About the IMBR Initiative

The vision of the IMBR Initiative is a world in which the human rights of all international migrants are protected, regardless of the impetus for their migration. The IMBR Initiative’s mission is to advocate for the protection of migrants’ human rights through the advancement and implementation of the norms reflected in the IMBR. The Initiative pursues this mission through undertaking cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research, hosting events and providing technical assistance on the human rights of migrants to civil society, national law and policymakers and international organizations.

The International Migrants Bill of Rights (IMBR) Initiative was founded at Georgetown University Law Center in 2008. The early work of the IMBR Initiative was managed at Georgetown as a collaboration between the American University in Cairo, the Global Law Scholars program at Georgetown University Law Center, the Migration Studies Unit at the London School of Economics and the Minerva Institute at Hebrew University. The Initiative was then hosted by the Georgetown Law Human Rights Institute and managed by a volunteer steering committee. In 2019, the Initiative relaunched at Cornell University.

The first major research publications of the Initiative were a draft bill of rights, presented at and published in a special symposium hosted by the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, and then a final set of principles, bill of rights and detailed legal commentaries, presented at a symposium co-hosted by Georgetown Law, the London School of Economics, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva and again published in the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal (see here for a list of those who contributed to the drafting of the IMBR and its legal commentaries). The Initiative also developed a handbook intended primarily to guide application of the IMBR by civil society in advocacy to better recognize and protect the rights of all international migrants. A detailed history of the early work of the Initiative was published in 2010 in Volume 24 of the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal.

The Initiative then developed a set of draft research indicators and further refined these indicators, including through conference proceedings at Georgetown, before pilot testing the current IMBR indicators as part of the World Bank’s Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD). Further development of the Initiative’s Migrants Rights Database is ongoing.

The Initiative’s work has been advanced by the direct or indirect support of the International Migration Initiative of the Open Society Foundations, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the Georgetown Institute for the Study of International Migration, the Georgetown Law Human Rights Institute, the Georgetown University Law Center Office of the Dean and Global Law Scholars Program, Shearman & Sterling, LLP, the World Bank and individual philanthropic giving as well as, at Cornell, the University’s Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs and the Law School and its Migration and Human Rights Program.