12 September 2012
The Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families this afternoon held a public meeting with the States parties to the International Convention on the Protection of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families in which new working methods were discussed.
Abdelhamid El Jamri, Committee Chairperson, said that in its ten years of existence the Committee had made a number of accomplishments and was now working in an optimal way. He spoke about a new comprehensive calendar of reporting obligations for States parties and treaty bodies which would implement a five-year rotating review period. Another new introduction discussed was the provision for the Committee to review States parties in the absence of a report. The Chairperson called upon States parties to advocate for the working methods reforms at the United Nations General Assembly.
In the discussion, Committee Members welcomed the representatives of Sates parties and stressed the importance of maintaining a close relationship between the Committee and States parties. They also said that it was essential for States that had signed the Convention to ratify it so that the number of members would increase to eighty. States parties praised the work of the Committee and the new methods of work and agreed that co-ordinated efforts to promote the ratification of the Convention should be intensified. Questions were asked about the new provision to allow the review of States parties in the absence of a report.
Representatives of the following States parties spoke during the meeting: Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay and Timor-Leste.
The next public meeting with Sates parties will take place in April 2013, at which time a meeting will be held with signatories who had not ratified the Convention. The Committee will conclude its session this Friday, 14 September, when it will make public its concluding observations on the reports of the two States parties considered during the session, Rwanda and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Statement by Committee Chairperson
ABDELHAMID EL JAMRI, Chairperson of the Committee, said that in its ten years of existence the Committee had made a number of accomplishments and was now working in an optimal way. The Committee was not only concerned with the implementation of the Convention but had also been involved in the dissemination of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ report on treaty-body strengthening, which was published this summer. A significant element of the report was a comprehensive calendar of reporting obligations for States parties and for treaty bodies. According to the calendar, nine States parties would be reviewed each year, meaning that over a period of five years every State party to the Convention would be reviewed. As new countries ratified the Convention, extra time to review their initial reports would be agreed.
Another new introduction made in the report was the adoption of a method of review which would mean States parties could be reviewed in the absence of a report. The Chairperson said that the Committee had requested an extra week be added to its two annual sessions (currently one two-week and one one-week session) and argued that if that extra time meant a short-term cost, it would be absorbed in the medium and long terms by the new working methods which would allow States to disperse their efforts in the preparation of reports. The Chairperson invited States parties to comment on those points. He stressed that the meeting was an opportunity to further discuss the ratification of the Convention, which the Committee was keen to promote, and said that the promotion of the Convention was also the responsibility of States parties. The Chairperson called upon States parties to advocate for the working methods reforms at the United Nations General Assembly which would start a new session later this month. A draft resolution to that effect would be submitted to the General Assembly in 2013.
Dialogue with States Parties
In the ensuing dialogue, Committee Members took the floor to briefly introduce each of these proposed new working methods. In particular, they stressed that these new ways of working and new schedule would examine all States parties under the five-year cycle, provided that the Committee was granted an additional week of meeting time per year, in addition to the three weeks per year it currently was allocated.
In addition, the Committee Members stressed the need for the 46 States Parties to the Convention to promote the ratification of this instrument with other States Members of the United Nations. Sixteen countries have signed the Convention but had not ratified it. It was essential for States that had signed the Convention to ratify it in order to increase the number of States parties to eighty.
ABDELHAMID EL JAMRI, Chairperson of the Committee, said that the Migration and Development Forum that would be held in Mauritius in 2013 would be a good opportunity for promoting not only the Convention but also the rights of migrant workers in general. The question of rights had to be presented as a priority question.
Peru said that it was important to exchange views on ways of achieving States parties’ common goals. It praised the new way of working which the Committee had presented and expressed support for the Committee’s proposals. It suggested that the Committee consider granting extra time to States whose reports were at an advanced stage but had not been completed, so that the uncomfortable situation of reviewing countries in the absence of a report might be avoided.
Ecuador said that it supported the work of the Committee and agreed with the comments made by Peru. It was necessary for Sates parties to make a co-ordinated effort to promote the ratification of the Convention.
Paraguay thanked the Committee for the decisions it had taken and requested a written copy of them. Regarding the new provision for countries to be reviewed in the absence of a report, Paraguay asked for clarification on whether the provision applied to initial reports or to periodic reports.
Timor-Leste thanked the Committee for its work and asked for clarification on when the new resolution would be adopted.
In answer to the question raised by Paraguay, a Committee Member clarified that the provision for the Committee to review a States party in the absence of a report had been introduced with States which had not submitted their initial report in mind. Nevertheless, the provision did not make a clear distinction between initial and periodic reports and so it could also be applied to periodic reports.
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