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The past few decades the movement of people across borders has increased significantly. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more and more people are on the move today than at any other point in human history. According to the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, a migrant worker can be described as a 'person who is to be engaged, is engaged or has been engaged in a remunerated activity in a State of which he or she is not a national'. According to the working group of intergovernmental experts on the human rights of migrants only those people who freely take the decision to migrate are considered migrants: the notion 'migrant' "should be understood as covering all cases where the decision to migrate is taken freely by the individual concerned, for reasons of 'personal convenience' and without intervention of an external compelling factor. Thus, the definition of migrant does not refer to individuals who have been forced or compelled to leave their home or country, such as refugees and internally displaced persons. Various aspects of migration include: labour migration (not forced), family reunification, migration and security, migration and trade, migrant rights, health and migration, integration, migration and development.

This Research Guide is intended as a starting point for research on Migration. It provides the basic materials available in the Peace Palace Library, both in print and electronic format. Handbooks, leading articles, bibliographies, periodicals, serial publications and documents of interest are presented in the Selective Bibliography section. Links to the PPL Catalogue are inserted. The Library's subject heading (keyword) Migration is instrumental for searching through the Catalogue. Special attention is given to our subscriptions on databases, e-journals, e-books and other electronic resources. Finally, this Research Guide features links to relevant websites and other online resources of particular interest.

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Sources of international law

Treaties

The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families entered into force in July 2003. Its primary objective is to protect migrant workers and their families, a particularly vulnerable population, from exploitation and the violation of their human rights. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights monitors the implementation of the convention and works to further its ratification.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has adopted three legally-binding instruments that are relevant for the protection of migrant workers:

All three conventions have been complemented by non-binding recommendation.

UN Declarations and Resolutions

The resolutions and decisions of the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council may provide valuable information on migration issues. Although they cannot themselves constitute international law or serve as conclusive evidence of a rule of customary law, such resolutions do have value in providing evidence of existing or emerging law. This point of view has been acknowledged by the International Law Commission.

As every Member State has been recognized and has a vote in the UN General Assembly, finding General Assembly resolutions that passed unanimously or near-unanimously may serve as an excellent starting point in the legal research process. Pay attention to the language of the resolution. Those with firm obligations versus those that are merely aspirational or advisory in nature are more likely to be considered valuable as evidence of customary international law.

 Official Document System Search. ODS is the UN's Official Document System. You can search for UN declarations, resolutions and other documents by keywords, then narrow your search.

 Start Your Research: (7) Resolutions and Decisions of International Organizations.

Reference works

Selected books and articles

Periodicals, serial publications

Bibliographies