Advancing the protection of migrants human rights

Leicester Law School lecturer Alan Desmond has recently edited an international collaborative book on the UN Migrant Workers Convention and its potential to advance the protection of migrants’ human rights.

The UN Migrant Workers Convention is the most comprehensive international treaty in the field of migration and human rights. It establishes the minimum standards of human rights protection to which migrant workers and members of their families are entitled. It was adopted by the UN in 1990 and has been in force since 2003 but has so far been ratified by only 51 states.

The book, entitled ‘Shining new light on the UN Migrant Workers Convention’, examines obstacles and opportunities facing the Convention, its added value in international human rights law and its application in selected state parties.

The volume combines the expertise of academics and practitioners, with the contributions of the latter informed by work on policy and advocacy in NGOs, international organisations and specialised agencies.

The Convention has long been identified with the low number of ratifications it has so far accrued. The book challenges that narrative by highlighting the Convention’s added value in international human rights law and its potential to advance the protection of migrants’ human rights.

As noted in the foreword by François Crépeau, former UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, the book “brings forward a welcome analysis of the 1990 Convention, its qualities, its flaws, its interpretation and its future, as a key piece of our world’s human rights framework.”

The book also continues a tradition of scholarly endeavour on the topic of the Convention at Leicester Law School.

One of the first major works which examined the Convention in detail, Migrant Workers in International Human Rights Law (1997), was written by Ryszard Cholewinski who taught at Leicester from 1992 – 2005. More recently, Bernard Ryan, Professor of Migration Law here at Leicester, has published on the UK’s failure to ratify the Convention.

Book editor Alan Desmond said: “The book is an important addition to the all-too-scarce literature on the UN Migrant Workers Convention, the least well-known of the core international human rights instruments. It includes contributions from both established and emerging scholars from across the globe and will be of interest to anyone working in the field of migrants’ human rights. Its publication is particularly timely in light of current UN efforts to conclude a Global Compact on safe, orderly and regular migration.”