OAS Initiatives for Migration

Americas (English Edition), November-December 2010 | Go to article overview

OAS Initiatives for Migration


Populated originally by the inhabitants of other continents and colonized by Europeans in the 16th century, the Americas have traditionally been a destination for immigrants. Recently, however, this phenomenon has been reversed. Over the last 50 years, large numbers of people have left their homes in Latin America and the Caribbean in search of better labor opportunities and living conditions for themselves and their families. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that currently there are approximately 214 million international migrants in the world and that more than 30 million of these were born in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In the last decade, all of the countries of the Americas have become countries of origin, transit, of destination, which is why the Organization of American States (OAS) is placing special emphasis on the challenges and opportunities created by these migration trends. "The problems that may cause the phenomenon of migration can only be resolved through dialogue, not by the path of confrontation," says OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza.

The OAS was on the cutting edge of hemispheric efforts to protect the human rights of migrants when the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) created the Special Rapporteur on Migrant Workers and their Families in 1997. The Rapporteur's office is focused on protecting the human rights of emigrants through public policy, legislation, exchange of best practices, and cooperation between countries.

In 2007, the OAS Permanent Council established the Special Committee on Migration Issues (CEAM) to analyze migration and its flows from a holistic perspective and to coordinate all OAS initiatives related to international migration. …

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