In a world defined by social, economic and political challenges, migration, freedom of movement and essential human rights have a central role. When discussing the positive attributes of migration, migrants are considered in terms of their ability to boost an economy or the remittances which can be said to contribute to national development. However, more needs to be done with regard to the interests and rights of the individual; the promotion of mental and physical well-being and the essential regard to human-dignity should be the basis on which migration policy is formulated and implemented.
Migrant workers often face higher rates of unemployment but even for those fortunate enough to find work, there are huge discrepancies in the general labour environment. Over-qualification, job insecurity, reduced wages and poor working conditions characterise the employment market for migrant workers where women and youth, two sectors of society for which FYEG and its member organisations have highlighted the struggle, are particularly at risk.
The UN estimates that one out of every 35 people worldwide is living permanently or temporarily outside their country of origin. This number includes migrant workers together with their families, immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees but is unable to take into account those of irregular or undocumented status, increasingly referred to as ‘illegal’, a term which exacerbates the level of discrimination and perceived entitlement to rights. Although there have been valiant attempts to raise the level of public education regarding international human rights law there remains a level of prejudice directly correlated with this lack of knowledge.
It is crucial that those who are fortunate enough to have a voice in Europe advocate the rights of migrants and do so by quoting and requesting the implementation of The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, 1990, the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees and Protocol, The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and other such innovative texts created to ensure that essential human rights are observed.