Initiative by December 18 and Migrants Rights International.
MIGRANT.NEWS, 20 May 2002
Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members
of Their Families
Did you ever wonder when exactly after the
deposit of the 20th ratification or accession the Convention will
enter into force, what needs to be done and how your organization could be
involved ? We have some suggestions.
A quick reminder about what International
Standards are and how they are created can be found on the following page: http://www.december18.net/paper3creationstandards.htm
To get a good insight into the Treaty
Body system, read the following report ìThe UN Human Rights Treaty System: Universality at the Crossroadsî by
Professor Anne F. Bayefsky on http://www.yorku.ca/hrights/
The Convention on the Protection of the
Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (CPRMW) will enter
into force on the first day of the month following a period of three months
after the date of the deposit of the twentieth ratification or accession. (e.g.
if the 20th ratification or accession is deposited on May 20, 2002,
the CPRMW will enter into force on the 1st September 2002.).
For the purpose of reviewing the
application of the CPRMW, a Committee ñ also known as a Treaty Body - of 10
experts is elected 6 months after the date of the entry into force (following
our example, the election would be held at the beginning of March 2003). The
experts are elected by secret ballot by the States Parties (those countries
that did ratify or accede to the CPRMW, see http://www.december18.net/UNconvention.htm)
from a list of persons nominated by these same States Parties.
At least four
months before the date of the election (eg. before 1 November 2002), the UN
Secretary General will be inviting all State Parties to submit within two months
their nomination (eg. before 1 January 2003). A finalized list of nominees will
be returned to all State Parties one month (eg. 1 February 2003) before the
final election (eg. 1 March 2003)
What can you do?
Each State Party has the right to nominate one person
from among its own nationals. Your organization can help identify and recommend
to member states persons of high moral standing, impartiality and recognized
competence in the field. But remember, she or he must be a national of one of
the State Parties. It is a good idea not to wait for the 20th
ratification to contact the respective government.
Upon receiving the list of nominations, a one-month strong national and
international NGO lobby should be set up for the final election of 10 experts.
On the international level, December 18 and Migrants Rights International will
be organising a letter campaign aimed at the Foreign Affairs Ministers and the New York UN missions of all State
Parties. The letter will include a shortlist of the best candidates based on
the input provided by NGOs through a consultative process. The same NGOs will
be invited to co-sign the letter.
The election of the members of the Committee (the
experts) is held at a meeting of States Parties convened by the UN Secretary
General. 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 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.
The total cost of Treaty Body Committee for a Convention that has about
50 State Parties amounts up to 2 million US$/year.
State Party Reporting obligations
Within the year of entry into force of the
Convention, the State Parties must submit for consideration by the Committee a
report on the legislative, administrative and other measures they have taken to
give effect to the provisions of the CPRMW. Thereafter every five years and
whenever the Committee so requests.
What can you do?
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 as soon as the 20th ratification is
deposited. 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 (email@example.com)
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
). NGOs should make it a priority
to lobby all State Parties to recognize both.
In the meantime, NGOs in the North, and especially in
the European Union, should strengthen their campaign for the ratification of
the CPRWM. Especially now that the EU have decided to harmonize their immigration
and asylum policies by 2004. Ask your government with the help of your MP or
any other politician for an official letter explaining their position with
regard to the ratification of the Convention. In the past year, such a letter was obtained from the
governments of The Netherlands, the UK and Canada. Their main points are
available on http://www.december18.net/UNconvention.htm
To prepare answers, it is useful to read through the
ëTravaux prÈparatoiresí. These are the reports of the drafting committee
meetings of the Convention (1980-1990). The reports contain the discussions
that led to the present Convention. These may resolve some misinterpretations.
An overview of the schedule of the discussions of each chapter of the
Convention and the report number can be found on
You will find the reports at any designated UN
depository library. Check the list of full deposit libraries by country on the
Special Rapport on the Human Rights of Migrants
The Geneva Office
of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants confirmed the
following upcoming visits:
Consultations with the
Caram Asia Network, KL, Malaysia, 2
and 3 June 2002
General Assembly, Third Committee, New York, Nov-Dec.
Monday, 20 May 2002, Manila
Tuesday, 21 May 2002, Manila
Immigration and Deportation & Bureau for Prisons
Wednesday, 22 May 2002, Manila
Visit of a prison
Meeting with NGOs
Thursday, 23 May 2002, Manila
Visit of families
of migrant workers and project in and/or around Manila
NGOís on womenís issues
Friday, 24 May 2002, Manila
Interdepartmental group on trafficking (DFA)
Saturday, 25 May 2002 ,
families of migrant workers and the local authorities
Monday, 27 May 2002, Zamboanga
families of migrant workers and the local authorities.
Tuesday, 28 May
Social Welfare and Development
Wednesday, 29 May 2002, Manila
Senate and the
House of Representatives
Foreign Affairs, Labor and Womenís Commission to give feedback of the Mission.
UNDP ñ Press
3. Europe (From ECRANís Weekly Updates)
The European Commission launches a debate on the need for a
common policy for the return of undocumented residents. Acting on a proposal
from the Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner, AntÛnio Vitorino, the European
Commission has therefore approved a Green Paper on a Community return
policy on illegal residents. The European Parliament, the Council, the
Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions, the candidate
countries, third-country partners, international governmental organisations,
non-governmental organisations, the academic world and other interested
organisations and individuals from civil society are invited to take part in
this discussion. The Commission would like to receive all contributions in
writing by 31 July 2002 so that it can make the best possible preparations for
a hearing on Community return policy by the summer of 2002. Your comments
should be sent to The Director General, Directorate General Justice & Home
Affaires, EC, Rue de Luxembourg, 46, 1049 Brussels, Belgium, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The text of the Green paper on Return is
available in all EU languages.
Press release from the Council of Europe on the harmonisation
of rules in the field of family reunification http://www.coe.int/T/e/Communication_and_Research/Press/News/20020405_CM.asp#TopOfPage
Social Forum (ESF) invites migrant organizations to be involved in the upcoming
Social Forum that will be held in Florence, Italy in the fall of 2002, as part
of the global process towards the Third World Social Forum in Porto Alegre
The report of
the first preparatory meeting in Brussels on 9-10 March 2002 can be found at
meeting was scheduled on 10-12 May 2002 in Vienna.
To join the
mailing list set up by the European Working Group for the ESF, please contact:
Laurent JESOVER [email@example.com]
The organisers of the Forum can be contacted by
World Social Forum: http://www.forumsocialmundial.org.br/eng/index.asp
5. Campaigns, urgent actions and
call for papers
We need your
signature for the following online petitions and urgent actions:
Together for Social Justice, Support
international domestic workers, Wereldsolidariteit, Belgium (in English, French, Spanish and
European Charter for Domestic Migrant
Workers' Rights, Respect Network, Europe (in English, French and Spanish)
Make Trade Fair: People before Profits (in
English, French and Spanish)
Call for papers for ëThe Human Rights
Challenge of Globalisation in Asia-Pacific-US: The trafficking in persons,
especially women and childrení, Honolulu, Hawaiíi USA, November 13-15, 2002,
Immigrant Rights, the latest Activist Resource Kit from Political Research
Associates (language: English), will help you understand the anti-immigrant
movement, respond to its common arguments and organize against its right-wing
This 152-page kit
- Overview and topical articles on the
anti-immigrant Rightís structure, tactics and goals;
- Samples of anti-immigrant literature;
- Annotated lists of anti-immigrant and
immigrant advocacy organizations.
information see: http://www.publiceye.org/ark/immigrants/im_main.html or
contacting Political Research Associates, 1310 Broadway, #201, Somerville, MA,
US, 02144, (617) 666-5300. The
cost is $15 regular or $10 low income, plus $3.50 shipping.
UN Road Map: A
guide for Asian NGOs to the International Human Rights System and Other
Mechanisms (CHRF, AHRC, AMC, APWLD, 2000). Language: English.
20 to 31 May 2002, International Labour
Standards, Course, Turin (Italy) & Geneva
22 May 2002 - Forced migration and the
politics of burden-sharing, Oxford, UK.
24 May 2002 - Migrant Families and a new
citizenship in Europe, Rome, Italy.
24 May 2002 - Brain drain, brain gain or
brain transfer : Losing their minds?, Brussels
24 to 25 May - Coming and
Staying - Migration and Intercultural Life in Germany, K–ln
25 May to 2 June - Summer Course on Refugee Issues, Toronto, Canada
24 to 26 May - Right to Health : Implementation and Monitoring, Soesterberg,
27 to 31 May - UN Working Group on
Contemporary Forms of Slavery, Geneva, Switzerland
27 to 31 May - 4th Global
Consultation on International Protection, Geneva, Switzerland
27 May to 7 June - 4th Preparatory Committee for World Summit on Sustainable
Development, Jakarta, Indonesia
31 May 2002 - Providing Assistance to
Undocumented Migrants in Belgium: Exchanging Experiences and Good Practices,
PICUM, Brussels, Belgium.
31 May-1 June 2002 - Imagining a
multicultural model of citizenship for the EU , ENAR,
For details and the complete 2002-2003
8. Update http://www.december18.org
homepage at http://www.december18.net/e-frontpage.htm
salida: Abusos cometidos por las autoridades EspaÒoles y MarroquÌes contra
niÒos migrantes, May 2002
El Estado les
niega medicamentos a residentes extranjeros con VIH, Argentina
ASEM: La UE busca en
Lanzarote un acuerdo con China y Vietnam para la repatriaciÛn de inmigrantes
ASEM: La UniÛn Europea
intentar· regular los flujos migratorios con 10 paÌses asi·ticos
ASEM: Rajoy anuncia
nuevos convenios de readmisiÛn entre la UE y varios paÌses africanos
Sin Fronteras 72, 29 Marzo-11 Abril 2002
Sin Fronteras 73, 12 Abril-30 Abril
French homepage at http://www.december18.net/f-frontpage.htm
Articles and papers:
Vers qui se tourner: Abus des Ètats espagnol et marocain contre les enfants
migrants non accompagnÈs, mai 2002
Le travail prÈcaire agricole dans quelques pays de l'Europe du Nord
Histoire(s) díImmigration: Voyages sans retour, MD,
Liste de publications
par le GISTI, France
Dutch homepage at http://www.december18.net/d-frontpage.htm
Provinciaal Integratiecentrum Oost-Vlaanderen, Cel Vluchtelingen
Oost-Vlaanderen, Cel Woonwagenbewoners Oost-Vlaanderen en Intercultureel
German homepage at http://www.december18.net/g-frontpage.htm
translation of the UN Convention: Internationale Konvention zum Schutz der
Rechte aller Wanderarbeitnehmer and ihrer Familiegeh–rigen (PDF)
homepage at http://www.december18.net/intro.htm#one
NGO Press Releases
Enough is enough,
Guarantee just basic living wages for plantation workers, Malaysia
Workers' rights for a just society, Malaysia
In preparation for
the World Cup and Asian Games, Korean government prepares for massive Crackdown
of migrant workers and Blocked the Migrant Workers rally,
Proclamation no. 76 angers Filipino domestics in HK
Should Address Migrant Rights
Articles and papers
Nowhere to turn: State Abuses of Unaccompanied
Migrant Children by Spain and Morocco
Saudi Arabia: 10 % income tax for expatriats proposed
Slave-like conditions reported in 30 Chinese manpower
companies operating in Israel
Voice experts to root out asylum claims, UK
Migrant workers stage sit-in protest at church, Korea
Country reports on racism (Italy, Georgia, Ireland,
Estonia, Romania), ECRI
Unions and migrants in Saudi Arabia (ILO PR and some
The situation facing Burmese refugees and migrant
workers in Thailand
Interview with Lucas Benitez of the Coalition of
Immokalee Workers by David Bacon
Illegal People: Haitians and Dominico-Haitians in the
Gender and Migration: Women migrants play positive
role/Poverty and Women's Migrancy: Lesotho Farm workers in the Eastern Free
State", In Borderline Farming: Foreign Migrants in South African
Commercial Agriculture/Women on the Move: Gender and Cross-border Migration to
Overview of publications on women and migration
(including several publications in German)
discrimination in the EU by Ryszard Cholewinski, Published by ILPA and MPG.
10 senior experts from 7 European countries for a European Migration Policy,
Published by the King Baudouin Foundation and the German Marshall Fund.
Risks and Rewards:
Stories from the Philippine Migration Trail. Published by Inter Press Service
Asia-Pacific, Bangkok, Thailand
ILO Paper: Getting at the Roots, Stopping
Exploitation of Migrant Workers by Organised Crime
Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, A
European Convention?, Remarks by Mary Robinson, UN HCHR
NGO Newsletters page:
April edition by the Platform for International
Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM)
Spanish and French version available upon request