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Committee on Rights of Migrant Workers holds 15th session in Geneva
Date: 12/09/2011 - 13:23
The fifteenth session of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families will be held at the Palais Wilson in Geneva from 12 to 23 September 2011. During its two week session, the Committee will review efforts by Argentina, Chile and Guatemala to implement their obligations under the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, and make recommendations to these countries.
At its first meeting, on Monday, 12 September, the Committee will adopt its agenda and hear a statement from a representative of the Secretary-General. It will also hear from national human rights institutions, non-governmental organizations, and UN agencies in relation to the country reports to be reviewed at this session. That afternoon the Committee will begin its consideration of the initial report of Argentina, which will continue on the morning of Tuesday, 13 September. The Committee will consider the initial report of Chile on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning and the report of Guatemala on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning. The rest of the week the Committee will be in private meetings. On Monday, 19 September, the Committee will hold a day of general discussion on the rights of migrant workers in an irregular situation and members of their families. The remainder of the week the Committee will meet in closed session until it concludes its fifteenth session on Friday, 23 September.
More than 190 million migrants, including migrant workers, refugees, asylum-seekers, permanent immigrants and others, live and work in a country other than that of their birth or citizenship. They represent almost three per cent of the world's population.
The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families entered into force on 1 July 2003. The Convention seeks to play a role in preventing and eliminating the exploitation of migrant workers as well as ensuring the protection of their human rights throughout the entire migration process. It provides a set of binding international standards to address the treatment, welfare and human rights of both documented and undocumented migrants, as well as the obligations and responsibilities on the part of sending and receiving States and States of transit. To date, 45 States have ratified the treaty.
The Committee of 14 Experts was created to monitor how States parties to the Convention abide by their obligations under the treaty. States parties accept the obligation to report to the Committee on the steps they have taken to implement the Convention. States must report initially within a year of its entry into force for the State concerned, and thereafter every five years. So far, the Committee has examined the initial reports of fifteen States parties: Algeria, Azerbaijan, Albania, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Mali, Mexico, Philippines, Senegal, Sri Lanka, and Syria. It has also reviewed the second periodic reports of Ecuador and Mexico. Currently, the reports of Tajikistan and Paraguay are awaiting examination by the Committee. The reports of 26 other States parties are now overdue.
The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
The Convention is applicable to all migrant workers and members of their families without distinction of any kind such as sex, race, colour, language, religion or conviction, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, nationality, age, economic position, property, marital status, birth or other status. It applies during the entire migration process of migrant workers and members of their families, which comprises preparation for migration, departure, transit and the entire period of stay and remunerated activity in the State of employment as well as return to the State of origin or the State of habitual residence.
Listed among their human rights, the Convention states that migrant workers and members of their families shall be free to leave any State, including their State of origin; migrant workers and members of their families shall have the right at any time to enter and remain in their State of origin; the right to life of migrant workers and members of their families shall be protected by law; no migrant worker or member of his or her family shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; no migrant worker or member of his or her family shall be held in slavery or servitude; and no migrant worker or member of his or her family shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour. The Convention also prohibits collective expulsion of migrant workers and members of their families. It further establishes that migrant workers shall enjoy treatment not less favourable than that which applies to nationals of the State of employment in respect of remuneration and other conditions of work and terms of employment. Moreover, migrant workers in a regular situation enjoy the right to form associations and trade unions as well as equality of treatment with the nationals of the State in relation to access to educational, social and health services.
The Convention also imposes a series of obligations on States parties in the interest of promoting "sound, equitable, humane and lawful conditions" for the international migration of workers and members of their families. These requirements include the establishment of policies on migration; the exchange of information with other States parties; the provision of information to employers, workers and their organizations on policies, laws and regulations; and assistance to migrant workers and their families.
Implementation of the Convention
The Convention is monitored by the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, consisting of 14 Experts serving in their personal capacity.
States parties accept the obligation to report on the steps they have taken to implement the Convention within a year of its entry into force for the State concerned, and thereafter every five years. Under the treaty, a State party may also recognize the competence of the Committee to receive and consider communications from or on behalf of individuals within that State's jurisdiction who claim that their rights under the Convention have been violated. So far, Guatemala and Mexico have recognized the Committee’s competence in this respect.
Other International Mechanisms for Protection of Migrants
The Convention reinforces and completes a series of other measures already taken by the United Nations to ensure adequate protection of all migrant workers and their families. The International Labour Organization has been in the forefront of efforts to secure and maintain a fair deal for migrant workers and their families since the 1920s. Also, since 1999 a Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights (now the Human Rights Council) has been looking at ways and means to overcome obstacles to the full and effective protection of the human rights of migrants, including difficulties for the return of those who are "undocumented".
States Parties to the Convention
The Convention was adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by the General Assembly in December 1990. To date, it has been ratified or acceded to by the following 45 States: Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Syria, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Turkey, Uganda and Uruguay.
Members of the Committee
The members of the Committee are Francisco Alba (Mexico); José S. Brillantes (Philippines); Francisco Carrion Mena (Ecuador); Ana Elizabeth Cubias Medina (El Salvador); Fatoumata Abdourhamana Dicko (Mali); Ahmed Hassan El-Borai (Egypt); Abdelhamid El Jamri (Morocco); Miguel Angel Ibarra Gonzalez (Guatemala); Prasad Kariyawasam (Sri Lanka); Andrea Miller-Stennett (Jamaica); Myriam Poussi (Burkina Faso); Mehmet Sevim (Turkey); Azad Taghizadet (Azerbaijan); and Ahmadou Tall (Senegal).
Abdelhamid El Jamri is the Committee Chairperson; José Brillantes, Ana Elizabeth Cubias Medina, and Azad Taghizadet are the Vice-Chairpersons; and Ahmed Hassan El-Borai is the Committee Rapporteur.
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UN Migrant Workers Convention
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