30 May 2013
Meetings Coverage

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixth Meeting of States Parties

to Convention on Migrant Workers

1st Meeting (AM)

Seven Seats Filled on Committee Monitoring Migrant Rights Convention;

Additional Ratification Brings Number of States Parties to 46

States Parties to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families today elected by secret ballot seven members to the Committee that monitors the treaty’s implementation, to replace those whose four-year terms will expire on 31 December.

The Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, one of the seven United Nations-linked human rights treaty bodies, is composed of 14 independent experts.  It held its first session in March 2004 and has held 18 sessions so far.  Members are elected to four-year terms by States Parties, in accordance with article 72 of the Convention.

The Convention was adopted by General Assembly resolution 45/158 on 18 December 1990 and entered force in July 2003.  It is widely viewed as a comprehensive international instrument for the protection of migrant workers’ rights.  By aiming to protect migrant workers and their families, it emphasizes the connection between migration and human rights and is said to set a moral standard and serve as a guide to the promotion of those rights in each country.

With 45 States Parties voting, the following experts were elected today:

Prasad Kariyawasam ( Sri Lanka) — 41 votes

Md. Sahidul Haque ( Bangladesh) — 39 votes

José Serrano Brillantes ( Philippines) — 38 votes

Ahmadou Tall ( Senegal) — 35 votes

Salome Castellanos ( Honduras) — 32 votes

Pablo Ceriani Cernadas ( Argentina) — 30 votes

Fatoumata Abdourhamane Dicko ( Mali) — 25 votes

Ibrahim Salama, Director of the Human Rights Treaties Division, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), briefed the Committee on recent developments, noting that, since the Committee last met, Indonesia had ratified the Convention, bringing the total number of States Parties to 46.  In addition, Mozambique and Chad had signed the Convention.

Although those developments were welcomed, he said, the limited number of States having ratified or acceded to the Convention remained the most significant challenge facing the Committee.  His Office continued to use occasions such as the International Migrants Day to further promote the ratification of the Convention.

Leonardo Castilho, OHCHR, speaking on behalf of the Committee’s Chair, underscored that migrant workers continued to be vulnerable to slavery, forced labour, torture and other inhumane treatment.  At the same time, they contributed to economic growth and development in both States of origin and States of employment.  Last year, according to the World Bank, migrants sent $401 billion to their families in developing countries, and that figure was expected to rise to over $500 billion by 2015.  Not only were migrant workers filling gaps in labour markets and contributing economically to the States of employment, they were also lifting entire villages out of poverty in their homelands.

He said that he hoped, at the upcoming High-level Dialogue on Migration and Development, discussions addressing migration and development, and the human rights of migrant workers would lead to a human rights-based approach to migration at the national level, as well as encourage more States to consider becoming party to the Convention.

Turning to the Committee’s workload, he noted that, among other things, it had adopted a fixed reporting calendar and a simplified reporting procedure.  However, in order to effectively implement the reporting calendar, the Committee would request an additional week of meeting time in 2014 and 2015 for a total of four weeks per year.

Several delegates expressed concerns about the underutilization of the Conference of States Parties.  The representative of El Salvador stressed that strengthening different conferences of the States Parties was extremely important to his country.  Out of the 2.5 million El Salvadorians living abroad, the large majority worked in countries not party to the Convention.  Echoing that sentiment, Mexico’s delegate pointed out that one of the most pressing challenges facing the Committee was the small number of States that had ratified and signed the Convention.

Also speaking today were the representatives of Argentina, Colombia and Guatemala.

At the outset of the session, Ken Kanda ( Ghana) was elected to serve as Chair of the meeting, with María José del Águila Castillo ( Guatemala) and Ervin Nina ( Albania) as its Vice-Chairs.

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For information media • not an official record