For a Swiss Ratification of

the International Convention on

the Protection of the Rights of all Migrants


Responding to the new hardening of the Swiss migration policy, a national mobilisation that came gradually under way following the Swiss Social Forum in Fribourg (3 – 6 June 2005), and the national demonstration on 18 June 2005 in Bern lead to the convening of the first ‘Estates General’ body on asylum and migration in Berne (17-18 December 2005). These Estates General assembled numerous sympathisers and more than 40 organisations from across Switzerland, all working for the defence of the right to asylum and the rights of foreigners, to “share experiences, analyse [the present situation of migration policies in Switzerland and in Europe], to build a common strategy and to create a Swiss network of information, reflection and actions”.

By its presence and active participation in the organisation of the Estates General, the CETIM’s objective is to draw attention to the existence of international human rights treaties, especially the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (ICRMW). It proposed that a group of associations take upon itself the responsibility to organise and to launch a national campaign aiming at the ratification of the ICRMW by Switzerland.

In this context, the question of the Convention was raised, on the one hand from an analytical point of view by the speaker invited by the CETIM, and on the other, in an interactive way in a workshop co-organised by the CETIM and the Centre de Contact Suisses-Immigrés (CCSI-GE). The workshop concluded that it was necessary to: a) to make the ICRMW known in Switzerland and integrate some of its propositions in the arguments for the referendum against the new law on foreigners; b) undertake a juridical study in order to analyse the implications of the ICRMW in Swiss law; and c) constitute a national co-ordination mechanism charged with organizing a national campaign for the ratification of the ICRMW by Switzerland.

The appeal to the Swiss government to ratify the ICRMW was officially taken note of by the Estates General in the resolution adopted by the plenary meeting.

The documents of these first Estates General on asylum and migration are now being edited and working groups have been constituted to ensure the effective functioning of the Swiss network and the communication of information between it and the European network Migr’Europ, as well as to plan the next national actions. The CETIM will contribute to the follow up of the ratification campaign of the ICRMW and will continue to transmit the demands of the Swiss social movements to the UN.

Text of the convention        
List of State parties to the Convention and date of ratification
Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on Migrants
Reports of Missions of the Special Rapporteur
Comittee on migrant workers
UNESCO Information kit on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers



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Les migrants et leurs droits au Maghreb. Avec une référence spéciale à la Convention sur la protection des droits de tous les travailleurs migrants, UNESCO (2004)
Impact of ratifying the 1990 UN Convention on the Rights of all migrant workers and Members of their Family. Case study of the Philippines and Sri Lanka , Asia Pacific Migration Research Network (2005)
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The protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS and Perspectives of joining the 1990 UN Convention , UNESCO (2004)
The Rights of Migrant Workers and Members of their Families : Nigeria , UNESCO (2003)
Global Campaign Website
Achieving Dignity : Campaigner's Handbook for the Migrants Rights Convention , Migrants Rights International (1998)
International Catholic Migration Commission - ICMC
Centre de contact Suisses-Immigrés - CCSI
Groupe d'information et de soutien des immigrés - GISTI
Solidarité sans frontières
December 18
Revue des migrations forcées
International Labour Organization - ILO (Migration department)
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - UNESCO (Migration department)
International Organization for Migration - IOM
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights - UNHCHR