Saturday, December 17, 2005

International Migrants Day

ICFTU OnLine (Brussels 16 December 2005): On the eve of International Migrants' Day on December 18, the ICFTU [International ConfederationofFreeTrade Unions] is drawing attention to the vulnerability of the world's 115 million migrant workers and their families and the exploitation to which they are often subjected.

Following up on the Special Action Plan on migrant workers adopted last year at its 18th Congress, the ICFTU is calling on the international community to take on the challenge of establishing an international policy framework capable of ensuring respect for migrant workers' fundamental rights and offering them decent work opportunities.

"The hostile social and political environment confronting many migrant workers, and the need for appropriate regulation of migration make it imperative for trade unions to play a more active and visible role in promoting solidarity, and in protecting the rights of migrant workers regardless of their legal status in the host country. Particular attention needs to be given to the vulnerable situation of women migrants," said ICFTU General Secretary Guy Ryder.

This same message was at the centre of an international workshop on "Defending and Promoting the Rights of Migrant Workers in the Gulf States" held in Manama (Bahrain) from 26 to 29 November 2005. The Workshop, the first of its kind in this region where over 60% of the workers are migrants,

A 2002 statement from the ICFTU adds some additional detail

The trade unions, which view migrant workers as fully-fledged workers with the same rights as others, are fighting at both national and international levels to promote and ensure the proper application of the legal instruments recognising these rights. The ICFTU, which has been campaigning for several years with human and migrants’ rights associations to obtain the ratification of the international conventions providing for equal treatment for migrant workers in terms of jobs, wages, social security and union rights (ILO Conventions 97 and 143), welcomed the signature by East Timor last week of the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, that had originally been adopted by the United Nations in 1990. Thanks to that 20th signature this legal instrument will finally come into force, thereby providing better prospects for migrant workers around the world.

Information, training, legal advice and recruitment are the main focus of the campaign by the ICFTU and its affiliates to combat the worldwide discrimination against migrant workers.

The Global Policy Forum has links to a nice collection of articles on labour rights and the international labour movement.

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