Church asks members to foster migrant rights agreement
(UMNS) - A United Methodist agency is urging the United States and
several European countries to ratify an international agreement that
protects migrant workers and their families.
The United Nations
agreement went into effect July 1 in more than 20 other countries that
had ratified it. The 1990 International Convention on the Protection of
Rights of Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families seeks to prevent
exploitation of migrant workers by establishing a standard of
The United Methodist Board of Church and
Society is calling on church members to encourage elected officials in
the United States and Europe to ratify the convention.
states that have ratified the convention are traditionally considered
'sending' migrant states," said Kathleen Stone, advocate on the board
staff. "There is an obvious resistance in traditionally considered
'receiving' states to the signing and ratifying of this convention."
United States and European countries have traditionally been seen as
receiving states, she explained. The Philippines and countries in Africa
and Latin America are considered sending states.
"In an age of
increasing globalization, where mass movement of human and material
capital is standard behavior, the distinctions between sending and
receiving states are blurring," she commented. "Advocating for the human
rights of such a mobile work force is no longer an option; it is a
necessity in the building of a decent world."
Methodist Church has a history of work with migrant workers, she added.
The church's Social Principles state: "We advocate for the rights of all
migrants and applaud their efforts toward responsible self-organization
and self-determination. We call upon governments and all employers to
ensure for migratory workers the same economic, educational and social
benefits enjoyed by other citizens."
The Social Principles are
established by the General Conference, the church's highest legislative
body and the only entity that speaks for the denomination. The Board of
Church and Society uses the church's official statements as a guide in
Stone urges United Methodists who are U.S. citizens to
contact President Bush; Secretary of State Colin Powell; the head of
the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.); and
other senators, who are responsible for ratifying treaties.
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