/Migrant Manifesto

2.12.2011 /11:30 a.m.
United Nations
organized by IM International
Public Reading

Students meet in the UN assembly hall, New York City


United Nations’ Student Conference on Human Rights (UNSCHR)

Immigrant Movement International (IM International), an ongoing project initiated by artist Tania Bruguera and co-presented by Creative Time and the Queens Museum of Art, today issued its Migrant Manifesto, a document of 10 points that can be used to help redefine the concept of the 21st century migrant, at the United Nations’ Student Conference on Human Rights (UNSCHR).  

Today’s reading of the Manifesto, the first time it has been presented to the public, was introduced by Bruguera, and then read in Spanish, Arabic, Farsi, French, Mandarin and English by immigrants from Mexico, Iran, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt and Taiwan, respectively.  

The Migrant Manifesto, created in collaboration with immigration academics, community organizers, social service activists, elected officials, and community members at a convening at the IM International headquarters in Corona, Queens on November 4-5, 2011, is intended to draw attention to establishing a new framework for analyzing multifaceted concept of migration., with the intention of elevating political representation and awareness.  

“Migration is an undeniably central element of contemporary existence, and by issuing the Migrant Manifesto to the leaders of tomorrow at this United Nations Students Human Rights Conference, we are emboldening a new generation to take action,” said Bruguera.  “While we celebrate International Migrants Day each year on December 18, it is crucial that we acknowledge the rights, contributions and sacrifices of immigrants every day of the year.”

Bruguera’s issuance of the Manifesto is the first in a series of worldwide artistic actions focused on immigration to take place on December 18, 2011, designated “International Migrants Day” by the United Nations.  Bruguera and IM International have put forth an open call to artists, immigrants, activists, and interested members of the public to stage an action on December 18, 2011 at 2pm local time in recognition of the concept of transnational migrants as a “global class” united across continents and cultures by common political and social conditions, as well as by the human experience of being a migrant.  By engaging participants across the globe in a UN-endorsed project, the organizers hope to promote understanding of the specificity of local migration issues and the political interconnectedness across nations and regions that migration engenders. 

In December 1998, the United Nations Department of Public Information invited students from around the world to a conference at UN Headquarters in New York to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to draft the Youth Declaration of Human Rights. This program was so successful that students lobbied to make the conference an annual event that would be scheduled to coincide closely with Human Rights Day (December 10th). The annual UN Student Conference on Human Rights has taken place every year since. 

While the theme of the conference changes each year, the goals of this annual event remain the same: to promote awareness and learning and to prompt action among student leaders about human rights in general, as well as the specific rights issues related to the current year’s theme. The conference is also an opportunity for student leaders to network and develop important leadership skills such as public speaking, team and consensus building, negotiating, and research and drafting. Finally, the conference provides participants with first-hand experience in using information technologies such as video-conferencing and web-casting.