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[ 13. Nov 2011 ]

World Charter of Migrants Proclamated at Goree (Senegal) on February 4, 2011

World Charter of Migrants

Migrants are targets of unjust policies. These, to the detriment of universal human rights, make humans beings oppose each other by using discriminatory strategies based on nationality, ethnicity, religion or gender.


These policies are imposed by a conservative and hegemonic system that tries to maintain privileges by exploiting the work and the physical and intellectual strength of migrants. To do this they use the exorbitant powers permitted by the arbitrary power of the Nation State and a global system of domination inherited from colonisation and deportation. This system is obsolete, and generates crimes against humanity. This is why it must be abolished.

Security policies put in place by the United Nations would make one believe that migration is a problem and a threat, even though migration has always been a natural historical fact. Of course migration can be complicated but far from being a calamity for the country of residence it constitutes an invaluable economic, social and
cultural input.

Migrants everywhere are deprived of the full exercise of their right to freedom, to movement and to settle on our planet.

They are also deprived of their right to peace and to their economic, social, cultural, civic and political rights guaranteed by various international conventions.

Only a wide alliance of migrants can promote the emergence of new rights for every person from their birth, without distinction of origin, colour, sex or beliefs. For this, this alliance of migrants must permit them to contribute to the construction of new economic and social policies, around principles of ethics. It must also enable them to contribute to a recasting of the conception of territoriality, of the system of global governance and of its current dominant economic and ideological base.

That is whey we, migrants of the entire world, building on propositions and suggestions we have received since 2006, and after extensive discussions on a global scale, adopt this World Charter of Migrants.

Our ambition is to assert, based on these situations that migrants live, the right of everybody to be able to move and to settle freely on our planet, and to contribute to a world without walls.

For this, we, migrants who have left our region or our country, under duress or of our own will and are living in another part of the world, either temporarily or permanently, come together the 3rd and 4th of February 2011 on Gorée Island in Senegal.

We proclaim,

Because we belong to the Earth, all people have the right to be able to choose their place of residence, to stay where she lives, or to move and settle freely without constraints on any part of the Earth.

All people, without exclusion, have the right to move freely from the countryside to the city, from the city to the countryside, from one province to another. All people have the right to leave any country to go to another, and to return.

All provisions and restrictive measures that limit freedom of movement and of settlement must be repealed (laws relating to visas, passes and permits, and authorisations and all other laws relating to freedom of movement).

Migrants of the entire world should enjoy the same rights as the nationals and citizens of their country of residence or of transit, and assume the same responsibilities in all essential fields of economic, political, cultural, social and educative life. They should have the right to vote and be eligible to work in all legislative organs at local, regional and national level and to assume their
responsibilities until the end of their mandate.

Migrants must have the right to speak and to share their mother language, to develop and to make known their cultures and their traditional customs, with the exception of all that undermine a person’s physical and moral integrity, and while respecting human rights. Migrants should have the right to practice their religions and to worship freely.

The right to work and security must be assured to all migrants. Everyone who works should be free to join a union or to form one with other people. Migrants should receive equal wages for equal work and should have the possibility to transfer the fruits of their labour, to have social benefits, and to enjoy retirement without any restrictions. In addition the right to contribute to the social services system of a country, necessary for the society of residence or of transit.

Access to social services and banks and financial institutions should be assured to all migrants and in the same manner as it is accorded to nationals and citizens of the country of residence.

Everybody has the right to land, whether they are a man or a woman. Land should be shared between those who live and work it. Restrictions on usage and on land ownership imposed on ethnic, national or gender grounds must be abolished. This is to the benefit of a new vision of responsible relationships between humans and land, and respecting the requirements of sustainable development.

Migrants, as well as nationals and citizens of their countries of residence or of transit shall be equal before the law. No person shall be sequestered, imprisoned, deported or see their liberty restrained without her cause having been fairly heard and defended in the language of her choice.

Migrants have the right to physical integrity and to not be harassed, expelled, persecuted, arbitrarily arrested or killed because of their status or because they defend their rights.

Any law that provides for discrimination based on a persons national origin, gender, marital and/or legal situation, or on their convictions or beliefs must be repealed, whatever the status of the human being.

Human rights are inalienable and indivisible and must be the same for all people. The law must guarantee to all migrants the right to liberty of expression, the right to organise, the right to liberty of assembly as well as the right to publish.

Access to health services and sanitation must be guaranteed to all migrants, in the same way as for nationals and citizens of the country of destination or of transit, with particular care paid to vulnerable people. All migrants living with a disability or special needs must be guaranteed the right to health and their social and cultural rights.

The law must guarantee to all migrants the right to choose her partner and to start a family and to live as a family. Family reunification cannot be refused and a family cannot be separated from or kept away from its children.

Women, in particular, must be protected against all forms of violence and of trafficking. They have the right to control their own bodies and to reject exploitation of their bodies. They must enjoy a particular protection reinforced, in particular, in relation to conditions of work, to maternal and infant health, and in cases of changes in their legal or marital status.

Migrant minors must be protected by national laws on child protection, in the same way as nationals and citizens of the country of residence or of transit. The right to education and instruction must be guaranteed.

Access to education and instruction, from preschool to higher education, must be guaranteed to migrants and their children. Education must be free, and equal for all children. Higher studies and technical training must be accessible to all in a new
vision of dialogue and sharing of cultures. In cultural life, in sport, and in education, all distinctions based on national origin must be abolished.

Migrants must have the right to housing. All people must have the right to live in the place of their choice, be decently housed and have access to real estate and to maintain her family in comfort and security in the same way as nationals and citizens in the country of residence or of transit.

All migrants must be guaranteed the right to access to water, and to healthy food of a sufficient quantity.

Migrants aspire to have the same opportunities and responsibilities as nationals and citizens of their country of residence or transit, to jointly meet challenges (housing, food, health, development…)

We, migrants, pledge to respect and promote the values and principles expressed above and to contribute to the disappearance of all systems of exploitation and segregation and to the advent of a pluralistic, responsible and solidarity world.

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