Committee on Rights of Migrant Workers
5 April 2017
The Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families today considered the implementation of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families by Nigeria, in the absence of a report and a delegation.
José Brillantes, Committee Chairperson, in his opening remarks recalled that Nigeria had ratified the Convention in 2009 and was under the obligation to submit its initial report by 1 November 2010. At its twenty-third session in September 2015, the Committee had adopted a list of issues prior to the submission of the initial report which had been duly transmitted to the State party. The Committee had received a request from Nigeria to substitute its review with another State on 30 March 2017 which had been too late to take any action, and had thus decided to proceed with the review in the absence of a report and a delegation, in accordance with its rules of procedure.
Committee Experts noted that Nigeria had the largest economy in Africa and the twenty-fourth largest economy in the world, thus migratory phenomena were multiple and involved internal migration, migration within the region, and outbound migration to countries outside of the region. The national migration policy had been adopted in 2015, but data on migration was not available to provide a historic perspective. Trafficking in persons – women for prostitution and sexual exploitation and children for forced labour - was a significant problem, and a great source of income for organized crime groups. Violence unleashed by Boko Haram since 2009 had destabilized the security situation in the country and the region, displacing millions and causing disruption in the economy, resulting in food insecurity for millions. Experts wondered about the response of the State to that displacement, about the situation of the many Nigerians who tried to migrate to Europe and were stranded in transit countries, for example in Libya, and the role of Nigerian consulates in cases involving the deportation and expulsion of Nigerian migrants back to Nigeria, particularly in the context of violence in that country.
The Committee will next meet in public on Thursday, 13 April, to publicly close its twenty-sixth session.
Presentation by Country Rapporteurs
KHEDIDJA LADJEL, Committee Expert and Rapporteur for Nigeria, noted that Nigeria was an important political and economic power-house in Africa which suffered from demographic pressure. The actions of Boko Haram had destabilized the security situation in the country and the region, displacing millions and causing disruption in the economy, resulting in food insecurity for millions. In 2010, Nigeria had acceded to the Convention and the Committee was of the opinion that the ratification of a number of other international treaties, including several International Labour Organization Conventions, should continue. Nigeria should also ensure that international instruments it was a party to were acceded to by each of its 26 federal states. The national migration policy had been adopted in 2015, but data on migration was not available to provide a historic perspective.
The National Commission for Human Rights had been created in 1995, and its status under the Paris Principles varied from one year to another. At the same time, there was a need to strengthen the mandate and capacity of the anti-trafficking commission to enable it to efficiently address the phenomenon throughout the large territory of the State. Nigeria had signed bilateral agreements with a number of countries, including with the United States, Germany, Italy, the Gulf States, Portugal and others, but the provisions of those agreements were not available. Forced labour, including of children and migrant children, was a serious problem in Nigeria. The country Rapporteur raised issues of transmission of nationality by Nigerian women married to foreigners, social integration of migrants with disabilities, lack of information on the system of support and assistance to victims of trafficking in persons, and detention of persons on the basis of their migrant status.
FATOUMATA ABDOURHAMANE DICKO, Committee Vice-Chairperson and Co-Rapporteur for Nigeria, stressed that Nigeria had the largest economy in Africa and the twenty-fourth largest economy in the world, thus migratory phenomena were multiple and involved internal migration, migration within the region, and outbound migration to countries outside of the region. Trafficking in persons was a significant problem, including for prostitution and sexual exploitation, and tens of thousands of Nigerian women were forced into prostitution on the streets of Italy, Spain and other countries. Nigeria was also a hub for trafficking in children for labour exploitation in Gabon and other countries in the region. Nigeria was a country where levels of violence against women and children were very high, and this was one great source of concern.
Questions from the Committee Experts
A Committee Expert noted that the short period of time that Nigeria had to start the implementation of the Convention might explain the absence of the report and the delegation. The focus of the Committee should be on the fact that a large part of the problems that the population in Nigeria was experiencing could be resolved by the implementation of the Convention, thus the Committee should try to motivate Nigeria to show interest in the Convention.
Another Expert expressed surprise that parallel reports by Nigerian civil society had not been received. The Expert wondered about the State response to the displacement of the population as a result of violence by Boko Haram. What was the situation of the many Nigerians who tried to migrate to Europe and were stranded in transit countries, for example in Libya? What was the role of Nigerian consulates in cases involving deportation and expulsion of Nigerian migrants back to Nigeria, particularly in the context of violence in the country of origin?
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