Civil Society Organizations Brief the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers on the Situation of Migrant Workers in Uruguay, Mexico and Chile
The Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families this afternoon heard from representatives of non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions about the situation of migrant workers in Uruguay, Mexico and Chile.
The Committee will review the second periodic report of Uruguay during this session. The Committee will also adopt the list of issues prior to reporting under the simplified reporting procedure for the fourth periodic report of Mexico, which will be reviewed in a future session, and will assess the follow-up report to the concluding observations concerning Chile with respect to the implementation of the Convention.
Regarding Uruguay, a speaker raised the issues of regressive changes to legislation; difficulties obtaining visas; and trafficking, among other issues.
Non-governmental organizations speaking on Chile raised issues including the rise of clandestine entries; consular visas; and the situation of Haitian and Venezuelan migrants.
On Mexico, speakers raised, among other issues, the lack of data around migration; migrant and refugee camps; and migratory detention.
The Institución Nacional de Derechos Humanos y Defensoría del Pueblo de Uruguay spoke on Uruguay.
The following civil society organizations spoke on behalf of Mexico: Grupo de Trabajo sobre Política Migratoria, Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Matías de Córdova A.C, Coordinación Binacional de Organizaciones de ex Braceros , Coalición Internacional contra la Detención, Instituto para las Mujeres en la Migración, KIND “Kids in Need of Defense”, and Consejo Ciudadano del Instituto Nacional de Migración.
Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes and Amnesty International spoke on Chile.
The Committee will next meet at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 28 November to start its review of the second periodic report of Uruguay (CMW/C/URY/2).
Statements by National Human Rights Institutions and Non-Governmental Organizations
Concerning Uruguay, the speaker said despite the fact that Uruguayan legislation on migrants was advanced, regressive changes were expected. One of these included a draft law of deportation of foreigners committing serious crimes. It was important to improve the current legislation on pensions. The delay in the publication of the national action plan for migrants and refugees was a concern, as was the lack of an adequate budget for the Commission on Refugees. There was a need to deepen protections for asylum seekers and migrants in the context of emergencies, and to increase training and awareness raising for those at border posts. The issue of forced expulsions required urgent measures and permanent solutions. There were still difficulties when it came to obtaining visas, particularly in the cases of Cuban refugees. Numerous civil society organizations had warned that some groups, particularly those from African States, faced issues when it came to obtaining visas, which impacted their integration into society. It was necessary to improve the provisions for detecting trafficking, and accessible lodging solutions needed to be established for victims.
On Chile, speakers said the current situation of migrants and refugees in the country was of great concern. There had been a worsening of protection for these individuals since the Committee issued its last recommendations to Chile. Access was restricted by numerous factors since February 2023, where armed forces had been situated at the border at the north, making it difficult to detect those who had come from clandestine spots. Venezuelans, Colombians, and Haitians were the most common entrants, and 93 per cent of those who entered Chile had done so through across clandestine spots. Consular visas, which had been established as a requirement for Venezuelans and other countries in the region, had led to an increase in clandestine entrants. In 2018, only 101 people came through clandestine border points from Venezuela, but this number had increased significantly once consular visas were required. A law promulgated in 2022 led to the impossibility of changing migratory status to temporary status unless in the case of family reunification. This was highly concerning for Haitians and Venezuelans who feared returning to their countries of origin. These migrants were often discriminated against in Chile. It was recommended that Chile refrain from non-refoulment and turning people away at the border. The country should also suspend the deportation of Venezuelans and Haitians.
Those speaking on Mexico said progress had been made in the normative framework, however, there were political, budgetary and personnel limitations to its implementation. The amendment of laws and protocols did not mean implementation in practice. There was a lack of data on migration, which made it difficult to assess the real situation. The current asylum policy in Mexico had a prosecutorial focus on irregular migration. Subsequently, migrants and asylum seekers used unsafe migration methods and exposed themselves to trafficking, smuggling and sexual abuse.
There had been no efforts to prohibit discrimination and xenophobia. Mexico had seen an increase in the number of migrants and asylum seekers since 2018. The current government had not come up with alternative solutions for regularised migrations for those who had been forced to migrate. In 2022 and 2023, Mexico stepped up strategies targeting migrants and refugees, by establishing camps on the southern border of Mexico. The conditions of the camps meant those living there could not enjoy their right to health or education, and were at constant risk of deportation and detention. Migration detention in Mexico had led to substantial violations of human rights, including torture, sexual abuse and sometimes death. Migratory detention conditions in Mexico, which included a lack of food, overcrowding and violence, had been openly denounced by civil society and the Committee, however, the situation had not improved. Migratory detention should be a last resort only.
The situation of female migrants was also a concern; 25 per cent of female migrants in Mexico had experienced sexual violence, compared to five per cent of men. There was no protection for the labour rights of migrant women, particularly those in the domestic sector. It was essential that a rights-based approach was taken into account when considering migrant children and adolescents in Mexico. A speaker said since 1998, the former Braxeros were claiming historical debt and survivors and their families continued to fight. The Committee was urged to ask Mexico when the Government would pay this historic debt.
Produced by the United Nations Information Service in Geneva for use of the media;
not an official record. English and French versions of our releases are different as they are the product of two separate coverage teams that work independently.