Countdown to Human Rights Day
Get inspired by indigenous rights defender and torture survivor Damian Gallardo
Press releases Treaty bodies
08 October 2009
Committee on Rights of Migrant Workers
8 October 2009
Committee to Consider Initial Report of Sri Lanka and to Hold a Day of General Discussion on Migrant Domestic Workers
The eleventh 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 16 October 2009. During its one-week session, the Committee will review efforts by Sri Lanka to implement its obligations under the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
The Committee will hold a day of general discussion on migrant domestic workers on 14 October. The morning meeting will hear statements by a number of prominent experts, which will be followed by a panel discussion on existing and new responses in law. In the afternoon, two working groups will meet in parallel to discuss recruitment and employment of migrant domestic workers, and effective protection of migration domestic workers. They will then report back to the plenary.
At its first meeting, which will start at 10 a.m. on 12 October, the Committee will adopt its agenda and hear a statement from a representative of the Secretary-General. Also on Monday morning, the Committee will hear from national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations in relation to the country report of Sri Lanka. The initial report of Sri Lanka will be considered in the afternoon of 12 October and on 13 October in the morning. On 13 October in the afternoon, the Committee will discuss follow-up to concluding observations.
The concluding observations and recommendations of the Committee on the report of Sri Lanka will be released on Friday, 16 October before the Committee closes its session.
200 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 3 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, as well as States of transit. To date, 41 States have ratified the treaty.
The Committee of 10 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 11 States parties: Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Mali, Mexico, the Philippines and Syria. The initial reports of 23 other States parties are 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. Documented or regular migrant workers moreover 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 10 Experts serving in their personal capacity. With the forty-first ratification of the Convention by Niger in March 2009, their number will be increasing to 14 as of 1 January 2010.
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. In September 2007, Guatemala became the first State party to recognize the Committee’s competence in this respect. Since then, Mexico has done the same.
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, a Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights (now the Human Rights Council) has been looking since 1999 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 42 States: Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, Jamaica, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, 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); Ana Elizabeth Cubías Medina (El Salvador); Anamaría Dieguez Arévalo (Guatemala); Ahmed Hassan El Borai (Egypt); Abdelhamid El Jamri (Morocco); Prasad Kariyawasam (Sri Lanka); Myriam Poussi Konsimbo (Burkina Faso); Mehmet Sevim (Turkey); and Azad Taghizade (Azerbaijan).
Abdelhamid El Jamri is the Committee Chairperson; José Brillantes, Anamaría Dieguez and Azad Taghizadet are the Vice-Chairpersons; and Francisco Alba is Committee Rapporteur.
For use of information media; not an official record