On International Migrants Day, Wednesday December 18th, Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) highlights the importance of migrants to society, the economy and community life in Ireland.
MRCI Director Siobhan O’Donoghue said, “This is a day to celebrate the contribution that migrants make across the world, from the Irish diaspora over the centuries to migrants in Ireland today. Migrants make a double contribution – to the economy of the country they live in, and the economy of the country they come from.”
Ms O’Donoghue continued, "We must also recognise the challenges migrants face everywhere. 2013 was a dangerous year to be a migrant. Thousands of people have died just trying to make a better life for themselves. The loss of life at Lampedusa, Italy and in the Niger desert is a stark reminder that migration can be treacherous, especially for women and children; we need to develop safe, regular channels of migration to prevent further tragedies.”
The UN High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development in October re-emphasised the simple fact that migrant rights are human rights, and that protecting the rights of migrants is central to upholding human rights standards across the globe.
Ms O’Donoghue concluded, “Migrants are living and working in Ireland, contributing daily to our economy and our communities. 2014 is the year for immigration reform; we know that the Minister for Justice is committed to bringing in fair and transparent legislation which will give effect to our international human rights commitments, to the benefit of Ireland and migrants alike. We look forward to working with the government to bring forward this legislation.”
International Migrants Day is celebrated on the anniversary of the UN General Assembly’s adoption of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (December 18th 1990). Ireland has not yet signed up to this convention.