International Migrants Day

Labour Migration Reporting Awards

Statement by Gloria Moreno Fontes, Regional Labour Migration and Mobility Specialist, ILO Regional Bureau for Africa.

Statement | 18 December 2020
Today, December 18, in commemoration of International Migrants Day, the African Union, the IOM and the ILO would like to jointly celebrate migrant workers’ continuous efforts to improve their families’ well-being as well as their contributions to labour markets and economies, as a whole.

The Labour Migration Reporting Awards that the AU-IOM-ILO are offering is a symbol of our agencies’ commitment to promote the protection of migrant workers’ rights, and the effective improvement of labour migration governance in the African continent.

The media is a powerful partner in ensuring the elimination of hate speech, discriminatory and racist remarks. Too often, we can be confronted with a toxic public narrative based on nationality, national origin, gender and migratory status misperceptions, reinforcing prejudice, intolerance and stigmatization against migrant workers and their families.

The media is key in influencing a positive perception of migrant workers, fostering dialogue, creating the human rights-based language, the confidence, and promoting migrant workers’ integration and inclusion in societies as in labour markets. This is the reason why our institutions have invited African media professionals to participate in this award.

This year, has been a very challenging year to everybody, but in particular for migrant workers, who have suffered directly some of the worst impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Far too many of them form part of recorded massive deportations of African migrant workers in a regular situation. Far too many of them are lacking access to social protection and health services, as well as access to justice for unpaid due wages and non-respect for contract’s terms and conditions of employment.

Migration is at the heart of development in most countries of the world. Recognizing the very difficult living and working conditions migrant workers are often confronted with is essential to fully value their contributions to countries of origin as well as to countries of destinations (For example, in filling labour and skills needs, and often paying more in taxes and social protection contributions than they receive in benefits).

During the past five years, the ILO has successfully launched the Global Media Competition on Labour Migration and Fair Recruitment. Indeed, in collaboration with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the International Organization of Employers (IOE), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the International Federation of Journalists, Equal Times, Solidarity Center, Human Rights Watch, and Migrant Forum in Asia, the ILO has continued celebrating International Migrants Day at the global level providing global labour migration awards.

The active participation of journalists from around the world and wide coverage of the results of the competition has encouraged the ILO and its partner organizations to organize yearly competitions that provide incentives to produce quality media reporting.

The objective of the global competitions has been to recognize exemplary media coverage on labour migration by encouraging professional journalists and reporters to submit print or videos/ multimedia work. Submitted entries should not overlook the negative aspects of the labour market situation of migrant workers (e.g. often a hard reality of exploitation and violation of human and labour rights), but also show the positive results of fair labour migration governance (e.g. fostering ILO standards-based anti-discrimination and equality of treatment/opportunities principles, as well as labour market integration and labour protection of all migrant workers and their family members).

Decent work and migration feature strongly in the United Nations Declaration on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In addition, combating discrimination and xenophobia is key to achieving the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of eliminating poverty and inequalities worldwide, leaving no one behind.

The United Nations Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (the GCM) calls on us to eliminate all forms of discrimination and to promote evidence-based public discourse to shape perceptions of migration, as well as to empower migrants and societies to realize their full inclusion and social cohesion.

Thank you very much and congratulations to all winners of this 1st African Labour Migration Reporting Awards.