Migrants Rights International

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Press Release

Migrants Rights Groups Applaud Governments’ Focus on Protecting Migrants but Urge Greater Consultation with Migrants

September 15, 2006

Migrants rights groups in New York today for the opening session of the High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development at the United Nations headquarters congratulated governments on recognising the importance of protecting the human rights of all migrants in the development of migration policy.

The two-day dialogue, the first inter-governmental forum devoted exclusively to discussing migration and development, saw representatives of regional organizations and Member-States in the developed and developing worlds call for greater protections of migrant workers and stronger efforts to combat the scourges of human trafficking and human smuggling. As Mr Ali Hassani, the President of the UN Economic and Social Council reminded delegates: “Migration can only be beneficial if the rights of migrants are respected.”

The HLD is expected to be only the first step in an ongoing international dialogue on migration. The Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, has recommended the creation of a permanent global forum that is consultative and non-binding for sharing new research and successful practices. The proposal for a permanent forum was supported by a number of States. Governments also stressed the importance of international cooperation on migration and for involving non-governmental organizations and the private sector in any future global forum on migration.

Noting the sensitivity of migration in many countries and policies that too often are not based on reliable data, Mr Annan called on all Member-States to oversee the future Forum: “The HLD will succeed to the extent that it ushers in a new era of migration policy…it is now time to turn to the evidence and use it to create a common understanding for how migration can be of benefit to all.”

Mr. William Gois of Migrant Forum in Asia, a regional migrant rights group based in the Philippines, commented: “We are pleased to hear the commitment of member States to protect the rights of migrants and combating exploitative labour practices. We hope this will be translated into action, for example, by easing discriminatory border protections and replacing of exploitative temporary worker programmes with programmes that respect migrant’s rights to economic, social and cultural rights. It is imperative that any follow-on forum includes the voices of migrants and their advocates”. Mr. Gois reminded all Member-States of the United the need for more states to sign and ratify the 1990 Convention on the Rights of Migrants and their Families.

The HLD will continue with roundtable discussions and a closing plenary session on 15 September.

# # #
The Civil Society Parallel Events on Migration, Development and Human Rights are being held at the Queens College Workers Education Extension Center, 25 W 43rd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues in New York City until September 15, 2006.

For interviews and more information, please contact:
Eleanor, Global Alliance against Traffic in Women
191/41 Sivalai Condominium
Soi 33, Itsaraphap Rd
Bangkok, Thailand 1060

Joey Dimaandal
Tel: +639175267171, +639278775810
Address: West Side YMCA, 5 West 63rd Street between Broadway and Central Park West, New York City.

Arnoldo Garcia (For Spanish language media organizations)
Tel +1 510 928 0685

Press Release

Former UN Human Rights head Mary Robinson to governments on migration and development: Do not forget human rights

(New York City) “Migrants are the human face of globalization. Now is the time for us to act. We have to make globalization fair and ethical.”

That was the call Mary Robinson made at the rally yesterday of various migrant rights organizations and other human rights advocates in a plaza across the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York City where permanent mission representatives and ministerial delegates from around the world gathered for the UN High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Development. The former President of Ireland and High Commissioner of the UN Human Rights Commission said that there is a need to link migration to development without sacrificing human rights.

“Our job is to emphasize the role of governments in migration and to link it to development. There should be shared responsibility…co-development based on human rights principles,” said Robinson. “Before, migration is associated with criminality, barbed wires and taking one’s job. Also, human rights groups in the past did include migration in their advocacies. However, migration is a very important human rights issue. We must now forge a different movement where migrants’ issues are top priority, where people have dignity and rights are respected.”

According to the rally organizers, Migrants Rights International (MRI), Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) and the US-based National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR), the protest action sought to remind the government representatives inside the UN to place human rights at the top of the agenda of the two-day dialogue. Sajida Ally of MRI said she hoped for a more systematic analysis of how migration impacts on labor and human rights of migrants: We caution the governments’ overemphasis on labor market economics of migration that treat migrant workers as commodities.”

Ellen Sana of the Philippine-based Center for Migrant Advocacy and member of MFA said that now is the time for governments to implement the International Convention for the Protection of Migrant Workers and their Families. “I say enough to the discussions that are confined within the four walls of the UN. Policies, attitudes and practices that are inimical to the interests of migrants should be changed. Migrants have human rights and we should respect that.”

The rally was attended by more than a hundred people representing migrants rights organization in Asia, North America, Latin America and the Middle East.

# # #

The Civil Society Parallel Events on Migration, Development and Human Rights are being held at the Queens College Workers Education Extension Center, 25 W 43rd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues in New York City until September 15, 2006.

For interviews and more information, please contact:
Joey Dimaandal
Tel: +639175267171, +639278775810
Email: j-mod@rocketmail.com
Address: West Side YMCA, 5 West 63rd Street between Broadway and Central Park West, New York City.

Arnoldo Garcia (For Spanish language media organizations)
Tel +1 510 928 0685
Email: agarcia@nnirr.org

Friday, September 15, 2006

Press Release

"We have been excluded from the High Level Dialogue": Special Rapporteur on Human Rights of Migrants

Addressing the more than 50 migrant rights groups gathered in the Community Dialogue on Migration, Development and Human Rights in New York today, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights of Migrants stated: "We have been excluded" from the high level discussions on migration policy. "The physical distance we are from the United Nations building," stated Mr Jorge Bustamente, "is symbolic of our distance from the migration policy discussions being held there."

The Community Dialogue is running in parallel to the UN High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development being held in the United Nations Headquarters in New York and attended by ministerial delegates from around the world. The two-day event, held to highlight the economic advantages to both origin and destination countries of migration, has provided only extremely limited opportunity for those affected by the policies, the migrants themselves, to present their views and aspirations.

Mr Bustamente, the also highlighted the need to raise awareness of migrant concerns. He noted: "Migration is a rational and reasonable behaviour; people move to where opportunities are and where they can find a better life. It is also an inherently international issue. Thus, any policy that relies on unilateral means to curb natural migration, will never be successful."

Migrant Rights International (MRI) organised the parallel Community Dialogue to bring the voices of migrants into the debate. Opening the event, Cathi Tactaquin from MRI explained: "In this conversation on migration and development, we want human rights, the rights of migrants and their families to be part of any ongoing discussion and activity."

Three percent of the world's population now live in a country not their country of birth, the number rising to 9.5% of the population in developed countries. Migrant workers, including irregular migrants, allow industrialised countries to maintain blue collar sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing, and also aid the development of home countries through their remittances, which now total more than all of the world's aid. Yet, say migrants rights groups, the rights of migrant workers are routinely violated. Migrant workers are regularly paid less than local workers, have little access to health and education services and have no avenue for redress in a labour dispute.

Mr Bustamente ended his address by stating: "Migrants are a large and powerful electorate worldwide. We need to tap into this power and encourage our colleagues to organise and demand a place at the policy-making table." Migrants and their advocates will take up this call on 14 September at a rally to be held in the United Nations Plaza. As Bandana Pattanaik from the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women stated: "The vulnerability of migrants marginalised by unjust government policies must be recognised by those attending the HLD. Migrants rights are human rights and this must be a part of any further dialogue process."

The Paralell Event to the UNHLD: Global Civil Society Dialogue on Migration, Development and Human Rights is being held at the Queens College Workers Education Extension Center, 25 W 43 rd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues in New York City until September 15, 2006.

Migration from the Perspective of Human Rights

Migration from the Perspective of Human Rights

Migrants Rights International (MRI) have the pleasure to invite you to a side event "Migration from the Perspective of Human Rights", organized by Migrants Rights International and supported by the Permanent Mission of Argentina in the United Nations. This is a side event to the UN High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development, and the details are below:

Date: 14th September, 2006

Time: 13.15 – 14.30

Place: Room 9, United Nations Headquarters, New York

Speakers: Federico Villegas Belterán
Cathi Tactaquin, Migrants Rights International
Pablo Ceriani, Migrants Rights International/CELS/CAREF

Dr. Jorge Bustamante, the UN Special Rapportueur for the Human Rights of Migrants, and speakers from other permanent missions and international NGOs have also been invited to the event.

For further information, please contact Cathi Tactaquin at +1 510 459 4457 or Sajida Ally at +1 408 966 21 35.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Global Community Dialogue on Migration, Development and Human Rights

Parallel Event to the UN High Level Dialogue
On Migration and Development

Global Community Dialogue
On Migration, Development & Human Rights

13-15th September, 2006

Queens College Worker Education Center
New York, NY

Organized by Migrants Rights International (MRI)
National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights (NNIRR), Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA)
MRI International UNHLD Work Group[1]& New York UNHLD Work Group[2]


The UN’s High-Level Dialogue (HLD) on Migration & Development on 14-15 September 2006 is intended to examine “the multi-dimensional aspects of international migration and development” in order to “maximize its development benefits and minimize its negative impacts.”

Due to the limited number of civil society and non-governmental organization (NGO) representatives to the HLD (only 8 civil society and NGO representatives from around the world are invited), the voices and perspectives of the communities who will be most impacted by the policies and outcomes of this HLD, might not be adequately and comprehensively represented. (For more information on the HLD, go to http://www.unmigration.org/ or http://migrantsrightsinternational.blogspot.com/)

As a response, MRI, MFA and NNIRR alongside our respective members and partners in New York and from around the world are organizing a parallel forum – a “Community Dialogue on Migration, Development and Human Rights” – to provide an alternate space to share perspectives on the current situation, challenges and proposed solutions around migration and of migrants’ rights from communities around the world.

The organizers express their appreciation to the Ford Foundation
and NOVIB (Oxfam Netherlands) for their generous support of this effort.

Expected Outcome
1. A collective understanding and vision on migration, development and human rights that reflects the context of migration from the different global regions.
2. Greater understanding on the UNHLD, its intended goals and its policy implications for global migration, development and human rights.
3. Initial observations on the commonalities and differences between the advocacy responses of migrants and their support organizations in Latin America, Asia, Europe, Africa and North America that are working to achieve international recognition of migrants’ human rights.
4. A press statement and critical civil society position on the UNHLD.

Organization & Core Themes

The organizers have deliberately chosen not to structure discussions and workshops based on regional divisions as we felt it was important to promote dialogue on common themes of migration that cut across regional lines. In addition, all workshops will aim to highlight not only issues and analyses, but responses and strategies that are being undertaken to overcome these issues in the various regions. Speakers and participants are encouraged to discuss examples of responses being undertaken in your respective countries or sub-regions, e.g. organizing & unionizing migrants, policy advocacy, service provision, legal access, social mobilization, public awareness raising, documentation and research, and networking at the national, regional & international levels.

The majority of the Forum will comprise of “breakout workshops” or workshops taking place simultaneously. The first set of breakout workshops will discuss on themes related to the root causes and key consequences of migration: trade and global economic systems; war and conflict; development and remittances; and undocumented migration. The second set of workshops will discuss themes related to the promotion and violation of international standards on migrants’ human rights (economic, social, cultural and political rights) such as: national immigration regimes; borders and national security; and the abuse of migrants with impunity. And the final set of breakout workshops will focus on the particular needs of specific groups of migrants: trafficked persons; the feminization of migration and domestic workers; and lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and trans-sexual migrants.

Most workshops had been initially proposed to the Program Committee by organizations and or networks. Please note that the final workshops have been based on the speakers, content and discussion topics initially proposed by workshop proponents. However, in order to promote broader representation from across the regions and more focused discussion based on common themes, we have incorporated some modifications. Workshop facilitators will be encouraged to refer back to the core objectives and the expected outcome of the Community Dialogue.

Workshops will generally follow a dialogue format, whereby a facilitator will begin by putting forward key questions to panel discussants. The Program Committee will be open to working together with facilitators to help identify questions. The discussants will take turns to respond to the questions put forth in the form of a dialogue between the panel discussants and the facilitator. This will be followed by an open forum where participants in the workshop will be asked to put forward their own questions, make observations, or build on the interventions of the discussants within their own comments. However, some workshops may follow the process of presentations called upon by a facilitator, followed by an open forum for discussion and questions.

For more information on the global community dialogue on migration, development and human rights, please contact:
sajida ally—Tel: +1 408 966 2135 / Email: migrantsrightsinternational@gmail.com; and
colin rajah—Tel: +1 415 203 8763 / Email: crajah@nnirr.org

For Media Information & Interviews, please contact:
Joey Dimaandal, +63 917 526 7171, +63 927 877 5810 / Email: j-mod@rocketmail.com; and
Arnoldo Garcia (Spanish language media), +1 510 928 0685 / Email: agargia@nnirr.org

Please See Also:

Wednesday, September 13

Venue: Queens College Worker Education Extension Center, 25 W 43rd St. between 5th & 6th Ave.

9.00-9.30 am Registration


Welcome & Introductions

Welcome from MRI
Catherine Tactaquin, Executive Council, Migrants Rights International (MRI) and
Director, National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights (NNIRR)
Welcome from NNIRR—local hosts
Sandra Sebastian & Colin Rajah, NNIRR
Group introductions
Overview of the Forum
Sajida Ally, MRI Program Consultant


Framework Setting & Regional Perspectives on Migration, Development & Human Rights:
Overview to the UN High Level Dialogue on Migration & Development

Moderator: William Gois, Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) & MRI International UNHLD Work Group

Individuals from the regions will provide a three-minute overview
· Natividad Obeso, MIREDES, Latin America
· North America
· Europe
· Asia
· Pacific Oceania
· West Asia

Special Guest:Jorge Bustamante, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrant Workers

12:30 – 2:00 pm LUNCH

2:00 – 5:00 pm Breakout Workshops 1:
Root Causes & Key Consequences of Migration

Global Economic Systems: Empty Promises for Developing Countries and Forced Migration

This workshop will convey personal stories and experiences with the forces of the global economy and its role in migration, placing these personal experiences within a larger context. It will demonstrate the power dynamics behind trade negotiations and how wealthy countries are benefiting from a rigged system.

It will focus on: the role of the global economy in forcing migration; how these forces have manifested on a personal level; how wealthy countries have responded to Global South resistance and changed the nature of

trade agreements; and why developing country governments remain at the trade negotiating tables when the agenda continues to not serve their needs?

Facilitator: Jessica Walker Beaumont, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)

Panel Discussants:
Carolyn H. de Leon Hermogenes, CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities, New York
Manuel Hidalgo, MIREDES, Chile
Allison Lee, Hope Workers Centre, Taiwan/Migrant Forum Asia
Rex Varona, Asian Migrant Centre (AMC), Hong Kong/Migrant Forum Asia

Organized by: US Trade Migration Work Group

War and Armed Conflict and its Impact on Local and Migrant Populations

In today’s globalized economies, migrants leave their countries due to war, armed or ethnic conflict, or to simply search for better opportunities abroad as a survival strategy to provide for their families. In the process of doing so, many leave difficult situations only to find themselves in dangerous conditions where their lives are at stake. The recent war in Lebanon highlighted the extremely volatile situation, where migrant workers who were abandoned by their employers and home and host governments alike, found themselves trapped in a situation with little or no access to food or shelter.

Migrants fleeing and or caught in situations of war and conflict therefore find themselves not only ending up in a situation few of them understand, but with their dreams for a better life shattered. Ironically, some have no option but to remain exposed to tenuous situations at the cost of their lives, and largely unnoticed by those who benefit from the sweat of their labor and the flow of their remittances.

The workshop aims to highlight the precarious links between migration and situations of war and conflict that migrants either flee from or find themselves in. It will reflect on the recent war in Lebanon, the ongoing conflict and occupation of Palestine, and conflicts in Latin America and Africa. Discussants will put forward some of the challenges facing the international community, and host and home governments to address the situation that migrants find themselves in and how any attempt towards stabilization and reconstruction must similarly take into account the rebuilding of the migrants’ lives.

Facilitator: Jose Maria Dimaanda -- MFA

Panel Discussants:
Manori Withanara, Action Network for Migrant Workers (ACTFORM)/Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA), Sri Lanka
Seta Margossian, Lebanon
Jackie Pollack -- Migrant Action Programme (MAP)/Mekong Migration Network (MMN)/Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women (GAATW), Thailand/Burma
Ricardo Cristo, MIREDES, Colombia

Organized by: MFA & MRI

Shared Responsibilities and Co-Development Between Sending and Destination Countries: Creating Strategies for Compensation and Remittances

Globalization and great trade and economic inequalities between countries and regions have contributed to the sharp rise in labor migration. Migrant worker households have increased purchasing power and often are able to access better education and health services, while national and local economies have benefited from foreign exchange, employment generation and what is often the largest source of financial inflow – remittances. Moreover, in the last year the economic benefits to destination countries, particularly because of the labor and fiscal implications of demographic shifts, have been increasingly recognized by governments and by institutions like the UN and The World Bank. However, there is too little recognition of what is being sacrificed by sending countries, and the costs to households and societies as a whole.

What is often overlooked is the social cost of migration: the social and psychological strain placed on families and societies, including children growing up without their parents. Other important issues include the depletion of both “skilled” and “unskilled” workers from developing countries and impacts on national health services, for example. Is there an ethical obligation then on the part of receiving countries to compensate for the pool of migrant labour it hires to maintain its own social and economic stability while effectively causing the collapse of vital social services and facilities in sending countries?

The workshop will explore the concept of shared responsibilities and co-development between sending and receiving countries and generate ideas about compensation from destination countries for the loss of human resources and social services and facilities for the development of sending countries. It will also serve as an arena for civil society organizations to discuss the issues and possible proposals for compensation mechanisms, the role of im/migrant organizing in affecting the terms of the development equation, as well as helping to create an environment for the forging of alliances on this issue.

Panel Discussants:
Rosario Canete, Unlad Kabayan (Philippines)/Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA)
Francis Calpotura, Transnational Institute for Grassroots Research and Action (TIGRA)
Heather Grady, Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative

Organized by: TIGRA, EGI and MFA

The Global Economy and Strategies for Advancing the Rights
of Undocumented Migrant Workers

This workshop will present strategies for advancing the rights of undocumented migrant workers, who labor at the most difficult, dirty and dangerous jobs in the economies of receiving countries, often in situations of wage exploitation and abuse of human rights. The strategies discussed will be: organizing migrant workers, reporting and documentation, policy development and cross-border use of legal mechanisms. After brief initial presentations, a discussion directed towards the development of shared strategies will be facilitated.
Facilitator: Rebecca Smith, National Employment Law Project (NELP), USA
Panel Discussants:
Ai-Jen Po, Domestic Workers United, USA
Michele LeVoy, Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM), Belgium/Europe
Pablo Asa, Centro de Estudio Legales y Sociales (CELS)/Servicio Ecumenico de Apoyo y Orientacio a Migrantes y Refugiados (CAREF), Argentina
Cathleen Caro, Global Workers, US, Mexico & Guatemala
Kim Misun, Joint Committee for Migrant Workers Korea (JCMK)/Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA), Korea

Organized by: NELP, PICUM & Global Workers Justice Alliance


Thursday, September 14

Venue: Queens College Worker Education Extension Center, 25 W 43rd St. between 5th & 6th Ave.

9:30am to 12:30pm
Breakout Workshops 2:
Violation & Promotion of International Migrants’ Human Rights Standards

National Immigration Policy Regimes: “The Race to the Bottom”
& Challenges for the Implementation of International Migrants Human Rights Standards

International human rights norms and labour standards provide the normative framework for the protection of the rights of migrant workers and members of their families, regardless of their immigration status. These international human rights law instruments, namely: the 1990 UN Migrant Workers Convention, ILO Conventions on Migrant Workers No. 97 and 143 and the core human rights treaties (the latter widely ratified by States) provide for governments’ obligations to protect and promote migrants’ human rights. However, current national immigration and labour policies, particularly in the host countries of migrants, appear to be in violation of or in complete disregard of these internationally accepted human rights norms.

The discussion will allow for the exchange of information on these internationally accepted norms and will provide direct examples of current migration and labour law and practice inconsistent with universally accepted human rights frameworks. By identifying these cases of violations and inconsistencies, the discussion will then proceed to identifying strategies and actions, or learn from positive experiences in campaigning, to make immigration and labour policies in line with internationally accepted human rights norms and standards.

Facilitator: Genevieve Gencianos, Public Services International (PSI), Geneva, Switzerland

Panel Discussants:
Pablo Asa, Centro de Estudio Legales y Sociales (CELS)/Servicio Ecumenico de Apoyo y Orientacio a Migrantes y Refugiados (CAREF), Argentina
Samydorai Sinapan, Think Centre, Singapore/Migrant Forum Asia (MFA)
Catherine Tactaquin, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
Silvana Michaca, Collectif des Travailleurs et Travailleuses Sans Droits/MIREDES International, Switzerland/Columbia

Organizers: MRI, MFA & CELS/CAREF

Enforcing Borders: An International Snapshot on How Border Enforcement
Violates Core Standards of Migrants Human Rights

The intensification and almost exclusive reliance on immigration enforcement to address issues of migrants human rights has created more militarized borders around the world, aimed at controlling entry while pushing already desperate would-be migrants to take greater and greater risks in often volatile and dangerous terrain. In this workshop, representatives from various border regions from the Middle East, the Americas, Asia, and Europe relate the tragedies they consistently face in combating border militarization and immigration enforcement, and dialogue about strategies to raise awareness about these while pushing for recognition and upholding of migrants' rights at the borders of the world.

Faciliator: Arnoldo Garcia, NNIRR, USA

Panel Discussants:
Isabel Garcia, Coalicion de Derechos Humanos, Arizona, USA
Monica Gonzalez,MIREDES, Bolivia
Manfred Bergmann, Comitato Antirazzista Durban Italia (CADI), Italy
Speaker on Palestine
Reyes Castillo, Associacion Catholica Espanola de Migrantes (ACCEM), Spain

Organized by: NNIRR & MRI

The Abuse of Migrant Workers with Impunity

In many migrant destination countries of the world, abuse and exploitation of migrant workers continue with impunity. In the face of vested interests in such countries, silence prevails. Many Asian, West Asian and Latin American countries receive large numbers of migrant workers, even despite abusive working conditions for migrants and host government efforts to stem the tide of migration. Due to prevailing political, socio-economic and geo-political concerns, organizations advocating for the rights of migrants in such countries face serious obstacles in their efforts to promote and protect the labor and human rights of migrants.

The workshop will discuss the specific problems faced by migrants’ advocates operating in the most challenging political contexts, in countries where severe restrictions are placed on civil and political rights in general, and human rights advocacy work in particular. It will pose concerns for the host and home governments and inter-governmental agencies to consider as they appear to only consider the benefits of exporting migrants to such countries en masse.

Facilitator: Nisha Varia, Human Rights Watch

Panel Discussants:
Ellene Sana, Centre for Migration Advocacy (Philippines)/Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA)
Seta Margossian, Lebanon
Manuel Hidalgo, MIREDES, Chile

Organized by: MFA, Human Rights Watch & groups from the Middle East

Arresting, Detaining & Deporting Migrants:
The Global Growth of the Prison Industrial Complex

As global conversations focus on the potential benefits that migrants can offer to sending and receiving countries, attempts to limit migration or punish migrants through arrest, detention and deportation are increasing. New detention centers to hold immigrants are being built in the hope of boosting local economies, without regard to the human or civil rights of migrants. This workshop will explore the impact of these policies on individuals, families, and communities through testimony of a family member of an immigrant detainee in the US, and presentations by advocates from the US, Asia, and the Middle East on the increasing use of detention.

The workshop will be in the format of an open discussion about the ongoing criminalization and scapegoating of immigrants. It will end with an excerpt from a play dramatizing the experience of a detained asylum seeker.

Facilitator: Amy Gottlieb, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)

Panel Discussants:
Jackie Pollack, Mekong Migration Network, Thailand
Seta Margossian, Middle East Council of Churches, Lebanon
Alix Nguefack, American Friends Service Committee, US
Norma Valbuena

Organized by: American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), New Jersey

1:00 – 5:00 pm BREAK (no workshop sessions)

Migrant Rights Rally & Media Briefing
Dag Hammarskjold Plaza (across from UN, East 44th St. & 1st Ave)
5:00 to 7:00 pm

· Mary Robinson, Ethical Global Initiatives (EGI)
· Ellene Sana, Migrant Forum Asia
· Catherine Tactaquin, on behalf of Migrant Rights International
· Natividad Obeso, MIREDES, Argentina

Invited: Luis de Alba, UN Human Rights Council
Jorge Bustamante, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants
Sharon Burrow, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions


Friday, September 15

Venue: Queens College Worker Education Extension Center, 25 W 43rd St. between 5th & 6th Ave.

9:30 am
Breakout Workshops 3:
Specific Groups of Migrants

The Feminization of Migration

The facilitator, speakers and concept are in the process of being identified.

Organized by: MFA & MIREDES

The Migration-Trafficking Nexus: Why and How Should Migrant Rights
and Anti-Trafficking Activists Work Together

Migration and trafficking are separate but closely related issues. People migrate through a plethora of methods and work in a diversity of jobs and conditions. Where migrants have less control of their migration, they become more vulnerable to opportunists, smugglers and traffickers. This situation is escalating as globalisation causes imbalances between developed and less developed countries and more and more people are displaced through economic, social and environmental circumstances. Sadly, most governments respond to this by closing their borders to working class people further, exacerbating vulnerability and the likelihood of migrant workers falling into trafficking situations.

This workshop will bring together colleagues working on migration and trafficking in Asia, North America, Europe and Latin America to engage them in a “conversation” on the situation of cross-border migration and trafficking and the implications for future collaborative action.

Facilitator: Bandana Patanaik, Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women (GAATW)

Panel Discussants:
Jackie Pollack, Migrant Action Programme (MAP)/Mekong Migration Network (MMN)/GAATW, Thailand/Burma
Michelle Gueraldi, Projeto TRAMA, Brazil
Juhu Thukral, Urban Justice Project, USA
Saiful Haque, Welfare Association For Repatriated Bangladeshi Emigrants (WARBE)

Organized by: GAATW

Global Strategy Session for Migrant Domestic Workers Rights

In Southeast Asia, the changing labor markets due to unbridled globalization have seen women migrating in the millions to look for better opportunities. According to a report by the International Labor Organization, women migrant workers account for about half of the total migrants in the region. In the Philippines, women make up about 60 percent of legal migrant workers. In Indonesia, documents show two female migrants for every male migrant.

For many women, labor migration is a positive experience but for many it is far from that. Migration exposes women to specific gender-based human rights abuses. Women domestic workers are among the most vulnerable group of migrants. They are not recognized as workers in most countries, and therefore not awarded the rights of regular workers. They often work for long hours under deplorable conditions.

The workshop will tackle issues of migrant domestic workers and will discuss strategies in promoting the rights and well being of migrant domestic workers. Currently domestic workers are included in the ILO decent work agenda and migrant domestic workers are covered in the ILO multilateral framework on labor migration which includes a clause in promoting migrant domestic workers rights. The workshop will also focus on the issue of diplomatic immunity: when diplomats and other UN officials abuse their domestic workers, they are often shielded from accountability by diplomatic immunity.

Facilitator: Nisha Varia, Human Rights Watch

Organized by: Human Rights Watch, Andolan: Organizing South Asian Workers, CAAAV, Domestic Workers United, Sindicato Nacional de Empleadas del Hogar Bogotá (SINTRASEDOM), and Commission for Filipino Migrant Workers (CFMW)/RESPECT

Migrant LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual & Transgender) Rights

This workshop will explore the intersection of sexual orientation, gender identity and migration experiences. It will present the opportunity for panelists and participants to share experiences, strategies and organizational opportunities with each other on the intersection of migration and lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender community members’ experiences.

Facilitator: Trishala Deb, Audre Lorde Project, New York

Panel Discussants:
Audre Lorde Project/NNIRR, USA
Manfred Bergmann, Comitato Antirazzista Durban Italia (CADI), Italy
Ricardo Cristo, Rom People Association/MIREDES International, Columbia

Organized by: Audre Lorde Project & NNIRR

12.30 – 1.30pm LUNCH BREAK

1.30 – 4:00pm:

Closing Event (auditorium)
[1] Members of the MRI International UNHLD Work Group: NNIRR, Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA), Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM), Comitato Antirazzista Durban Italia (CADI), Centro de Estudio Légales y Sociales (CELS), Servicio Ecuménico de Apoyo y Orientacion a Migrantes y Refugiados (CAREF), Sindicato nacional de trabajadores del hogar, and Collectif de soutien aux sans-papiers de Génève).
[2] Members of the New York UNHLD Work Group: American Friends Service Committee - New Jersey (AFSC), Audre Lorde Project, CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities, Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), Esperanza del Barrio.