A new UN report cautions against “dehumanizing” job seekers who are migrants

Date:

A new UN report cautions against "dehumanizing" job seekers

  • news by AUN News correspondent
  • Friday, December 16, 2022
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

  • Volker Türk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, noted that “migrant workers are frequently treated inhumanely” and emphasized that “they are human beings entitled to human rights and complete protection of their human dignity.

  • It draws attention to the fact that migrant workers are frequently compelled to live in cramped, unhealthy housing, cannot buy nourishing food, are refused access to proper healthcare, and must endure extended and sometimes required separation from their families.

  • Nearly a dozen UN-appointed independent human rights experts urged States to quickly step up their efforts to combat the forced disappearance of migrants before Sunday’s International Migrants Day.

  • Coordination is crucial. The UN human rights experts emphasized the need for cooperation among States to stop the yearly disappearance of thousands of migrants.

  • According to estimates from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 35,000 migrants have passed away or vanished since 2014. The percentage of enforced disappearances involving State agencies or individuals acting with a country’s permission, support, or collaboration is unknown.

Volker Türk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, noted that “migrant workers are frequently treated inhumanely” and emphasized that “they are human beings entitled to human rights and full protection of their human dignity.”

Misleading assurances

Millions of people leave their home countries each year as a result of temporary labor migration programs that offer economic gains for the receiving nations as well as benefits for home nations’ development.

The research explains how temporary work programs frequently impose various intolerable human rights constraints.

It draws attention to the fact that migrant workers are frequently compelled to live in cramped, unhealthy housing, cannot buy nourishing food, are refused access to proper healthcare, and must endure extended and sometimes required separation from their families.

The paper also notes that laws in some nations that bar migrants from receiving government assistance put them at a disproportionate risk of contracting COVID-19.

Despite how important it is for them and their families, as well as for the economies of their countries of origin and destination, Mr. Türk emphasized, “they should not be asked to give up their rights in exchange for being able to move for work.”

A case study

The paper uses the example of an unidentified State where getting married to a citizen or permanent resident requires authorization from the government.

Another prohibits renting specific “family zones” to short-term migrants since they cannot bring their families.

No time for prayer

Some seasonal programs require migrant workers to labor on Saturdays and Sundays, preventing them from attending church.

Migrant domestic workers in other States claim they were threatened with termination if they fasted or prayed during work.

Some migrant construction workers claim that the clinics run by their employers supplied them with subpar medical care.

Mr. Türk emphasized that “measures that restrict human rights cannot be justified by claiming that migrants’ immigration status is transitory, nor can States abdicate their responsibility as duty bearers to protect the human rights of all migrant workers and members of their families to employers and other private actors.”

Along migration routes into and out of Asia and the Pacific, states must implement comprehensive, human rights-based labour migration policies as an alternative to limited and occasionally exploitative temporary programs.

Mandatory disappearances

During the frequently challenging treks they make merely to get to their destination; migrants are particularly at risk.

Nearly a dozen UN-appointed independent human rights experts urged States to quickly step up their efforts to combat the forced disappearance of migrants before Sunday’s International Migrants Day.

They stated that “effective and methodical coordination among countries along the route is urgently needed.”

Workers install electrical cables in South Luzon, Philippines.

Electrical cable installation is being done in South Luzon, Philippines.

Coordination is crucial

The UN human rights experts emphasized the need for cooperation among States to stop the yearly disappearance of thousands of migrants.

According to estimates from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 35,000 migrants have passed away or vanished since 2014.

The percentage of enforced disappearances involving State agencies or individuals acting with a country’s permission, support, or collaboration is unknown.

However, information suggests that most disappearances occur during imprisonment or deportation proceedings, as well as because of migrant trafficking or smuggling.

The experts emphasized the need for “interconnected data collection and information systems”. They stated that “mutual assistance and cooperation are key to finding disappeared migrants, investigating their disappearances, accompanying their families and relatives during these processes, as well as protecting and preventing this heinous crime.”

Rigid regulations

They cited policies such as blanket entry refusals, criminalization of migration, mandatory, automatic, or widespread use of immigration detention, and arbitrary expulsions as examples of the rigid border management and migration policies that States have implemented as the cause of numerous disappearances.

The experts explained that these elements “push migrants to pursue more hazardous routes, to entrust smugglers with their life, and to expose themselves to a heightened risk of human rights violations and enforced disappearances.”

Workers from abroad on a Thai fishing boat.

Alarming pattern

To advise States on their legal obligations and provide measures to protect migrants, the Committee on Enforced Disappearances started its first-ever General Comment in the context of migration. To advise States on their legal obligations and provide solutions to protect migrants, the Committee on Enforced Disappearances has started its first-ever General Comment procedure in the context of migration.

The experts urged countries, human rights organizations, and others to work together to stop enforced disappearances.

They stated that women and children, particularly unaccompanied minors, who are both direct and indirect victims of these crimes, require special attention.

The experts

Click here for the names of the experts who signed this statement.

The Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council appoints Special Rapporteurs and independent experts to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country’s situation. The positions are honorary, and the experts are not paid for their work.

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