We, the Asia Pacific NGOs in Kathmandu urge the governments of Nepal, Indonesia and Bangladesh to immediately ratify the United Nations Convention on the Protection of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families as it particularly affords protection for the rights of their people as migrant workers.
The three countries who have vested interests as sending countries must recognize that migrant workers play a critical role in the global economy.
The Convention is a reiteration of the basic rights, which are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is a critical tool for combating racial discrimination against migrant workers.
Migrants are frequently treated as second – class citizens in their countries of destination. Racist, discriminatory state policies of host / receiving countries result in the exploitation of migrant workers – both documented and undocumented. Migrants are discriminated in terms of wages, job security, working conditions, their right to unionise and access to labour and social welfare services. They are also subjected to physical and sexual abuse. They are not given access to the law or treated equally under the law. Work opportunities for the are limited largely to low-status jobs where their right to work, freedom of movements, reproductive rights, right to acquire, change or retain their nationality, right to health and other basic human rights are violated.
These circumstances result in the person and his/her family being more vulnerable to racial, gender, class, caste and religious discrimination and exploitation.
We therefore strongly urge the 3 governments to ratify the Convention and establish a social and legal system, which gives migrant workers the opportunity to lead a social, cultural and financial life.
This resolution was endorsed at the Asia Pacific NGO Meeting for the
World Conference Against Racism
27th – 29th April 2001
Women’s Aid Organisation was represented by Meera Samanther (President) in this meeting.