Building peace in the minds of men and women

International Migrants Day

18 December

On 4 December 2000, the General Assembly, taking into account the large and increasing number of migrants in the world, proclaimed 18 December International Migrants Day (A/RES/55/93). On that day, in 1990, the Assembly adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (A/RES/45/158).

Migration is a global phenomenon driven by many forces. These start with aspirations for dignity, safety and peace. The decision to leave home is always extreme, and, too often, the beginning of a dangerous, sometimes fatal journey.

UNESCO is acting to advance the migration-related commitments of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This starts with education, by promoting access to quality education for Syrian refugees, by facilitating recognition of education diplomas and qualifications.

Through our International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities, we promote a welcoming approach towards migrants at the local level. We are bolstering the capacities of journalists to address negative narratives and bring the stories of migrants to the fore. UNESCO is deeply engaged with UN partners through the Global Migration Group, to shape a global compact for safer, orderly and regular migration.

The 2030 Agenda promises to leave no one behind -- this must include every migrant. Protecting their rights and dignity means responding to humanitarian needs and advancing sustainable development. Fundamentally, this is about defending our common humanity through solidarity in action.


"There are some 258 million migrants worldwide. Many are seeking new opportunities for work or education. Others are on the move because they have no choice but to flee war and persecution or to escape the vicious circles of poverty, food insecurity and environmental degradation. Evidence overwhelmingly shows that migrants generate economic, social and cultural benefits for all societies. Unfortunately, with the rise of broader intolerant discourse, hostility towards migrants is growing around the world."

— Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO

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