and destination. We need to understand better the causes of international flows of people and their complex interrelationship with development." United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, from his report on strengthening the Organization, 9 November 2002.[2]


The United Nations Convention constitutes a comprehensive international treaty regarding the protection of migrant workers' rights. It emphasizes the connection between migration and human rights, which is increasingly becoming a crucial policy topic worldwide. The Convention aims at protecting migrant workers and members of their families; its existence sets a moral standard, and serves as a guide and stimulus for the promotion of migrant rights in each country.

In the Preamble, the Convention recalls conventions by International Labour Organization on migrant workers: Migration for Employment Convention (Revised), 1949, Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Convention, 1975, and on forced labour; Forced Labour Convention and Abolition of Forced Labour Convention as well as international human rights treaties including Convention against Discrimination in Education.

The primary objective of the Convention is to foster respect for migrants' human rights. Migrants are not only workers, they are also human beings. The Convention does not create new rights for migrants but aims at guaranteeing equality of treatment, and the same working conditions, including in case of temporary work, for migrants and nationals. The Convention innovates because it relies on the fundamental notion that all migrants should have access to a minimum degree of protection. The Convention recognizes that regular migrants have the legitimacy to claim more rights than irregular immigrants, but it stresses that irregular migrants must see their fundamental human rights respected, like all human beings.

In the meantime, the Convention proposes that actions be taken to eradicate clandestine movements, notably through the fight against misleading information inciting people to migrate irregularly, and through sanctions against traffickers and employers of undocumented migrants.

Article 7 of this Convention protects the rights of migrant workers and their families regardless of "sex, race, colour, language, religion or conviction, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, nationality, age, economic position, property, marital status, birth, or other status".[3] And Article 29 protects rights of child of migrant worker to name, to registration of birth and to a nationality.

This Convention is also recalled by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the Preamble.[4]

Parties and signatoriesEdit

As of August 2021 countries that have ratified the Convention are primarily countries of origin of migrants (such as Mexico, Morocco, and the Philippines). For these countries, the Convention is an important vehicle to protect their citizens living abroad. In the Philippines, for example, ratification of the Convention took place in a context characterized by several cases of Filipino workers being mistreated abroad: such cases hurt the Filipino population and prompted the ratification of the Convention. However, these countries are also transit and destination countries, and the Convention delineates their responsibility to protect the rights of migrants in their territory, and they have done little to protect those at home.[5][6]

No migrant-receiving state in Western Europe or North America has ratified the Convention. Other important receiving countries, such as Australia, Arab states of the Persian Gulf, India and South Africa have not ratified the Convention.


World population covered by the treaty[1][a]
Legend Population[a] Per.
1,809,852,000 23.22%
83,145,000 1.07%
5,901,802,000 75.71%
Parties and signatories[1]
State Status Signature Deposit Method Population[a]
  Albania Party 5 June 2007 Accession 2,878,000
  Algeria Party 21 April 2005 Accession 43,851,000
  Argentina Party 10 August 2004 23 February 2007 Ratification 45,196,000
  Armenia Signatory 26 September 2013 2,963,000
  Azerbaijan Party 11 January 1999 Accession 10,139,000
  Bangladesh Party 7 October 1998 24 August 2011 Ratification 164,689,000
  Belize Party 14 November 2001 Accession 398,000
  Benin Party 15 September 2005 6 July 2018 Ratification 12,123,000
  Bolivia Party 16 October 2000 Accession 11,673,000
  Bosnia and Herzegovina Party 13 December 1996 Accession 3,281,000
  Burkina Faso Party 16 November 2001 26 November 2003 Ratification 20,903,000
  Cabo Verde Party 16 September 1997 Accession 556,000
  Cambodia Signatory 27 September 2004 16,719,000
  Cameroon Signatory 15 December 2009 26,546,000
  Chad Party 26 September 2012 22 February 2022 Ratification 16,426,000
  Chile Party 24 September 1993 21 March 2005 Ratification 19,116,000
  Colombia Party 24 May 1995 Accession 50,883,000
  Comoros Signatory 22 September 2000 870,000
  Congo, Republic of the Party 29 September 2008 31 March 2017 Ratification 5,518,000
  Ecuador Party 5 February 2002 Accession 17,643,000
  Egypt Party 19 February 1993 Accession 102,334,000
  El Salvador Party 13 September 2002 14 March 2003 Ratification 6,486,000
  Fiji Party 19 August 2019 Accession 896,000
  Gabon Signatory 15 December 2004 2,226,000
  Gambia Party 20 September 2017 28 September 2018 Ratification 2,417,000
  Ghana Party 7 September 2000 7 September 2000 Ratification 31,073,000
  Guatemala Party 7 September 2000 14 March 2003 Ratification 17,916,000
  Guinea Party 7 September 2000 Accession 13,133,000
  Guinea-Bissau Party 12 September 2000 22 October 2018 Ratification 1,968,000
  Guyana Party 15 September 2005 7 July 2010 Ratification 787,000
  Haiti Signatory 5 December 2013 11,403,000
  Honduras Party 9 August 2005 Accession 9,905,000
  Indonesia Party 22 September 2004 31 May 2012 Ratification 273,524,000
  Jamaica Party 25 September 2008 25 September 2008 Ratification 2,961,000
  Kyrgyzstan Party 29 September 2003 Accession 6,524,000
  Lesotho Party 24 September 2004 16 September 2005 Ratification 2,142,000
  Liberia Signatory 22 September 2004 5,058,000
  Libya Party 18 June 2004 Accession 6,871,000
  Madagascar Party 24 September 2014 13 May 2015 Ratification 27,691,000
  Malawi Party 23 September 2022 23 September 2022 Ratification 19,130,000
  Mali Party 5 June 2003 Accession 20,251,000
  Mauritania Party 22 January 2007 Accession 4,650,000
  Mexico Party 22 May 1991 8 March 1999 Ratification 128,933,000
  Montenegro Signatory 23 October 2006 628,000
  Morocco Party 15 August 1991 21 June 1993 Ratification 36,911,000
  Mozambique Party 15 March 2012 19 August 2013 Ratification 31,255,000
  Nicaragua Party 26 October 2005 Accession 6,625,000
  Niger Party 18 March 2009 Accession 24,207,000
  Nigeria Party 27 July 2009 Accession 206,140,000
  Palau Signatory 20 September 2011 18,000
  Paraguay Party 13 September 2000 23 September 2008 Ratification 7,133,000
  Peru Party 22 September 2004 14 September 2005 Ratification 32,972,000
  Philippines Party 15 November 1993 5 July 1995 Ratification 109,581,000
  Rwanda Party 15 December 2008 Accession 12,952,000
  São Tomé and Príncipe Party 6 September 2000 10 January 2017 Ratification 219,000
  Senegal Party 9 June 1999 Accession 16,744,000
  Serbia Signatory 11 November 2004 8,737,000
  Seychelles Party 15 December 1994 Accession 98,000
  Sierra Leone Signatory 15 September 2000 7,977,000
  Sri Lanka Party 11 March 1996 Accession 21,413,000
  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Party 29 October 2010 Accession 111,000
  Syria Party 2 June 2005 Accession 17,501,000
  Tajikistan Party 7 September 2000 8 January 2002 Ratification 9,538,000
  Timor-Leste Party 30 January 2004 Accession 1,318,000
  Togo Party 15 November 2001 16 December 2020 Ratification 8,279,000
  Turkey Party 13 January 1999 27 September 2004 Ratification 84,339,000
  Uganda Party 14 November 1995 Accession 45,741,000
  Uruguay Party 15 February 2001 Accession 3,474,000
  Venezuela Party 4 October 2011 25 October 2016 Ratification 28,436,000

Intersessional panel discussionEdit

In June/July 2022, at the Human Rights Council Fiftieth session, the Human Rights Council held an Intersessional panel discussion on the human rights of migrants in vulnerable situations that were previously stated under 35/17 and 47/12 resolutions. The High Commissioner pointed out concerns related to the criminalization of migration, gender-based violence, arbitrary detention, family separation, loss of lives, harmful and dehumanizing narratives, and pervasive discrimination owing to personal factors, including age, gender, or disability. The broader impact of COVID-19 was also highlighted. Statements were provided by panelists reiterating that all migrants, regardless of status, were entitled to all human rights. Concerns on situations of vulnerability that migrants encountered in transit and at borders and violence perpetrated against migrants, including by State and non-State actors were also referred. Calls were made for independent mechanisms to monitor human rights violations, increase attention to the human rights of migrants, the importance of international cooperation, and the need to translate these rights into adequate legal and regulatory provisions. Additional recommendations included the need for implementing comprehensive protection regimes to identify and address situations of vulnerability in the process of migration. Remarks were made on the need for the international community to understand the root causes of migration and the challenges associated with it, and the range of measures that are needed to respond adequately to those challenges. Annual panel discussions were suggested by the High Commissioner.[8][9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Population figures are 2020 mid-year medium-variant projections from the United Nations World Population Prospects 2019.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "13. International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. New York, 18 December 1990". UN Treaty base. Retrieved 2 August 2021.
  2. ^ "United Nations Maintenance Page". Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  3. ^ Kinnear, Karen L. (2011). Women in Developing Countries: A Reference Handbook. ABC-CLIO. p. 184. ISBN 9781598844252.
  4. ^ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Preamble,(d)
  5. ^ Palmer, Wayne; Missbach, Antje (4 May 2019). "Enforcing labour rights of irregular migrants in Indonesia". Third World Quarterly. 40 (5): 908–925. doi:10.1080/01436597.2018.1522586. ISSN 0143-6597.
  6. ^ Palmer, Wayne (2018). "Back Pay for Trafficked Migrant Workers: An Indonesian Case Study". International Migration. 56 (2): 56–67. doi:10.1111/imig.12376.
  7. ^ "World Population Prospects 2019: Volume I: Comprehensive Tables" (PDF). United Nations. 2019. pp. 23–32. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 February 2022. Retrieved 13 February 2022.
  8. ^ "Intersessional panel discussion on the human rights of migrants in vulnerable situations, 21 February 2022". United Nations. 21 February 2022. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
  9. ^ Human Rights Council (21 February 2022). Summary of the intersessional panel discussion on the human rights of migrants in vulnerable situations; Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (Report). United Nations. A/HRC/50/52. Retrieved 2 October 2022.

External linksEdit