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Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers Opens Thirty-Seventh Session

Meeting Summaries

The Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families today opened its thirty-seventh session, during which it will consider reports from Kyrgyzstan, Sao Tome and Principe and Uruguay.

Andreas Ori, Chief, Groups in Focus Section, Human Rights Treaties Branch, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Representative of the Secretary-General, opened the session, and thanked the Governments of Côte d'Ivoire, Malawi, Togo and Chad for being the latest States to ratify the Convention.  The Committee had successfully held two regional consultations on its general comment no. 6 on the convergence of the Convention and the Global Compact for Migration, in Senegal and online.  This document would be discussed in the present session, with the aim to adopt it if possible.  During the thirty-seventh session, the Committee would consider the second periodic reports of Uruguay and Kyrgyzstan and the initial report of Sao Tome and Principe.  The Committee would also adopt a list of issues in relation to the initial report of Benin under the traditional procedure, as well as the lists of issues prior to reporting under the simplified reporting procedure for the initial report of the Gambia, and for the fourth periodic report of Mexico.  It would then assess the follow-up report to the concluding observations concerning Chile, with respect to the implementation of the Convention.

As the international community celebrated the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 2023, this was a great opportunity to renew the ground-breaking commitment made by States when they adopted the milestone Declaration in 1948.  The Declaration had inspired the many standards now embodied in the core human rights treaties and their optional protocols. Ratifying these instruments was an essential means to translating the human rights enshrined in the Declaration into reality on the ground, while conveying a message of commitment to the international community.  High Commissioner Volker Turk had organised the Human Rights 75 High Level Event on 11 and 12 December, with the participation of the Chairperson of every treaty body in addition to a committee member.  This was an opportunity to increase the visibility of the ratification campaign of the Committee.  The Treaty Body Capacity Building Programme had identified 11 potential opportunities for States to ratify the Migrant Workers Convention.  These were Burundi, Ethiopia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Panama, New Zealand, Palau, Moldova and Uzbekistan.

In the wake of the celebration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it was clear that the living conditions of migrants in many parts of the world were far from the objectives pursued by this historic commitment.  More than 40,000 women, men and children between 2014 and 2012 had been declared dead or missing, and countless other disappearances had never been reported and the bodies had never been found.  Yet, the human rights dimensions of migration remained largely neglected, usually approached from the perspective of economic development or security and border control.  Politicians used migrants as scapegoats and xenophobia had increased in many societies, which had a negative impact on the lives of migrants, their families and communities.  Nowadays, many people on the move were outside the bounds of legal protection and needed specific interventions for the promotion and protection of their human rights. 

Mr. Ori said he was aware of the Committee's concern about the impact of environmental degradation and climate change on the human rights situation of populations on the move, in particular migrants, refugees, internally displaced persons, asylum seekers and stateless persons, among others.  The United Nations human rights mechanisms were now paying increasing attention to climate change and environmental issues.  However, with a few notable exceptions, other reports by United Nations human rights mechanisms often lacked detailed and specific analysis of the causes and consequences of the disparate impacts of climate change and other environmental harms on racial and ethnic minorities.  Similarly, these issues were largely absent from national reports, which States submitted to human rights mechanisms.  The enjoyment of the rights of migrant workers was increasingly affected by environmental degradation and climate change.  In this context, the rights enshrined in the Convention were the best protection to prevent vulnerabilities and protect migrants from abuse and human trafficking.  Mr. Ori concluded by appealing to all States that had not yet ratified the Convention to do so, and wished the Committee success in their work.

Edgar Corzo Sosa, Committee Chairperson, thanked Mr. Ori for his opening address and for his support to the Committee.  It was important for the Committee to try to approve the general comment no. 6, during the session, as well as the document regarding the working methods of the Committee.  Mr. Corzo Sosa called on non-governmental organizations to send through information on countries to be reviewed by the Committee, as this was vital to the country reviews.

The Committee then adopted its agenda and programme of work for its thirty-seventh session.

The webcast of Committee meetings can be found here.  All meeting summaries can be found here.  Documents and reports related to the Committee’s thirty-seventh session can be found here.

The Committee will next meet in public at 3 p.m. this afternoon to hold an informal meeting with civil society organizations.


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