Monday, 8 November 2010

Rights at risk at the Global Forum on Migration and Development

A leading women rights organisation has urged governments to put rights at the centre of their discussions on migration and development this week. The Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) today launched a new publication to advance the rights of domestic workers and in doing so expressed concern that some governments are happy to enable migration as a cheap source of labour for the Global North while some countries from the Global South see it as a source of foreign income via remittances.

“We urge governments to put human rights at the centre of their discussions on migration and development” said APWLD Regional Coordinator, Kate Lappin. “A purely market driven approach to migration exacerbates the exploitation of women, it makes the exploitation of women’s labour and bodies highly profitable for some”.

The Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) is an annual intergovernmental meeting which this year takes place in Mexico. The theme this year is “Partnerships for Migration and Development: Shared Prosperity – Shared Responsibility”. APWLD insists that shared responsibility starts with a rights based approach to labour migration.

“The GFMD can only be a success if some substantive commitments to advancing the rights of migrant workers are made. Those commitments include: A commitment to a strong International Labour Organisation Convention on Domestic Workers; a recognition that Domestic Work is Work and should be remunerated as such; the eradication of labour laws that treat migrant workers, including undocumented workers, differently to other workers; a recognition of migrant workers rights to organise and unionise; strong regulation of agencies and intermediaries who profit from migration”.

Members of the United for Foreign Domestic Workers Rights (UFDWR), including APWLD, are today launching a new advocacy tool to advance domestic workers rights titled “The Right To Unite”.  “This handbook captures the contexts of ten countries in the region in relation to domestic worker rights. Time and time again, we have proven that when amplified by our collectivity, our voices can foster change. It is our hope for this publication and it is the driving force behind our struggle for domestic worker rights to organise,” said Eni Lestari, domestic worker and domestic worker rights activist.

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