The UN Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (CMW) today issued its findings on El Salvador, Morocco, Nigeria and the Philippines after reviewing the four States parties during its latest session.
The findings contain the Committee’s main concerns and recommendations on the implementation of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, as well as positive aspects. Key highlights include:
The Committee reiterated its concern about migrant workers’ limited access to justice due to distrust of national authorities. Concerning cases of migrants who have disappeared, died or been victims of crimes in transit or destination countries, the Committee regretted that victims and their families had not been informed of the investigation results. It recommended that the State party improve access to justice for all migrant workers, such as strengthening the capacities of front-line staff to increase trust with local authorities. It also urged El Salvador to ensure the right to the truth and appropriate reparation for Salvadorian migrants who died or have been victims while working aboard.
While noting the progress made in drafting the Special Law on Human Mobility and creating a National Migration Plan, the Committee, however, expressed concern about the lack of dialogue and exchange with civil society to enable a transparent and participatory process. It recommended that El Salvador ensure a space for dialogue and broad participation with civil society during the development of the above law and national plan.
The Committee was deeply concerned about reports of discriminatory treatment of migrant workers from countries south of the Sahara, including arrest and expulsion to their home country or to the eastern border. The Committee was also concerned about allegations of increased discriminatory statements against these migrants in Morocco’s virtual and physical public space during 2023. It urged Morocco to take immediate measures to combat social and racial stigmatisation of migrant workers, particularly those from African countries south of the Sahara, and to conduct intensive awareness-raising and educational campaigns.
The Committee was gravely disturbed by reports that at least 37 people were killed, and dozens were injured as a result of Moroccan security forces’ actions against migrants at the Nador-Melilla border checkpoint in June 2022. The Committee was also concerned about allegations that other acts of violence, including the destruction of private property and food, were perpetrated against refugees and migrants living in informal settlements in and around Nador in the months preceding the June incidents. It urged Morocco to investigate these acts independently and promptly, to make the report public and to prosecute those responsible, including any State agents involved.
The Committee restated its concern about the broad grounds set out in Nigeria’s Immigration Act, which allow people arriving in the State party, such as persons with mental impairments or unaccompanied children, to be classified as “prohibited immigrants”. “Prohibited immigrants” will be denied entry and must be detained under the Act, with the possibility of forced deportation. While noting the State party’s explanation that it has suspended immigration detention and provided appropriate care and services to unaccompanied children, the Committee called upon Nigeria to reform its legislative framework relating to migration to bring it into line with the provisions of the Migrant Workers Convention, including by decriminalizing irregular migration.
The Committee also expressed its deep concern that, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), about 15 million children were victims of child labour in Nigeria in 2021. The Committee urged Nigeria to effectively implement its national policy on eliminating child labour in compliance with relevant ILO Conventions and the Convention on Migrant Workers, including by allocating sufficient funds for implementation, and with the assistance of the ILO and the UNICEF.
The Committee raised concerns about the high number of overseas Filipino workers separated from their families and the situation of children left behind in the Philippines, particularly their psychosocial development. It regretted the absence of in-depth studies and a comprehensive strategy targeted to address the long-term needs of these children growing up in enduring separation. The Committee urged the State party to safeguard all children’s rights in the context of migration. It also recommended that the Philippines conduct a national reintegration program for returning female migrant workers and their children who have been left behind.
The persistent gender disparities in labour market participation, a wide gender pay gap, and the preponderance of women in low-level and low-paying employment in the Philippines all contribute to women migrating and working abroad. The Committee recommended that the Philippines conduct a study on the migration trends of women workers, and the outcome of labour and employment-related complaints made by women migrant workers.
The above findings, officially known as Concluding Observations, are now available on the session webpage.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).