PROGRESS REPORT ON THE SITUATION OF MIGRANT WORKERS AND THEIR FAMILIES
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, at its 92nd special
session, decided to begin consideration of the issue of migrant workers in the
Hemisphere, in order to prepare a report on the matter.
The General Assembly of the Organization of American States, at its
twenty-seventh regular session, which took place in Lima, Peru, in June 1997,
recommended to the IACHR that it include in its next Annual Report an
evaluation of the situation of migrant workers and their families in the
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, in its 1996 Annual
Report, submitted a progress report on the situation of migrant workers and
their families in the Hemisphere
and, among other subjects, proposed that a questionnaire on the
issue be prepared and submitted to all the OAS member states so that they
might provide the information necessary for preparing the final report.
Further, it agreed on the preparation of a separate questionnaire for
governmental and nongovernmental organizations that work with migrant workers,
in order to gain the most comprehensive view possible of the situation.
As a result, IACHR composed a working group to study the situation of
migrant workers, composed of Dr. Alvaro Tirado Mejía, rapporteur; Dr. Jean
Joseph Exumé, rapporteur; Dr. Relinda Eddie, Dr. Bertha Santoscoy, and Dr.
Pablo Saavedra, who joined recently.
Taking into consideration what has been proposed by the IACHR, the
General Assembly of the Organization of American States, at its twenty-seventh
regular session, resolved to urge the Inter-American Commission on Human
Rights to intensify its efforts with a view to submitting a report on the
situation of migrant workers and their families.
ACTIVITIES CARRIED OUT BY THE IACHR
The IACHR has prepared and sent to the OAS member states an exhaustive
questionnaire on migrant workers and their families, the purpose of which is
to gain the broadest possible view of migration and related practices and
legislation in each state in the Hemisphere.
Furthermore, a different questionnaire was prepared and sent to
intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations working in this area.
In the preparation of the questionnaire, a number of different
international instruments were taken into account, including the American
Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man; the American Convention on Human
Rights; the United Nations International Convention on the Protection of the
Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families; the United
Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; the United Nations Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; the United Nations
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women;
Convention No. 97, on Migration for Employment, of the International Labour
Organization (ILO); the ILO's Convention No. 143, on Migrant Workers; and the
ILO's Recommendation No. 100, on the Protection of Migrant Workers in
Underdeveloped Countries and Territories.
The questionnaire consists of three parts.
The first is an introduction. The
second, called preliminary considerations, describes the scope of the
prospective report, the terminology used in preparing the questionnaire, and
the method employed in preparing certain questions, so that the member states
would be aware of these when formulating their responses.
The third consists of the questions themselves, which in turn are
divided in two groups: general
and demographic questions, and questions on rights and practices in the states
relating to the situation of migrant workers.
The IACHR urges both member states and governmental and nongovernmental
organizations to respond to the questionnaire within six months, since the
anticipated information will be highly useful in preparing the final report on
migrant workers and their families in the hemisphere.
In its on-site visits to Canada and the Dominican Republic in 1997, the
IACHR included on its work agenda the special issue of migrant workers and
their families. Thus, in Canada,
the Commission held working meetings with governmental organizations,
Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Human Resources Development Canada,
from which it received detailed information on the subject.
Similarly, during its visit to the Dominican Republic, the IACHR met
with different governmental authorities, nongovernmental organizations, and
international organizations such as UNICEF, the IOM, and the UNHCR, from which
valuable information on the issue was obtained. The Commission is grateful for the valuable cooperation and
goodwill provided extended its on-site visits by both the Canadian and the
Dr. Alvaro Tirado Mejía, rapporteur for the IACHR's working group on
migrant workers, made a working visit to Argentina to obtain information on
migration there. He met and
shared points of view with different Argentine state officials, as well as
with members of nongovernmental and intergovernmental organizations, from whom
he received valuable information. He
held working meetings with, among others, Ambassador Vicente Espeche Gil,
Director of the Migration Unit, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Dr. Aldo
Carreras, Undersecretary for Population, Ministry of the Interior; Dr. Hugo
Franco, Director for Migration; Juan Pablo Cafiero, Chair of the Population
Committee of the honorable Chamber of Deputies; Dr. Lelio Mármora, Director
of the International Organization for Migration; and Father Wallmar Scarabelli,
Executive Secretary of the Episcopal Commission for Migration and member of
the Argentine Catholic Commission on Migration.
The IACHR wishes to express its appreciation for the cooperation
provided by the Argentine authorities in this area.
The Commission has worked on compiling both international law and the
national law of each state on the subject of migration.
To make it possible to properly carry out the activities of the working
group on the situation of migrant workers and their families, the IACHR has
The creation of a Voluntary Fund for Migrant Workers and Their
Families. It will be open to
contributions from OAS member and permanent observer states, multilateral and
international organizations, cooperation agencies, foundations, and private
groups. The fund will be
administered by the Executive Secretariat to finance the activities of the
group of rapporteurs.
The Commission, in order to continue its progress in preparing the
report on migrant workers and their families, decided to:
Continue studying the situation of migrant workers during its future
Conduct on-site visits to member states for the specific purpose of
observing the situation of migrant workers and their families and evaluating
Carry out working visits to study centers devoted primarily to migrant
workers' issues, so as to make available more complete information on the
d. Begin evaluating the results of the questionnaires that were sent out, with a view to preparing the final report.