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Background – Summits of the Americas

During the Third Summit, the Heads of State and Government established the need of an Inter-American Program within the OAS, recognizing the economic and cultural contributions that migrants add to their societies of origin and destination. The purpose of such a program was to guarantee the dignified and humane treatment (with legal protection, defense of human rights, and stable and safe working conditions) for migrants.

In progressive manner, the Summits Process dealt with migration in several documents. Already in the Plan of Action of the First Summit of Americas, held in Miami, Florida, in December 1994, the Heads of State and Government of the Americas countries indicated their commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights by pledging , inter alia, to “guarantee the protection of the human rights of all migrant workers and their families”.

This commitment was reiterated in the subsequent summits held in Santiago, Chile, in April 1998, in Quebec City, Canada, in 2001 and in Mar Del Plata, Argentina, in 2005. Even the Special Summit of the Americas held in Monterrey, Mexico, in 2004, restated this commitment through the Declaration of Nuevo León. It is worth underlying that the third Summit of Americas held in Quebec appears as a turning point by having recognized the cultural and economic enrichment made by migrants to both receiving and origin countries and by having undertaken to set up the necessary legal frameworks to ensure: “dignified, humane treatment with appropriate legal protections, defense of human rights, and safe and healthy labor conditions for migrants”.

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