COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF MIGRANT WORKERS CONCLUDES SIXTEENTH SESSION
Issues Concluding Observations and Recommendations on Reports of Paraguay and Tajikistan
27 April 2012
The Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families on 27 April concluded its sixteenth session after issuing its concluding observations and recommendations on the initial reports of Paraguay and Tajikistan.
Closing the session, Abdelhamid El Jamri, Chairperson of the Committee, summarized the work accomplished by the Committee during the week, which included a review of the reports of Paraguay and Tajikistan and the adoption of the lists of issues for Rwanda, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Azerbaijan, Philippines, El Salvador and Mali, whose reports would be considered in future sessions. They also adopted an amendment to the Committee’s rules of procedure to allow it to review the situation in a State party in the absence of a report, and they continued their discussion on a draft General Comment on the rights of migrant workers in an irregular situation and members of their families. Mr. El Jamri said the Committee hoped to adopt the General Comment at the next session in September 2012.
In addition, Mr. El Jamri said that the Committee had discussed questions related to its methods of work, including the harmonization of working methods between the treaty bodies and other questions on reinforcing the treaty bodies. The Committee adopted its annual report to be presented to the General Assembly before closing its session.
In its concluding observations and recommendations on Paraguay, the Committee welcomed efforts to fight trafficking in persons, including the creation in 2005 of the inter-institutional office to fight trafficking in persons, and the creation in 2008 of a special unit to fight trafficking and sexual exploitation of children. It recommended a re-enforcement of the institutional framework dealing with migration questions and that Paraguay re-enforce its efforts to train all personnel working within the migration domain, in particular members of the police and border police, as well as local officials dealing with migrant workers.
Concerning Tajikistan, the Committee welcomed the adoption of several legislative measures and government decisions and orders and the conclusion by the State party of bilateral and multilateral agreements related to migrant workers. It recommended that Tajikistan take measures to step up its cooperation with law enforcement agencies of the main countries of employment of Tajik migrant workers in order to investigate the causes of deaths of its citizens and to ensure that perpetrators of homicide of Tajik migrants were prosecuted and punished.
The sixteenth session was opened with an address by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, in which she said that human rights in the context of migration remained at the top of her agenda. Violations of migrants were becoming commonplace at international borders, and migration and border-management policies worldwide were forcing many migrants into dangerous modes of travel.
The Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on Paraguay and Tajikistan and other documentation can be found on its webpage.
The seventeenth session of the Committee will be held from 10 to 14 September 2012 at the Palais Wilson in Geneva, when the Committee will consider the initial report of Rwanda and the second periodic report of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In its concluding observations on Paraguay, the Committee noted with satisfaction the result of the 9 October 2011 referendum which gave the right to vote to Paraguayans living abroad. It welcomed Paraguay’s efforts to support Paraguayans who decided to return to live in the country through the framework of the “My country, my home” programme. It also welcomed efforts to fight trafficking in persons, including the creation in 2005 of the inter-institutional office to fight trafficking in persons, and the creation in 2008 of a special unit to fight trafficking and sexual exploitation of children.
The Committee remained concerned about the lack of a law dealing with trafficking in persons and the shortage of human and financial resources to effectively fight against trafficking in human beings and exploitation through prostitution, and to provide protection and services to the victims. The Committee said it was necessary for Paraguay to collaborate with its neighbours in order to find an adequate response to the problem of trafficking in persons. The Committee welcomed the regularization agreements that Paraguay had signed with MERCOSUR member countries and associate countries, in particular the programme for the regularization of migrants which started in 2009 and which allowed the regularization of 12,000 migrants. The Committee also welcomed the recent adoption of the amnesty law (4429/11) and the work carried out by the General Direction for Migration in this field and took note of the institutions that were created to deal with migration questions. However, it recommended a re-enforcement of the institutional framework dealing with migration questions. The Committee also recommended that Paraguay re-enforce its efforts to train all personnel working within the migration domain, in particular members of the police and border police, as well as local officials dealing with migrant workers.
The Committee remained concerned that migrant workers, whatever their judicial status, in practise had only limited recourse and access to justice because of the lack of administrative and judicial appeal processes. It recommended that Paraguay ensure that migrant workers and members of their families, including those in irregular situations, have the same rights as Paraguayans to make complaints and to receive reparations. The Committee was concerned that migrant workers, in particular those in irregular situations, were vulnerable to abuse and other forms of exploitation, including insufficient salaries and excessive working hours, especially those working in the agriculture sector or as domestic workers. It was concerned that migrants in irregular situations who worked as domestic workers were particularly vulnerable to exploitation and sexual violence and had little recourse to justice. It recommended that Paraguay re-enforce inspections and apply fines and other penalties on employers who exploited migrant workers. It urged Paraguay to envision the necessity to protect child migrants who were separated from their families and to elaborate an efficient strategy to resolve the problem of non-accompanied or separated minors.
In its concluding observations on Tajikistan, the Committee welcomed the adoption of several legislative measures and government decisions and orders: including the Joint Order of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Education on education of migrant workers in vocational training initiatives in 2010; the Labour Protection Act, 2009; the Government decision approving the regulations of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Office for Migration to the Russian Federation, 2007; the Government decision on the Programme of International Labour Migration for Tajik citizens (2006-2010); and the Human Trafficking Act, 2004. It also welcomed the institutional and policy measures taken by the State party in the field of migration; the conclusion by the State party of bilateral and multilateral agreements related to migrant workers; and the ratification since the entry into force of the Convention for the State party of the following international treaties.
The Committee noted among principal subjects of concerns the draft Law on Labour Migration of Tajik Nationals Abroad and recommended that the State party consider amending it to ensure that it was fully in line with the Convention. It regretted that the National Strategy on International Labour Migration of Tajik citizens for 2011-2015 did not contain provisions on the reintegration of Tajik migrant returnees and recommended that the State party take measures to develop the strategy further. The Committee recommended that the State party step up its efforts to ensure that the data collection system took into account all aspects of the Convention, and encouraged the State party to collect information and statistical data, disaggregated by sex, age, nationality and fields of occupation. It also recommended that the State party develop and implement systematic and regular training on the content and application of the Convention for public officials dealing with migrant workers, such as judges, prosecutors, police officers, immigration and emigration officials.
The Committee also recommended that the State party provide necessary financial and human resources to the Migration Service in order to ensure that it addressed migration-related matters in a timely and efficient manner; that it ensure that Tajik migrant workers and members of their families were free to leave and enter the State party and were not subjected to any restrictions; that it take the necessary measures, including legislative amendments, to ensure the right of foreign and stateless migrant workers and members of their families to marry Tajik nationals and to acquire real estate property; that it consider increasing the financial and human resources of the regional offices of the Migration Service and organize training for migrant workers and members of their families on employment laws and practices in countries of employment; that it provide assistance to Tajik migrants who were victims of discrimination, violence and prolonged detention in countries of employment; and that it take measures to step up its cooperation with law enforcement agencies of the main countries of employment of Tajik migrant workers in order to investigate the causes of deaths of its citizens and to ensure that perpetrators of homicide of Tajik migrants were prosecuted and punished.
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