Joint Initiative by December 18 and Migrants Rights International.



MIGRANT.NEWS, 20 May 2002



1. UN 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


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


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 (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 ).  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 following site:





2. UN 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:


Philippines from 20 until 30 May 2002 (For schedule to-date, see further)


Consultations with the Caram Asia Network, KL, Malaysia,  2 and 3 June 2002


General Assembly, Third Committee, New York, Nov-Dec. 2002

Presentation of the SRís first three year term report.



Schedule of Mission to the Philippines:


Monday, 20 May 2002, Manila

Department of Foreign Affairs



UN Interagency meeting


Tuesday, 21 May 2002, Manila

Department of Labor


Department of Justice

Bureau of Immigration and Deportation & Bureau for Prisons

Human Rights Commission


Wednesday, 22 May 2002, Manila

Visit of a prison

Meeting with NGOs


Thursday, 23 May 2002, Manila

POEA (Recruitment offices)

Visit of families of migrant workers and project in and/or around Manila

Meeting with NGOís on womenís issues


Friday, 24 May 2002, Manila

Interdepartmental  group on trafficking (DFA)

National Womenís Commission


Saturday, 25 May 2002           , Bohol

Meeting with families of migrant workers and the local authorities


Monday, 27 May 2002, Zamboanga                                                               

Meetings with families of migrant workers and the local authorities.


Tuesday, 28 May 2002, Manila

Department of Social Welfare and Development

National Labor Relations Commission


Wednesday, 29 May 2002, Manila

Senate and the House of Representatives

Departments of Foreign Affairs, Labor and Womenís Commission to give feedback of the Mission.

UNDP ñ Press Conference





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: jai-immigration-asile@cec.eu.int


The text of the Green paper on Return is available in all EU languages.

English: http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/en/com/gpr/2002/com2002_0175en01.pdf

French: http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/fr/com/gpr/2002/com2002_0175fr01.pdf

Spanish: http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/es/com/gpr/2002/com2002_0175es01.pdf

Dutch: http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/nl/com/gpr/2002/com2002_0175nl01.pdf

Italian: http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/it/com/gpr/2002/com2002_0175it01.pdf

German: http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/de/com/gpr/2002/com2002_0175de01.pdf


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





4. European Social Forum


The European 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 2003.


The report of the first preparatory meeting in Brussels on 9-10 March 2002 can be found at


A second meeting was scheduled on 10-12 May 2002 in Vienna.

See: http://www.esf-vienna.org


To join the mailing list set up by the European Working Group for the ESF, please contact:

Laurent JESOVER [jesover@ras.eu.org]


The organisers of the Forum can be contacted by e-mail at:

Organisation Italy
Raffaela Bolini


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 Dutch)

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)

See: http://www.december18.net/intro.htm#one


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, See: http://www.globalhawaii.org/PDF/trafficking.htm








6. Educational Kits and Guides on the human rights of migrants


We are preparing a web page with direct links to online educational materials and a publication list of what can be ordered. To add your guide, course or kit on the human rights of migrants, send us an e-mail to info@december18.net.


Defending 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 campaigns.


This 152-page kit includes:

-  Overview and topical articles on the anti-immigrant Rightís structure, tactics and goals;

-  Description of common anti-immigrant arguments and suggested responses;

-  Samples of anti-immigrant literature; and

-  Annotated lists of anti-immigrant and immigrant advocacy organizations.


For more information see: http://www.publiceye.org/ark/immigrants/im_main.html or

order by 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.






7. International Calendar http://www.december18.net/calendar.htm


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, Netherlands
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,

Madrid, Spain.


For details and the complete 2002-2003 calendar, see:





8. Update http://www.december18.org


Spanish homepage at http://www.december18.net/e-frontpage.htm

Articles and papers:

CallejÛ sin 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

Multiculturalismo e inmigraciÛn


Enlace Informativo Sin Fronteras 72, 29 Marzo-11 Abril 2002

Enlace Informativo Sin Fronteras 73, 12 Abril-30 Abril  2002


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, France

Liste de publications par le GISTI, France


Dutch homepage at http://www.december18.net/d-frontpage.htm

Electronic newsletters:

Nieuwsbrief door Provinciaal Integratiecentrum Oost-Vlaanderen, Cel Vluchtelingen Oost-Vlaanderen, Cel Woonwagenbewoners Oost-Vlaanderen en Intercultureel Netwerk Gent

Nieuwsbrief Haven VZW


German homepage at http://www.december18.net/g-frontpage.htm

Official translation of the UN Convention: Internationale Konvention zum Schutz der Rechte aller Wanderarbeitnehmer and ihrer Familiegeh–rigen (PDF)


English homepage at http://www.december18.net/intro.htm#one

NGO Press Releases

Enough is enough, Guarantee just basic living wages for plantation workers, Malaysia

Protect Migrant 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,

Presidential Proclamation no. 76 angers Filipino domestics in HK

Euro-Med Partners 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 local articles)

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 Dominican Republic

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 South Africa


Overview of publications on women and migration (including several publications in German)

Border and discrimination in the EU by Ryszard Cholewinski, Published by ILPA and MPG.

Recommendations by 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

Trafficking page:

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 at migrantnews@december18.net


Spanish version translated by Maria Ruiz, Spain and French version translated by Catherine Thomas, France.