[Research] Access to Justice for Migrant Domestic Workers in Lebanon

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[Research] Access to Justice for Migrant Domestic Workers in Lebanon

The ILO and Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center have conducted an ambitious research to better understand the barriers to access to justice faced by migrant domestic workers in Lebanon.

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[Report] Migrant Workers’ Access to Justice at Home: Nepal

migrant-workers-access-justice-home-nepal-featured-20140610Open Society Foundations launched a study in Kathmandu with the Centre for Labour and Mobility entitled Migrant Workers’ Access to Justice at Home: Nepal. This is the second in a series of studies OSF commissioned on accountability in recruitment and access to legal remedies for migrant workers in their home countries.

Read more here

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Monitoring ratifications of international treaties

Migrant Forum in Asia has compiled international labor rights and human rights instruments signed, acceded and ratified by Member States in Asia. MFA has been for years campaigning and monitoring the ratifications of rights instruments that protect and promote the rights of all, including migrant workers and members of their families.

This data is regularly updated and serves as educational and advocacy materials.

UN Core Conventions

ILO Fundamental Conventions

ILO Technical Conventions

Relevant Documents

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[Study] Migrant Workers’ Access to Justice at Home: Indonesia

Migrant Workers’ Access to Justice at Home: Indonesia is the first comprehensive study of migrant workers’ access to justice in their country of origin. A collaborative effort by the Open Society International Migration Initiative, the Tifa Foundation, and the Migrant Worker Access to Justice Project, the report analyzes how migrant workers may access justice in Indonesia, and identifies the systemic barriers that prevent them from receiving redress for harms they suffer before, during, and after their work abroad.

The report also provides recommendations for improving access to justice and private sector accountability in 11 key areas, addressed to government, parliament, civil society, donors, and others.

Download the full pdf of the study here (October 2013)

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2nd Diplomacy Training Program in the Middle East

al arab newspaperThe Diplomacy Training Program (DTP) and the Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) held its 2nd regional capacity building program on human rights advocacy and migrant workers in the Middle East.  The training program took place 10-14 November 2013 in Doha, Qatar and was hosted by the National Human Rights Committee, Qatar. DTP is an independent NGO seeking to advance human rights and empower civil society through quality education and training and the building of skills and capacity in NGOS.  DTP and MFA have been working in partnership together for 10 years to build the capacity of advocates to protect and promote the rights of migrant workers.

The training program was intended to build knowledge and skills of participants through review of internationally agreed standards and mechanisms related to migrant workers, experience sharing of advocacy work, and fostering support networks and collaboration between countries of origin and destination.

Lawyers who are partners of MFA were present at the 2nd capacity building program in Doha, Qatar.

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Case review of human rights violations in Qatar

Pen-and-NotebookThe Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants conducted an 8-day country visit (Nov. 3-10, 2013) to the state of Qatar upon the government’s invitation.  As part of the Special Rapporteur’s mandate, Mr. François Crépeau was invited to examine the state of protection for migrant workers in Qatar.  Upon the end of the country visit, the Special Rapporteur submits a report to the United Nations Human Rights Council to highlight the situation of migrants, as well as provide conclusions and recommendations for the Qatari government.  To assist in the preparation of the Special Rapporteur’s country visit, Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) prepared a qualitative analysis, including a case review on human rights violations of migrant workers in Qatar.

Case submissions by the MFA network were used in the analysis, with particular attention to the two largest groups of expat workers, Indians and Nepalis.  The analysis provided insight on the most common themes of human rights violations; including non-payment of wages, sponsor’s restrictive control of migrant’s mobility, detention of migrants, extremely hazardous working conditions resulting in serious injury or death, and unfair compensation.  Additionally, recommendations for legal redress of human rights violations were presented and comprised of the ratification and/or implementation of national laws, as well as key UN and ILO international instruments.

For recent press releases and statements related to the Special Rapporteur’s country visit to Qatar, click here.

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[Policy Paper] Reforming the “Sponsorship System” for Migrant Domestic Workers: Towards an Alternative Governance Scheme in Lebanon

Written by Dr. Kathleen Hamill (member of Lawyers Beyond Borders) for KAFA (enough) Violence & Exploitation, this policy paper analyses the “sponsorship system” (kafala) in place in Lebanon, as this system has been identified as a root cause for the vulnerability of domestic workers to all manner of exploitation, abuse, and mistreatment.

The study builds on previous research and policy proposals forwarded by KAFA and other groups, and addresses gaps in existing research. Its aim is to provide policy-makers, human rights advocates, and relevant stakeholders with a framework for a rights-based approach to recruitment and employment of migrant domestic workers, towards the development of an alternative policy.

Download the full paper prepared by Dr. Kathleen Hamill for KAFA, Lebanon (January 2012)

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[Study] Something is Better than Nothing: Enhancing the protection of Indian migrant workers through Bilateral Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding

The study deals primarily with MOUs entered into by the Government of India, showing that India’s recent record has been impressive in negotiating many MOUs, and social security agreements and one labor mobility partnership. Yet, it is difficult to find much evidence that the MOUs  and agreements on labor migration have  contributed to improved protection of Indian workers in the major destinations –  the Gulf countries  and Malaysia.

However, this should not imply that India is better off without MOUs. The existence of MOUs has a political value, and they have provided a firmer foundation for the country to build upon in this regard. In this sense, an agreement or MOU is better than a situation of no agreement or MOU. The MOUs provide a broad framework but they need to be backed up by concrete initiatives in the areas of model contracts, workplace monitoring, dispute resolution mechanisms, mechanisms for access to justice, monitoring practices of recruitment agencies, and adequate labor inspection systems. While these may be harder to negotiate, they should nevertheless receive high priority if MOUs are to have operational value in protecting Indian migrant workers abroad.

Download the full article prepared for MFA by Dr. Piyasiri Wickramasekara (February 2012)

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1st Lawyers Beyond Borders Program: Building Partnerships for Justice for Migrant Workers

IMG_9113From 23-25 November 2011, Migrant Forum in Asia and local organizing partner, Human Rights and Development Foundation in partnership with Open Society Foundations (OSF), hosted Lawyers Beyond Borders: Building Partnerships for Justice for Migrant Workers in Bangkok, Thailand. The conference was the first of its kind, bringing together 31 lawyers from the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia who specialize in cases involving migrant workers. In addition to the lawyers were civil society activists in the area of migrants’ rights and observers from OSF.

This convening of lawyers was the result of four years of thinking and strategizing by MFA and its various partners, including Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN Migrant Workers Committee, and individual lawyers throughout Asia. It was designed in response to the recognized need for collaboration among lawyers who work on the cases of migrant workers in order to move towards impact litigation and policy advocacy in their work.  This program was also looked at as a means of beginning to forge important connections between lawyers and grassroots organizations working with migrant workers on the ground, as well as migrant communities in both countries of origin and destination.

An action plan was drawn up collaboratively on the final day of the workshop. The plan includes a series of projects that will be undertaken collectively, including:

  • drawing up plans for paralegal training sessions that will better connect civil society and foreign missions to the work of lawyers, and to help them to assist migrant worker communities with their legal needs;
  • compiling resources that will be of use to lawyers, migrant worker advocates, and migrant communities; supporting advocacy campaigns (e.g. the ratification of ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers);
  • supporting one another through effective networking and information sharing