The General Assembly of the United Nations, on account of the large and increasing number of migrants in the world, made a proclamation of December 18 as International Migrants Day (A/RES/55/93). Prior to the proclamation of IMD, the Assembly, in 1990, adopted the international Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (A/RES/45/158). 132 Member States participated in the High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development which was conducted by the General Assembly on September 14 and 15, 2006.
During the dialogue, it was discovered that international migration has become a growing phenomenon which could contribute positively to development in countries of destination and countries of origin if it was supported by the right policies. It was also stressed that respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of every migrant was crucial to gain the benefits of international migration. There was also recognition of the need to strengthen international cooperation on international migration bilaterally, regionally and globally.
International migration cannot replace development.
A high-level dialogue stated that international migrations could positively contribute to development, it added that international migration was not a replacement for development. Most often than not, migrants resort to seeking employment abroad as a result of poverty, conflict or violations of human rights. However, peace and security, the rule of law, good governance and the provision of decent work in countries of origin guaranteed that citizens migrated out of choice rather than of necessity.
International migration is considered an integral part of the development agenda and should be included as a part of national development strategies. The High-level Dialogue prompted the Government of Belgium to launch a process for the establishment of the Global Forum on Migration and Development as a voluntary, non-binding and informal consultative process, open to and led by all States Members of the United Nations and observers. The Global Forum unites Government expertise from all religions, fosters promotion of dialogue, and practical and action-oriented outcomes at the national regional and global levels.
There is no collated data on Nigerian emigrants.
Within West Africa, Nigeria has become one of the most important countries of destination and countries of transit. Also, the country is one of the few countries in West Africa to develop a national policy on migration. The policy covers migration and development, national security, forced displacement, organized labor migration, the national population, funding for migration management, migration and social issues, irregular movement, the human rights of migrants, internal migration, and migration data and statistics.
Despite the national policy on migration, migration is barely a feature in the main government development plans of Nigeria. Currently, there is no recorded collated data on Nigerian emigrants from any Nigerian ministries or agencies as a result there is a lack of unified documentation and data collection at local, regional and international levels. In addition, while Nigeria had half a million of the country’s inhabitants as migrants in 1990, there were 1.3 million international migrants in 2020.
IMD disseminates information on human rights of migrants.
UN Member States and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations observe the International Migrants Day by disseminating information on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants, and sharing experiences and design of actions to guarantee their protection. UNESCO lays emphasis on the human of migration and addresses the effect of the movement of people within its fields of competence by addition of its interventions in a human rights framework. The day also recognizes the essential contribution of migrants and highlights challenges they face.