We ought to promote International Day of Solidarity with Migrants

13Dec 2018
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
We ought to promote International Day of Solidarity with Migrants

INTERNATIONAL Migrants Day is observed on 18 December in accordance with Resolution of the United Nations General Assembly, adopted on 4 December 2000.

On 18 December 1990, the General Assembly had adopted a resolution on the International Convention on the protection of the rights of all migrant workers and members of their families.   

This day is observed in many countries, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations through the dissemination of information on human rights and fundamental political freedoms of migrants, and through sharing of experiences and the design of actions to ensure the protection of migrant.

In 1997, Filipino and other Asian migrant organisations began celebrating and promoting 18 December as the International Day of Solidarity with Migrants. This date was chosen because it was on 18 December 1990 that the UN adopted the international convention on the protection of the rights of all migrant workers and members of their families.

Building on this initiative, 18 December with support from Migrant Rights International and the Steering Committee for the Global Campaign for Ratification of the International Convention on Migrants' Rights and many other organisations – began late 1999 campaigning online for the official UN designation of an International Migrant's Day, which was finally proclaimed on 4 December 2000.

The United Nations proclamation of the International Migrants' Day is an important step, offering a rallying point for everyone across the world who is concerned with the protection of migrants. The UN invited all UN member states, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations to observe this day by disseminating information on human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants, sharing experiences, and undertaking action to ensure the protection of migrants.

International Migrants Day is seen firstly as an opportunity to recognise the contributions made by millions of migrants to the economies of their host and home countries, and secondly to promote respect for their basic human rights.

Since the year 2000, the international community has used 18 December, International Migrants Day, to highlight the human rights of migrants. Making migrants' voices heard is the common thread throughout International Migrants Day events.


The name Filipino was derived from the term "las Islas Filipinas" (‘the Philippine Islands’),  the name given to the archipelago in 1543 by the Spanish explorer and Dominican priest Ruy López de Villalobos, in honour of Philip II of Spain (Spanish: Felipe II). The lack of the letter "F" in the pre-1987 Tagalog alphabet (Abakada) caused the letter "P" to be substituted for "F", though the alphabets and/or writing scripts of some non-Tagalog ethnic groups included the letter "F". Upon official adoption of the modern, 28-letter Filipino alphabet in 1987, the term Filipino was preferred over Pilipino.] Locally, some still use "Pilipino" to refer to the people and "Filipino" to refer to the language, but in international use "Filipino" is the usual form for both.

Use of the term "Filipino" in the Philippines started during the Spanish colonial period. The original meaning was "a person of Spanish descent born in the Philippines" (a person of Austronesian ancestry and not of Spanish descent was called an "Indio").This original usage is now old-fashioned and obsolete. Historian Ambeth Ocampo has suggested that the first documented use of the word to refer to Indios was the Spanish language poem A la juventud filipina, published in 1879 by José Rizal.

A number of Filipinos refer to themselves colloquially as "Pinoy" (feminine: "Pinay"), which is a slang word formed by taking the last four letters of "Filipino" and adding the diminutive suffix "-y".

Other collective endonyms for the Filipino people include: "Patria Adorada" (Spanish for "Beloved Fatherland") as popularised by Jose Rizal through his poem "Mi último adiós", "Bayang Pilipino" (Tagalog: "Filipino nation") or the more poetic "Sambayanáng Pilipino" (a formal term in Tagalog meaning "one/entire Filipino nation").