From Tue Jul 1 10:00:09 2003
Subject: ICFTU Online: New Treaty a Major Breakthrough for Migrant Workers
Date: Tue, 1 Jul 2003 13:56:47 +0200
To: “ICFTU Online” <>

New Treaty a Major Breakthrough for Migrant Workers

ICFTU Online…, 110/010703/, 1 July 2003

Brussels, 1 July 2003 (ICFTU OnLine): A new international treaty protecting migrant workers, which comes into force on 1 July, is being hailed by the ICFTU as a major breakthrough for the world's 175 million migrant workers. Countries which ratify the United Nations Convention on Migrant Workers pledge to protect migrant workers from exploitation and abuse, and guarantee their rights to trade union representation, freedom of expression and political participation. The UN Convention will stand alongside Conventions 97 and 143 of the International Labour Organisation as the international legal basis for migrant workers' rights.

Migrant workers are amongst the world's most vulnerable and exploited workers, frequently subjected to discrimination, appalling working conditions and poverty wages. Studies carried out by the ICFTU, including the Annual Survey of Trade Union Rights violations, document widespread abuse of migrants in the workplace, ranging from virtual slavery for women domestic workers in several countries to abuse of their rights in factories, on farms and in service industries.

The ICFTU is however concerned that, while 22 countries have already ratified the Convention, and a further ten have signed it in preparation for formal ratification. However none of the major immigrant “receiving” countries in North America and Europe, where 60% of the world's migrants live, have ratified it. Neither have other major receiving countries such as, Australia Japan, Jordan, Israel, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates.

According to Elsa Ramos, ICFTU Equality Director, “this Convention has the potential to help transform the lives of the migrant workers of the world, however the main receiving countries need to ratify it and implement it in full. We will be doing our utmost to make sure that this happens”.

For the full text of the Convention, see: