Joint Initiative by December 18 and Migrants Rights International.



MIGRANT.NEWS, Issue 74, 1 September 2003



UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants


The UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, Ms. Gabriela Rodriguez is visiting Spain from 15 until 26 September 2003. She will be meeting with government officials and civil society in Madrid, Barcelona, Algeciras, Tarifa, Ceuta, Melilla, Cadiz, Las Palmas and Fuerteventura.


Her trip to Morocco is scheduled from 19 until 31 October 2003. Relevant information and materials on the situation of migrants and future migrants should be forwarded to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations Office at Geneva, CH-1211 Geneva 10 or emailed to webinfo@ohchr.org. Please use the UN Reporting Form that is available on http://www.december18.net/UNreportingform.htm and indicate in the subject line of your email message that the info is addressed to the SR on the HR of Migrants.


The forthcoming thematic report by the Special Rapporteur to the UN Commission on Human Rights will focus on the situation of migrant domestic workers. Relevant information and materials on the issue of migrant domestic workers should be transmitted before 30 September 2003 to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations Office at Geneva, CH-1211 Geneva 10. In order to facilitate the input, organizations are requested to use enclosed questionnaire.




Migrant Workers Convention: Creation of the Committee of Experts


The UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (CPRMW) entered into force on July 1, 2003.


For the purpose of reviewing the application of the CPRMW, a Committee – also known as a Treaty Body - of 10 experts is elected 6 months after the date of the entry into force. Each State Party has the right to nominate one person from among its own nationals. On July 3, 2003, the UN Secretary General invited all State Parties to submit their candidates. The deadline they received is 3 September 2003. A finalized list of the nominees will be returned to all State Parties one month before the final election of the 10 experts which is scheduled for the second week of December 2003.


The election

The election of the members of the Committee (the experts) is held at a meeting of States Parties convened by the UN Secretary General in New York. Two thirds of the States Parties constitute a quorum. The experts elected to the Committee are the nominees who obtain the largest number of votes and an absolute majority of the votes of the representatives of the present voting States Parties. Once the Committee is set up, elections are held every second year.



The members

The members are elected as independent experts and serve in their personal capacity for a term of four years. The term of five of the members elected in the very first election expire at the end of two years. Immediately at the first election, the names of these five members will be chosen by lot by the Chairman of the meeting.


Once the Convention is ratified or acceded by 41 countries, 4 additional members will be elected. All members are eligible for re-election if renominated.


If a member dies or resigns or declares any other cause why she or he can no longer perform the duties of the Committee, the State Party that nominated the expert will appoint another expert from among its own nationals for the remaining part of the term. The new appointment is subject to the approval of the Committee.


The members receive emoluments for UN resources on such terms and conditions as the General Assembly decides.


Current membership in the existing 6 treaty bodies shows two main flaws.  Although independence is requested, an average of 50% of the persons elected to treaty bodies are employed in some capacity by their governments. In four of the 6 treaty bodies, representation of women experts is less than 20%.


Staff and facilities

The UN Secretary General provides the necessary staff and facilities for the effective performance of the functions of the Committee. The staff usually consists of 2 persons. 


State Party Reporting obligations

Within the year of entry into force of the Convention, the State Parties must submit their first a report. Thereafter every five years and whenever the Committee so requests.


Content of the reports

States Parties must submit a report on the legislative, judicial, administrative and other measures that give effect to the provisions of the Convention. It must indicate factors and difficulties, in any, affecting the implementation of the Convention and include information on characteristics of migration flows in which the State Party concerned is involved. The Committee decides at the start of its mandate on any further guidelines applicable to the content of the reports and on the way these reports should be presented.


Role of NGOs

Note that the present list of State Parties do not have a good record of submitting reports to the other Conventions they ratified or acceded. States having ratified the Migrant Rights Convention must be reminded about their forthcoming  reporting obligations.  NGOs should try to give direct input into the drafting process for country reports.  Parallel to this, they should also draft focused, succinct and accurate complementary background information for the information of Committee members. States will rarely objectively indicate the problem areas in implementing the Convention.  NGO involvement should be done on the basis of strong expertise and technical knowledge, as part of a dialogue and in a spirit of cooperation. Treaty bodies are not tribunals and do not condemn, but they are a unique tool for measuring respect of international obligations by governments.


NGOs have two main roles in relation to UN treaty bodies:  to supply information on States failures to respect their obligations under the relevant treaty; and to publicize the conclusions and recommendations of the Committee at the national level and monitor and assist their government in fulfilling those recommendations.  In order to do this, NGOs must become thoroughly familiar with the Convention, and be ready to commit time and mobilize resources.


States that do have problems on how to write such a report, should contact Mr. Alessio Bruni at the Office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights (abruni.hchr@unog.ch) to get information on possible technical support.



Not one of the present State Parties have to-date recognized the competence of the Committee to receive and consider individual cases and State Party claims that another State Party is not fulfilling its obligations under the present Convention (Articles 76 and 77, see http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/m_mwctoc.htm ).  While it is very important to continue to advocate for more ratifications, NGOs could also make it a priority to lobby their government and others that ratified the Convention to recognize both articles.


More information about the UN Convention can be found at:



To get a good insight into the Treaty Body system, read the following report “The UN Human Rights Treaty System:  Universality at the Crossroads” by Professor Anne F. Bayefsky on http://www.yorku.ca/hrights/





UN Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination


The 63rd session of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination held in August 2003 examined reports by the Governments of Albania, Bolivia, Cape Verde, the Czech Republic, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Finland, the Republic of Korea, Latvia, Norway, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and the United Kingdom on how they implement the ICERD provisions. Further, the Committee adopted conclusions on the situation in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and in Malawi under its review procedure which deals with countries who have never submitted a report or whose periodic reports are seriously overdue.  More information can be found on following web pages:





The 64th session of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) will take place in Geneva from 23 February to 12 March 2004, to examine the implementation by the following states parties of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD):


A. Examination of initial or periodic reports by Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jaramahiriya, Nepal, Spain, The Netherlands, Brazil, Sweden, Suriname and the Bahamas.


B. Review countries (those states parties have extremely over-due reports, and thus will be examined without updated states' reports): Guyana, Barbados, Madagascar, Nigeria, Venezuela, Saint Lucia and Tanzania.


Information relevant to provisions of ICERD by NGOs, and individuals and peoples affected by racial discrimination such as minority groups, indigenous peoples, migrants and so forth, is crucial for the comprehensive examination by the Committee which can lead to the adoption of useful recommendations for domestic efforts to fight against racial discrimination. Information may be submitted in the form of a so-called 'shadow report'. Any other forms of submission, however, can be also useful provided that it is relevant to the Convention, and contains reliable and updated information. Taking into account the time that the Secretariat and/or individual members of the Committee will need to process, absorb  and study information they receive, it is highly recommended that relevant materials be sent to the Secretariat and/or to individual members as early as possible, preferably before January 2004.  Please contact  the CERD Secretariat (e-mail: nprouvez@ohchr.org), or IMADR Geneva Office (e-mail: imadrun@iprolink.ch ) or IMADR International Secretariat (e-mail: imadris@imadr.org) for any questions you may have in this regard. The practical guides for NGOs interested in ICERD/CERD are also provided in the manual jointly published by IMADR and Minority Rights Group International. Please visit IMADR website: www.imadr.org to download the manual.


Ms. Atsuko Tanaka, the Geneva Representative of IMADR (International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism) can also be reached on the following address:

Route de Ferney, C.P.2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland

Tel. (41 22) 791 6263

Fax (41 22) 791 64


For the UN ICERD site, see : http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu2/6/cerd.htm





International Calendar


Conference on Discrimination, Racism and Xenophobia

Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe:

4-5 September 2003, Vienna, Austria



Prostitution Control and Globalisation


5 September 2003, Oslo, Norway



Summer Working Group Meetings

Canadian Council for Refugees

5-8 September 2003, Montreal, Canada



Immigration, History and Memory in Britain

De Montfort University

6-7 September 2003, Leicester, UK



Violence against women: tackling trafficking

British Council

7-12 September 2003, Codicote, UK



Public Hearing on Combatting Trafficking in Women - The Italian legislation, Best Practice for the European Union?

Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe

12 September 2003, Rome, Italy



15th Conference of the International Association for Research into Juvenile Criminology: Migrations and Ethnic Minorities: Impact on Youth Crime and Challenge for the Juvenile Justice Systems

Swiss Forum for Migration and Population Studies

10-14 September 2003, Fribourg, Switzerland



Actions against Globalisation: 5th WTO Conference

10-14 September 2003, Cancun, Mexico



Healthcare of Asylum Seeker and Refugee Women

Refugee Board

18 September 2003, London, UK



Gaining from Migration: A Global Perspective on Opportunities for Economic and Social Prosperity

Metropolis International

15-19 September 2003, Vienna, Austria



International Migration in the Americas: Immerging Issues

York University

19-20 September 2003, Toronto, Canada



Huwelijksmigratie, een zaak van de overheid? (Marriage migration, an issue for the government?)

Stichting Gerrit Krefeld

20 September 2003, Gent, Belgium



Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride

20 September – 4 October 2003, US



Workshop on Migration and Health in Asia

Asian Meta Centre for Population and Sustainable Development Analysis

22-24 September 2003



International Day Against the Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Women and Children

23 September 2003


Regional Expert Seminar on "Implementation of the Programme of Action adopted at the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance: An Exchange of Ideas on How to Move Forward". 

OHCHR and hosted by the Czech Republic

24-26 September 2003, Prague, Czech Republic




Migraçöes: Exclusäo ou Cidadanía ? (Migrations : exclusion or citizenship ?)

Centro Scalabriniano de Estudos Migratórios

25-27 September 2003, Brazilia, Brazil



Migrants and Descendants: Ambivalent Legacies and New Border-Crossings in a changing world

Association of European Migration Institutions

28 September – 1 October 2003, Lisbon, Portugal



Youth and Migration Seminar

El Taller

29 September – 3 October 2003, Tunis, Tunisia



Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent

29 September-10 October 2003


2nd Balearic Congress 2015: Immigration

2 to 3 October 2003



Human Dimension Implementation Meeting

Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. Agenda includes discussion on prevention of discrimination and racism, trafficking and migrant workers).

6-17 October 2003, Warsaw



European Conference on Employment and the Hidden Economy

Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union

11-12 December 2003, Italy









Spanish, Italian and French version available upon request at



Spanish version translated by Maria Ruiz, Spain, French version translated by Isabelle Slinckx, Belgium and Italian version translated by Eny Giambastiani, Italy.