MIGRANT RIGHTS INTERNATIONAL (MRI) AND THE FRONTERA FUND: THE FRONTIERS OF HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION

The migrant rights International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to defending the civil rights of migrants. It is an amalgam of various migrant rights advocacy groups, trade unions and faith-based organizations from different regions. Globalization, human rights, and migration have in the recent past emerged as some of the major social, political and economic challenges that are changing the world.

One of the most widespread problems in most societies today is the apparent increase in violence against migrant groups. The situation is further worsened by the existence of stringent government measures that are restrictive to migrants. Such measures are known to undermine the fundamental human rights of a vast number of migrants and their families. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/blogs/az-aclu-honors-new-times-founders-jim-larkin-and-mike-lacey-as-civil-libertarians-of-the-year-6500737

Migrants are often targeted for violence and are excluded in many societies due to their nationality or immigration status. The increasingly rampant stereotype that migrants are illegal further magnifies the violation of civil rights bestowed onto everyone by the international law of human rights.

Historically, there had been little or no international advocacy, attention and public education dedicated to protecting and preserving the fundamental rights of migrants apart from refugees. This was despite the existence of clearly elaborated international standards for human rights for migrant groups and the call for coordination towards a common goal of protecting migrant’s rights in many international conferences.

This situation forced international representatives of churches, migrant and trade unions, national and grassroots level society organizations, intergovernmental agencies and human rights advocates to unite towards the common goal of protecting the fundamental rights of migrant groups.

This action led to the foundation of the International Migrants Rights Watch Committee, which later came to be known as the Migrants Rights International (MRI).

Today, the organization is in special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It prides itself on its ability to unite over dozens of human rights advocate groups from Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and Latin American towards a common goal of protecting and promoting the voices of migrants at all policy-making levels.

The Frontera Fund

Like the MRI, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin are also defenders of the human rights of Hispanic migrants in Arizona. Interestingly, their organization was launched as a result of compensation for violation of their civil rights.

Following the publishing of a report that exposed the financial irregularities and mismanagement of office by the Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio on the Phoenix times, the two journalists were arrested on October 18, 2007.Their unwarranted arrests prompted and national outburst and the two were released, and their charges dropped.

However, a legal battle ensued after that. The prolonged court battle was centered on the abuse of power by the sheriff and the violation of the journalists’ first amendment rights.

The final court decision was that their unwarranted arrests violated the fundamental rights of Larking and Lacey. The resultant compensation was dedicated to the foundation of the Frontera Fund, an initiative aimed at protecting and preserving the civil rights of the members of the Hispanic community in Arizona.