UN marks International Migrant's Day with call for protecting their rights
By Ndeloa Columbus
THE United Nations marked International Migrant's Day on Monday with appeals for member states to adhere to an international treaty designed to protect the rights of the estimated 195 million migrants around the world.
"Rising numbers of migrants are being exploited and abused by smugglers and traffickers," Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a message.
"Others suffer discrimination, xenophobia or racism. In some instances migrants are demonized as a burden on their host societies even when objective assessments suggest otherwise."
Annan noted that international cooperation can play a crucial role in ending such abuse, pointing to last September's UN Summit in New York which highlighted a core set of priorities, ranging from ensuring the human rights of migrants and preventing exploitation and people-smuggling to increasing the development gains from international migration.
Only 34 States have so far ratified the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families that entered into force in 2003 after being adopted by the General Assembly in 1990.
"Yet most states have yet to adhere to this treaty," Annan said. "On this International Migrants Day, I urge all member states who have not done so to sign and ratify the convention, and in any event to provide all migrants with the rights and protection they need and