KASAMA Vol. 14 No. 4 / October-November-December 2000 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network

December 18TH was proclaimed by the United Nations to be International Migrant's Day, to recognize the contributions made by millions of migrants to the economies and well being of their host and home countries, and to promote respect for their basic human rights.

Migrant organizer, Mayan Villalba, of the Philippines says, "December 18 is also a day that families 'left behind' recognize the significant contribution that their migrant member gives to the country, not only to their own families, and feel proud of it."

Today, 150 million persons are living outside their countries of origin, according to new estimates by the International Organization for Migration. The UN's International Labour Office counts 97 million of these as migrant workers and members of their families. Migrant workers and permanent immigrants usually fill difficult jobs, pay taxes and often subsidize economies of host countries with cheap labour while they generate billions of dollars of income for their home countries. The most recent estimates by the World Bank calculate that migrant remittances to home countries account for 73 billion dollars annually, second only to world petroleum exports in international trade monetary flows.

For more information about International Migrant's Day and the International Migrants Rights Convention, please contact Patrick Taran, Director of Migrants Rights International at or Myriam De Feyter, Coordinator of December 18 at or visit their website at