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Migrants' rights: standards and mechanisms

  • Migrants' rights: specific international and regional standards and mechanisms (texts)

    Websites/Multiple Documents

    Title: Committee on Migrant Workers
    Description/subject: Monitoring the protection of the rights of all migrant workers and members of their families...The Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (CMW) is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families by its State parties. It held its first session in March 2004. All States parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. States must report initially one year after acceding to the Convention and then every five years. The Committee will examine each report and address its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of “concluding observations”. The Committee will also, under certain circumstances, be able to consider individual complaints or communications from individuals claiming that their rights under the Convention have been violated once 10 States parties have accepted this procedure in accordance with article 77 of the Convention. At the moment, two States have accepted this procedure. The Committee meets in Geneva and normally holds two sessions per year. The Committee also organizes days of general discussion and can publish statements on themes related to its work and interpretations of the content of the provisions in the Convention (general comments).
    Language: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish
    Source/publisher: United Nations
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 24 February 2010


    Title: International Labour Migration
    Description/subject: Standards, links, documentation, database etc.
    Language: English (Francais, French; Espanol, Spanish)
    Source/publisher: International Labour Organisation
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 21 May 2005


    Title: International Migration Law Database
    Description/subject: International Instruments; Regional Instruments, National Instruments
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: International Organization for Migration (IOM)
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 09 December 2010


    Title: Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on the human rights of migrants
    Description/subject: "The mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants was created in 1999 by the Commission on Human Rights, pursuant to resolution 1999/44 . The mandate was extended for a further three years by the Commission on Human Rights in 2002, at its 58th session (Res. 2002/62 ). The Commission requested the Special Rapporteur to “examine ways and means to overcome the obstacles existing to the full and effective protection of the human rights of migrants, including obstacles and difficulties for the return of migrants who are undocumented or in an irregular situation”. The main functions of the Special Rapporteur are: (a) To request and receive information from all relevant sources, including migrants themselves, on violations of the human rights of migrants and their families; (b) To formulate appropriate recommendations to prevent and remedy violations of the human rights of migrants, wherever they may occur; (c) To promote the effective application of relevant international norms and standards on the issue; (d) To recommend actions and measures applicable at the national, regional and international levels to eliminate violations of the human rights of migrants; (e) To take into account a gender perspective when requesting and analyzing information, as well as to give special attention to the occurrence of multiple discrimination and violence against migrant women; In the discharge of these functions: (a) The Special Rapporteur acts on information submitted to her regarding alleged violations of the human rights of migrants by sending urgent appeals and communications to concerned Governments to clarify and/or bring to their attention these cases. See Individual Complaints. (b) The Special Rapporteur conducts country visits (also called fact-finding missions) upon the invitation of the Government, in order to examine the state of protection of the human rights of migrants in the given country. The Special Rapporteur submits a report of the visit to the Commission on Human Rights, presenting her findings, conclusions and recommendations. See Country Visits. (c) The Special Rapporteur participates in conferences, seminars and panels on issues relating to the human rights of migrants. (d) Annually, the Special Rapporteur, reports to the Commission on Human Rights about the global state of protection of migrants’ human rights, her main concerns and the good practices she has observed. In her report the Special Rapporteur informs the Commission of all the communications she has sent and the replies received from Governments. Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur formulates specific recommendations with a view to enhancing the protection of the human rights of migrants. Upon request of the Commission on Human Rights the Special Rapporteur may also present reports to the General Assembly."
    Language: English, Francais, Espanol, Russian, Arabic, Chinese
    Source/publisher: United Nations
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 20 May 2005


    Individual Documents

    Title: International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
    Date of publication: 18 December 1990
    Description/subject: Adopted by General Assembly resolution 45/158 of 18 December 1990; sometimes called the "1990 Convention". Entered into force 1 July 2003. Neither Burma nor the main destination countries for Burmese migrants are party to the Convention (29 States Parties as of May 2005, all sending countries)
    Language: English (French and Spanish available)
    Source/publisher: United Nations
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: ILO Convention 143: Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Convention, 1975
    Date of publication: 24 June 1975
    Description/subject: Only 23 ratifications, of which only Sweden, Norway, Italy and Portugal are credible destinations for Burmese migrants.
    Language: English (French and Spanish available)
    Source/publisher: International Labour Office
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 23 May 2005


    Title: ILO Convention 97: Migration for Employment Convention (Revised), 1949
    Date of publication: 01 July 1949
    Description/subject: 43 ratifications of which only Belgium, France, Germany,, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain and the UK are credible destinations for Burmese migrants.
    Language: English (French and Spanish available)
    Source/publisher: International Labour Office
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 23 May 2005


  • Migrants' rights: specific international and regional standards and mechanisms (commentaries)

    Individual Documents

    Title: A Clouded Vision
    Date of publication: May 2008
    Description/subject: Critics dismiss Asean plan for free movement of labor... "DESPITE the high-minded ideals of the Asean Vision 2020 plan launched more than a decade ago by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), cynics continue to dismiss its aim of labor mobility in a “community of caring societies” as just so much humbug. A Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, signed by Asean leaders in January 2007, “mandates Asean countries to promote fair and appropriate employment protection, payment of wages and adequate access to decent working and living conditions for migrant workers.” A migrant worker holds his document during a raid by Malaysian civilian volunteers and immigration officers on a construction site in Kuala Lumpur in 2005. (Photo: AP) In reality, the millions of desperate migrants who hope to escape poverty and repression in their home countries, including Burma, by migrating to Thailand and Malaysia find anything but these conditions..."
    Author/creator: William Boot
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 16, No. 5
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 01 May 2008


    Title: The Mekong Challenge - Employment and Protection of Migrant Workers in Thailand: National Laws/Practices versus International Labour Standards?
    Date of publication: 2005
    Description/subject: Thai university professor and international law expert, Vitit Muntarbhorn, looks at the application of labour standards as they relate to migrant workers in Thailand. Professor Vitit concludes with a series of 12 recommendations for both government and non-government sectors. This publication also contains copies of all six sub-regional, bilateral, MOUs on counter trafficking and employment cooperation... "...Migrant workers can contribute greatly to their home and destination countries, if the process is well managed and if they are protected from abuse and exploitation. In reality, the situation is rendered complex by that fact that many do not enter the destination countries legally. In the market of demand and supply, regrettably many are victims of human smuggling and trafficking. Moreover, influxes of migrant workers who come without the necessary documents, such as visas and work permits, often result in draconian measures such as deportation from the territory of the destination countries, without adequate guarantees for their safety and dignity. The lesson from Thailand is that to date, a closed door policy on migration from neighbouring countries has not worked, given the porous border and Thailand's own labour market which acts as a pull factor. Wisely the country is now moving towards a new and more open door policy: managing migration through cooperation between the countries of origin and Thailand as a destination country, and synchronizing with Thailand's own labour market. In 2005 the country introduced a regularization process based upon registration of migrant workers and their employers, with guarantees for basic rights, and this needs to be supported well in terms of effective implementation and humane treatment of all workers....CONTENTS: Foreword... Executive Summary... 1. Introduction... 2. Employment/Protection of Migrant Workers in Thailand... 3. Thai Laws/Practices... 4. International Labour Standards... 5. National Laws/Practices and International Labour Standards... 6. Directions... 7. Notes.
    Author/creator: Vitit Muntarbhorn
    Language: English, Thai
    Source/publisher: International Labour Organisation
    Format/size: pdf (563K)
    Alternate URLs: http://no-trafficking.org/content/Reading_Rooms/reading_rooms_pdf/mekong%20challenge_employment%20a...
    Date of entry/update: 03 May 2008


  • Migrants' rights: other relevant international and regional standards and mechanisms

    Websites/Multiple Documents

    Title: Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
    Description/subject: " The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by its States parties. The Committee was established under ECOSOC Resolution 1985/17 of 28 May 1985 to carry out the monitoring functions assigned to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in Part IV of the Covenant. All States parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. States must report initially within two years of accepting the Covenant and thereafter every five years. The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of “concluding observations”. The Committee cannot consider individual complaints, although a draft Optional Protocol to the Covenant is under consideration which could give the Committee competence in this regard. The Commission on Human Rights has established a working group to this end. However, it may be possible for another committee with competence to consider individual communications to consider issues related to economic, social and cultural rights in the context of its treaty. [Image: Young women in an adult literacy class in Makthar, Tunisia. (UN Photo #157607)] The Committee meets in Geneva and normally holds two sessions per year, consisting of a three-week plenary and a one-week pre-sessional working group. The Committee also publishes its interpretation of the provisions of the Covenant, known as general comments..."
    Language: English, Francais, Espanol, Russian, Arabic, Chinese
    Source/publisher: United Nations
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 23 May 2005


    Title: Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
    Description/subject: "The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination by its State parties. All States parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. States must report initially one year after acceding to the Convention and then every two years. The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of “concluding observations”. In addition to the reporting procedure, the Convention establishes three other mechanisms through which the Committee performs its monitoring functions: the early-warning procedure, the examination of inter-state complaints and the examination of individual complaints. [Image: A segregated beach in South Africa, 1982. (UN Photo# 151906C)]The Committee meets in Geneva and normally holds two sessions per year consisting of three weeks each. The Committee also publishes its interpretation of the content of human rights provisions, known as general recommendations (or general comments), on thematic issues and organizes thematic discussions..."
    Language: English (also available in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish)
    Source/publisher: United Nations
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 23 May 2005


    Title: Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
    Description/subject: Monitors the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Receives and examines State Party reports. Search in OBL for CRC to access the various reports, statements and concluding observations when the CRC examined Myanmar's initial report.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: United Nations
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: Human Rights Committee
    Description/subject: This page provides information on the procedures of the Human Rights Committee, the treaty body which administers the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It also has a link to the text of the Covenant.
    Language: English, Francais, Espanol, Russian, Arabic, Chinese
    Source/publisher: United Nations
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 18 August 2004


    Individual Documents

    Title: The rights of non-citizens: Final report - Addendum 1, "United Nations activities"
    Date of publication: 26 May 2003
    Description/subject: Final report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. David Weissbrodt, submitted in accordance with Sub-Commission decision 2000/103, Commission resolution 2000/104 and Economic and Social Council decision 2000/283 Addendum United Nations activities*..."This addendum (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2003/23/Add.1) to the final report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of non-citizens (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2003/23) supplements the 2002 addendum (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2002/25/Add.1) to the progress report of the Special Rapporteur (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2002/25) and the 2001 addendum (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2001/20/Add.1) to the preliminary report of the Special Rapporteur (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2001/20) by providing updated jurisprudence and concluding observations with respect to the rights of non-citizens. This addendum also includes a new section on the relevant jurisprudence of the Committee Against Torture. The jurisprudence and concluding observations in this addendum cover treaty-monitoring body sessions from March 2002 through March 2003..."
    Author/creator: David Weissbrodt
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: United Nations (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2003/23/Add.1)
    Format/size: pdf (87K)
    Date of entry/update: 24 August 2012


    Title: The rights of non-citizens: Final report - Addendum 2 - "Regional activities"
    Date of publication: 26 May 2003
    Description/subject: Final report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. David Weissbrodt, submitted in accordance with Sub-Commission decision 2000/103, Commission resolution 2000/104 and Economic and Social Council decision 2000/283 Addendum Regional activities..."This addendum (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2003/23/Add.2) to the final report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of non-citizens (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2003/23) supplements the 2002 addendum (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2002/25/Add.2) to the progress report of the Special Rapporteur (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2002/25) and the 2001 addendum (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2001/20/Add.1) to the preliminary report of the Special Rapporteur (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2001/20) by updating the expanded examination of the rights of non-citizens within regional human rights bodies. The addendum updates the jurisprudence of those regional bodies that have adopted recent decisions related to the rights of non-citizens, including the European Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. It also contains a new section on the European Social Committee. Finally, it again discusses the Framework Convention on National Minorities, adopted under the auspices of the Council of Europe, and include recent decision based on that instrument..."
    Author/creator: David Weissbrodt
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: United Nations (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2003/23/Add.2)
    Format/size: pdf (88K)
    Date of entry/update: 24 August 2012


    Title: The rights of non-citizens: Final report - Addendum 3, "Examples of practices in regard to non-citizens"
    Date of publication: 26 May 2003
    Description/subject: The rights of non-citizens Final report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. David Weissbrodt, submitted in accordance with Sub-Commission decision 2000/103, Commission resolution 2000/104 and Economic and Social Council decision 2000/283 Addendum Examples of practices in regard to non-citizens..."While the main report (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2003/23) summarizes the norms that protect the rights of non-citizens, in many countries non-citizens do not actually enjoy those rights. One of the most common problems human rights treaty bodies have encountered in reviewing States' reports is that some national constitutions guarantee rights to "citizens" whereas international human rights law would – with the exception of the rights of public participation, of movement,4 and of economic rights in developing countries5 – provide rights to all persons.6 Of the countries responding to the questionnaire, however, most countries extended constitutionally protected human rights to every person7 or specifically to non-citizens.8 Other countries protect the rights of non-citizens, including refugees, by statute9 or by incorporating treaties into national law.10 Constitutions in some countries, however, inappropriately distinguish between the rights granted to persons who obtained their citizenship by birth and other citizens.11 Furthermore, the mere statement of the general principle of non-discrimination in a constitution is not a sufficient response to the requirements of human rights law..."
    Author/creator: David Weissbrodt,
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: United Nations (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2003/23/Add.3)
    Format/size: pdf (88K)
    Date of entry/update: 24 August 2012


    Title: The rights of non-citizens: Final report - Addendum 4, "Summary of Comments Received from U.N. Member States to Special Rapporteur's Questionnaire"
    Date of publication: 26 May 2003
    Description/subject: Final report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. David Weissbrodt, submitted in accordance with Sub-Commission decision 2000/103, Commission resolution 2000/104 and Economic and Social Council decision 2000/283 Addendum Summary of Comments Received from U.N. Member States to Special Rapporteur's Questionnaire..."This Addendum IV summarizes1 the comments received from 22 Member States in response to the questionnaire prepared by the Special Rapporteur and disseminated pursuant to Commission decision 2002/107 of 25 April 2002. For reasons of expense and length it was not possible to reproduce the full text of the responses received from all Member States. Hence, this summary was prepared to express particular appreciation for the quite substantial number of responses received and to give others a sense of the substance contained in the replies. The Special Rapporteur also received responses from 7 intergovernmental organizations and 4 nongovernmental organizations, plus the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of migrants.2 The Special Rapporteur on the human rights of non-citizens took into account all of the responses in preparing the final report and other addenda and is extremely grateful for all the assistance afforded in those responses..." Includes replies from Thailand and India.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: United Nations (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2003/23/Add.4)
    Format/size: pdf (101K)
    Date of entry/update: 25 May 2005


    Title: The rights of non-citizens: Final report
    Date of publication: 23 May 2003
    Description/subject: Final report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. David Weissbrodt, submitted in accordance with Sub-Commission decision 2000/103, Commission resolution 2000/104 and Economic and Social Council decision 2000/283..."Based on a review of international human rights law, the Special Rapporteur has concluded that all persons should by virtue of their essential humanity enjoy all human rights unless exceptional distinctions, for example, between citizens and non-citizens, serve a legitimate State objective and are proportional to the achievement of that objective. For example, non-citizens should enjoy freedom from arbitrary killing, inhuman treatment slavery, forced labour, child labour, arbitrary arrest, unfair trial, invasions of privacy, refoulement and violations of humanitarian law. They also have the right to marry, protection as minors, peaceful association and assembly, equality, freedom of religion and belief, social, cultural, and economic rights in general, labour rights (for example, as to collective bargaining, workers� compensation, social security, appropriate working conditions and environment, etc.) and consular protection..."
    Author/creator: David Weissbrodt
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: United Nations (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2003/23)
    Format/size: pdf (83K)
    Date of entry/update: 24 August 2012


    Title: United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (including the protocols on trafficking and smuggling of persons)
    Date of publication: 15 November 2000
    Description/subject: The Convention entered into force on 29 September 2003... Annex I: United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime... Annex II: Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime...Annex III: Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime...Myanmar accession: 30 March 2004... The UNODC page at http://www.unodc.org/unodc/crime_cicp_convention.html contains the finalized instruments; Signatures/Ratifications; Legislative guides; Background information; Conference of the Parties.
    Language: English (Arabic,Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish available)
    Source/publisher: United Nations (A/RES/55/25)
    Format/size: pdf, html
    Alternate URLs: http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/treaties/CTOC/index.html
    Date of entry/update: 23 May 2005


    Title: Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
    Date of publication: 20 November 1989
    Description/subject: Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989; entry into force 2 September 1990. For the jurisprudence of the Convention, visit the site of CRC Committee. Myanmar accession: 15 July 1991.
    Language: English, Francais, Espanol, Russian, Arabic, Chinese
    Source/publisher: United Nations
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
    Date of publication: 16 December 1966
    Description/subject: Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966, entry into force 23 March 1976.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: United Nations
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
    Date of publication: 16 December 1966
    Description/subject: Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966; entry into force 3 January 1976.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: United Nations
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    Title: International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)
    Date of publication: 21 December 1965
    Description/subject: Adopted and opened for signature and ratification by General Assembly resolution 2106 (XX) of 21 December 1965; entry into force 4 January 1969. For the jurisprudence under the Convention, visit the site of CERD Committee at http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: United Nations
    Format/size: html
    Alternate URLs: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/
    Date of entry/update: 23 May 2005


  • Migrants' rights: guides to the mechanisms

    Individual Documents

    Title: The UN Treaty Monitoring Bodies and Migrant Workers: a Samizdat
    Date of publication: November 2004
    Description/subject: "Whether migrants fall so low so as to be below the guard of protection provided by the ensemble of international human rights treaties is the question at the heart of this research paper. There is a lack of public comprehensive research on whether governments extend the provisions of the international human rights treaties they have ratified to protect the human rights of migrants and not only the rights of their own nationals. To fill this gap, the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) and December 18 vzw, with support from UNESCO, engaged in a research project to study country specific conclusions and recommendations issued by bodies of experts tasked with supervising the implementation of these conventions. The research was carried out in Geneva between May and July 2004. The data compiled over the 10-week research period provides some useful initial pointers as to current practice and priorities in the six treaty monitoring bodies (TMB). While irregular migrants make news headlines and occupy centre stage in regional migration management consultative processes, TMB conclusions highlight the existing gap in ensuring non-discrimination and equal treatment with nationals for migrants and members of their families, as provided for in human rights treaties. Migration affects most countries today, yet only half of the TMB conclusions refer to migrant concerns. This research is part of an on-going strategy to enable civil society and other stakeholders to make better use of international human rights treaties and conventions. In order to better protect the human rights of migrants, States parties need to be prompted to follow up the recommendations of treaty monitoring bodies. As the overall UN human rights treaty monitoring system is currently subject to review, this thematic pilot research provides a “horizontal” case-study across several treaty monitoring bodies which could be useful for United Nations, government and NGOs experts engaged in efforts to rationalize and streamline treaty monitoring and observance. This paper is also constructed so as to offer an additional perspective on migrants’ rights and UN human rights treaties for the newly formed Committee on Migrant Workers..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: International Catholic MIgration Commission, December 18
    Format/size: Word (292K)
    Date of entry/update: 28 May 2005


    Title: The International Labour Organization: A Handbook for Minorities and Indigenous Peoples
    Date of publication: May 2002
    Description/subject: "This Handbook gives an insider’s view of how the International Labour Organization (ILO) works. It explains how the ILO can be used by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and others, to promote and protect minority and indigenous peoples’ rights. The Handbook provides an overview of the ILO’s structure, relevant committees and methods, in an accessible format. It offers practical advice, case studies and step-by-step guidance on working with the ILO; showing, for example, how NGOs can provide information to the ILO, how they can influence its agenda, and how they can work with bodies such as trade unions to further minority and indigenous peoples’ concerns. While this Handbook is aimed at minorities and indigenous peoples’ organizations, and other NGOs working to promote human rights, it will be of interest to anyone wishing to learn more about the ILO and its role in fighting discrimination and protecting rights..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Anti-Slavery International, Minority Rights Group International
    Format/size: pdf (321K)
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003