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Towards a human rights approach for the treatment of migrants in Nigeria

Glory Ozuru
Patrick Okereke Nwajah


Migration starts when a migrant crosses the frontiers of his own country into another country. In international law, rights are provided irrespective of legal status but in a local situation, rights are defined according to legality of status. This poses many difficulties for the illegal or undocumented migrants in most parts of the world. While International, regional and municipal legal instruments provide rights for the legal or documented migrants to enjoy almost equal rights as nationals, the undocumented migrants have no rights. They are faced with xenophobic actions, lack access to the courts, denied medical care etc. However, this article tries to establish that of a truth, all international instruments are non-discriminatory and applies to each human being irrespective of status. Besides, there are fundamental rights due each human being by the mere reason of his humanity, which also applies to the undocumented migrants. It concludes by saying that Nigeria should set the pace by ratifying and implementing the International Convention on the Rights of All Migrants Workers and their Families (ICRMWF), which specifically provides for the rights of all migrants without recourse to their status. CertainĀ  recommendations were made which include that more advocacy is required for the ratification and domestication of that Convention among other things. This will hopefully, improve the lots of all migrants to internationally acceptable standard in Nigeria.

Keywords: Documented, undocumented, regular, irregular, migrants, international instruments, regional instruments, xenophobia