International Migrants Bill of Rights
The International Migrants Bill of Rights (IMBR) originated in 2008 in response to a gap: there was no single, legal framework that effectively protected the rights of all international migrants. Inspired by the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, which consolidated humanitarian law, human rights law, and refugee law into a set of guiding principles to govern the treatment of internally displaced persons, students at three universities, over a period of five years, drafted a unifying soft-law document called the IMBR that restated existing human rights law, refugee law, and labor law to make the law’s application to migrants clearer and more effective. The IMBR also provides a margin of enhancement to existing law consistent with progressive values to highlight positive trends in migration law and practice. In contributing to both a conversation and a movement, the IMBR Initiative aims to help secure a global legal architecture for all migrants on the basis of their humanity and dignity.
International Law Landscape
Human rights law includes two important binding agreements that addressed aspects of migration – the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees (the “Refugee Convention and Protocol”) and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (the “Migrant Workers Convention”). The International Labor Organization (ILO) has overseen the drafting and ratification of conventions that govern labor migration. However, there did not exist one document that unified rights from these sources as well as from other core United Nations (UN) human rights treaties. The IMBR fills this gap by drawing from all areas of international law to present a dynamic blueprint for the protection of the rights of all migrants.
The IMBR Initiative started in 2008 as a student-led project through Georgetown Law's Global Law Scholars Program. It has evolved over the past five years through the collaborative effort of students and scholars from Georgetown Law, the Center for Migration and Refugee Studies at American University in Cairo, the Minerva Center for Human Rights at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Migration Studies Unit at the London School of Economics. The Initiative is housed at Georgetown Law and the Georgetown University Institute for the Study of International Migration.