This project is funded by the European Union
Rights of Migrants in Action
The Rights of Migrants in Action project, co-funded by the European Union (EU) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), aims to promote the rights of migrants in targeted countries, migration corridors and regions through a globally coordinated civil society action, with a specific focus on migrant domestic workers and victims of human trafficking. The projects are being implemented by National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and over 43 civil society organizations (CSOs) across 15 countries.
Published on a quarterly basis, the newsletter features articles in Arabic, English, French and Spanish. It provides information on achievements, perspectives from local actors engaged in the project as well as forthcoming events, with the aim of not just reaching our project partners, but also a wider audience seeking information about our activities.
This edition of the newsletter provides achievements to-date in Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Kazakhstan, Thailand and Zimbabwe. It also includes an article on the regional conference that took place in Bangkok in March.
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Rights of Migrants in Action Regional Consultation in Bangkok, Thailand
“Today is a happy day for me and my fellow migrant domestic workers. Today it’s all about us and for us. The support from the Red Cross has given me a voice and I’m being heard,” said Kyan Par, a migrant domestic worker who came to Thailand from Myanmar more than 20 years ago.
As one of the attendants of a Rights of Migrants in Action regional consultation which was held Bangkok from 1-2 March 2017, Kyan Par shared her experiences with an audience of more than 50 participants from various organizations across Asia.
The meeting brought together representatives from the IFRC, the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies from the region and CSOs from Indonesia, Thailand, Nepal as well as external partners and stakeholders from the European Union, ICRC, Migrant Forum Asia, Global Alliance against Traffic in Women, the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime (Bali Process) and United Nation agencies.
“With this project, we will bring the needs and concerns of migrants to the attention of decision-makers to influence global and regional dialogues. With support from National Societies, we are connecting actors from all levels, ranging from small grassroots CSOs to UN agencies, governments and regional networks. And most importantly, we give space to migrants themselves and empower them to take an active role,” explained Zlatko Kovac, project coordinator of Rights of Migrants in Action from the IFRC secretariat in Geneva.
The project also encourages the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to explore new avenues for supporting migrant populations through collaboration with the civil society and other actors.
“As Thai Red Cross Society, we are pleased that Thailand was selected to be part of the 15 countries globally involved in the Rights of Migrants in Action initiative. In the past year, through collaboration with the CSOs engaged in the project, we provided First Aid education for Thai and Burmese domestic workers and psychosocial support training for civil society organizations working with migrants in Bangkok and Chiang Mai,” said Mr. Sawanit Kongsiri, Assistant Secretary General for External Relations of the Thai Red Cross Society while speaking in the opening plenary.
“Now we look ahead to deepening our cooperation and extending our support to stateless persons, migrants and ethnic minorities in the North of Thailand,” Mr. Sawanit Kongsiri added.
This meeting served as a timely opportunity to help identify regional recommendations for development of the Rights of Migrants in Action global policy papers on the human rights of migrants, human trafficking and domestic labour migration. Similar regional consultations were held in four regions (Africa, Americas, Europe and Central Asia, and Middle East and North Africa), the event in Bangkok representing Asia being the fifth and final one.
“It was interesting and important to understand that despite coming from different countries with different cultural and geopolitical environments, many of the challenges the migrants are facing are similar. This was a wonderful possibility to learn from each other and to be inspired. I’m looking forward to working more closely with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and other organisations across the region,” said Gladys Respati, project coordinator of Ontrack Media, one of the CSOs implementing the project in Indonesia.
Enhanced Cooperation with Local Actors on Labour Migration
Since the inception of the Rights of Migrants in Action project, Zhariya, has included as one of its main objectives to enhance engagement with relevant actors in the field of migration, including state bodies, local governments, international and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
This has resulted in Zhariya convening numerous conferences, roundtable and meetings with relevant ministries, local authorities to address the rights of migrant domestic workers and recommendations for the adoption of Convention No. 189 “Decent work for domestic workers.”
Moreover, Zhariya has made concerted efforts to ensure the engagement of leaders and members of Kyrgyz, Tajik and Uzbek diasporas as project volunteers. This engagement has improved access to migrants and increased ability to raise awareness among migrants of their rights. Tangibly, this type of engagement with the diaspora has resulted in the release of four Uzbek nationals from labour slavery who were subsequently transferred to the IOM crisis centre. This has also resulted in further engagement with local authorities in Astana in promoting the rights and interests of migrants at the city level.
In the light of the constitutional reforms in Kazakhstan regarding transfer some of the powers of the authorities from the President to the Parliament and the executive bodies of Kazakhstan, this provides additional opportunities for developing interaction for deepening engagement with state bodies, local governments, international and NGOs to implement the tasks of the project.
Empowering Women through Ensuring Safe Migration and Enhancing Working Conditions
For International Women’s Day, a public forum was held in the Mae Sot district of Thailand on 8 March 2017. The event brought together women from different religious and ethnic backgrounds as well as government officials, NGOs and CSOs. The forum’s objectives including dissemination of information related to ensuring safety of migrants as well as enhancing working conditions for migrant women.
The Mae Sot district is an important and busy border crossing point and economic zone where migrants from neighbouring countries often migrate to and live together in large communities. International Women’s Day events are held annually to commemorate the movement for women’s rights and to promote gender equality. NGOs in the Mae Sot district proudly organize this important day to empower and unite all women locally and worldwide.
In the build up to these events and throughout the year, the Foundation for Education and Development implements a strategy to network with both the Burmese and Thai governments, employers, NGOs and CSOs to promote migrant rights. There is a common purpose in working together to encourage migrant workers to access basic labour rights, education, healthcare, and protection against human trafficking and the protection of their human rights.
Effective Collaboration in the Karaganda Region
The NGO World of Good has extensive experience working with migrants. Specifically, under the Rights of Migrants in Action project, World of Good works in addressing the acute needs of migrant domestic workers. In doing so, the organization has relied on effective coordination with NGOs and governmental institutions to ensure that the needs of migrants are addressed.
For example, World of Good works with another NGO, Umit, in addressing the health concerns of migrants, namely to carry out health screenings and providing HIV/AIDS prevention programmes, while collaboration with the SauUrpak Foundatoin has focused exclusively in providing migrant women with appropriate medical services. Joint activities with the Kaisar Foundation have been aimed at addressing the needs of victims of human trafficking. Equally, World of Good has been effective in advocating for migrants’ rights at a regional level due to its close collaboration with governmental bodies at various levels.
This effective collaboration and outreach to multiple stakeholders and actors has further enhanced the work of the organization and ensured more cohesive and coordinated approach in addressing the needs of migrants.
Supporting Shan Migrants in Addressing Community Concerns
Hemiplegia — paralysis on half of a person’s body — has plagued Mr Dtaya, a 73-year-old Shan migrant currently living in Chiang Mai, for six years since experiencing a severe stroke in 2011 in Myanmar. His daughter brought him to Chiang Mai after the incident, hoping to receive better medical attention, but Mr Dtaya has never received any rehabilitation, and, because he feels chronic pain, regularly takes medication to control the most serious symptoms. However, because no one in their family is a Thai citizen or holds a Thai ID card, they have no insurance policy and must pay all medical bills for checkups and medicine. Mr Dtaya’s daughter works 5-6 days a month for THB 250 (USD 7.25) per day, spending the rest of her time as her father’s caretaker, while her husband is a construction worker for 20 days a month earning THB 300 (USD 8.70) per day. Their income is not enough to cover the cost of medicines and family expenses with two children — one of whom is blind and attends a boarding school for blind children.
Like Mr Dtaya, many Shan migrants do not have access to services or the resources to address their most basic needs. However, through strengthening the capacity of Core Team members of the RISE (Reaching for Improved Access to Services and Employment Opportunities for Shan Migrant Domestic Workers) programme, The Life Skills Development Foundation (TLSDF) has enabled the Core Team to provide aid and case counselling to fellow Shan migrants in need. Since January 2017, the seven-member Core Team has successfully managed four cases by collecting information and collaborating with TLSDF to identify solutions and monitor responses, and is currently working on another nine cases.
Based in self-run community centres in five districts around Chiang Mai, the Core Team has taken many calls to their Response Hotline. In responding to cases, the Core Team assess migrants’ situations and as needed, provide counselling advice or, for more serious cases, work with TLSDF and external advisors to identify a solution. Recently, the Core Team and other Shan migrant community members participated in two trainings, hosted by the Thai Red Cross Society, the first on psycho-social support and the second on First Aid, to enhance their capacity to respond to cases.
For Mr Dtaya, the Core Team and TLSDF have provided him with a living fund stipend, to help his family meet the costs of the medicine he needs, a supportive bed and wheelchair, and Thai government insurance. As with all other cases, the Core Team will continue to support the family and monitor Mr Dtaya’s progress, and will keep brainstorming more creative long-term strategies for developing the skills of Shan migrants which will in turn strengthen the resilience of their communities.
Programa Raíces de Amor Brinda Atención a Niñas, Niños y Adolescentes del Hogar Seguro Virgen de la Asunción
El pasado 8 de marzo de 2017, se presentó una situación desafortunada en el Hogar Seguro Virgen de la Asunción de la Secretaría de Bienestar Social de la Presidencia de Guatemala, donde murieron 41 niñas y adolescentes, que se encontraban bajo medidas de protección. Este hogar tenía capacidad para atender 400 niños, niñas y adolescentes (NNA) atendiendo una sobrepoblación de 800 NNA, con perfiles desiguales. Un Juez de Niñez emitió una orden para realizar el cierre definitivo del Hogar Seguro, por no cumplir con las condiciones necesarias para la atención y protección de la niñez y adolescencia. Generando la necesidad de apoyo por parte de instituciones de protección y abrigo para atender a estos NNA que habitaban el hogar.
Ante tal situación la Asociación El Refugio de la Niñez, trasladó a sus equipos técnicos especializados para brindar una atención inmediata a los NNA que allí se encontraban, además abrió las puertas de sus programas de protección y abrigo temporal para atender a 37 NNA, quienes estuvieron directamente en el incendio y otros que se encontraban en situación de crisis por la tragedia ocurrida y no contaban con ningún recurso familiar con quien pudieran ser reintegrados.
En ese sentido, El Refugio de la Niñez a través de su programa Raíces de Amor, desde donde se ejecuta el proyecto “Atención Especial a Niñez y Adolescencia Migrante No Acompañada” (en el marco del proyecto RoMiA) está brindando atención integral a 15 NNA que fueron referidos del Hogar Seguro. De ellas son 10 guatemaltecas y 5 salvadoreñas y Hondureñas que se encontraban en tránsito por el país. El apoyo brindado a los NNA, a través del proyecto ha contribuido con la restitución de sus derechos, recibiendo servicios de atención integral por equipos técnicos especializados.
El Refugio de la Niñez, agradece el apoyo de todos los cooperantes y personas que se han sumado al esfuerzo para atender las necesidades de los NNA sobrevivientes de la tragedia ocurrida.
Development Practitioners of Zimbabwe Trust in Action: Reintegration Support to Victims of Human Trafficking
Reintegration support is key in the recovery of victims after trafficking exploitation. Development Practitioners of Zimbabwe Trust (DPZT) is part of a taskforce which aims to provide support to women who had been trafficked to Kuwait in 2016. The taskforce also includes the Government of Zimbabwe’s Department of Social Services, IOM, a number of UN agencies and CSOs.
Due to the worsening economic crisis, there has been a rise in the number of young women falling prey to traffickers on the pretext that they will get lucrative jobs as domestic workers in Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Once in country, the women find themselves earning less than USD 250 – 500 a month, working 20-24 hours a day, having no time to rest and not being allowed to own cell phones or to communicate with their relatives in Zimbabwe.
Over 200 women have since been repatriated from Kuwait through assistance by the Government of Zimbabwe, well-wishers, family and friends. The reintegration support provided to the women has included psychosocial support, capacity and resilience building, as well as business and entrepreneurial training. The main thrust being to tackle the leading cause of migration by providing a means of income generation and providing livelihoods. DPZT is providing a key component of the intervention by offering resilience and personal competency training. The training package also urges young women to fight the pressure to migrate through a career development training called ‘Catch Them Young.’
In addition, DPZT continues to engage and raise awareness among young people, helping them to learn about the issues surrounding human trafficking. Monalisa,* one of the Kuwaiti victims, said that, “I went to Kuwait hoping to change my life and that of my child. I have had dreams shattered and dreams proven wrong in front of me but the Kuwait experience killed my spirit let alone made me feel useless before my child.” After several days of training she indicated that she had a flicker of hope restored when the Government and other partners came to rescue them from Kuwait – and, “today I feel new and directly involved in building myself once again after this horrific experience.”
DPZT and its partners are convinced that this reintegration initiative will allow victims of human trafficking to fit back into the society and be empowered to fight migration pressure through starting income generation projects.
* Monalisa is a fictitious name so as to protect the identity of the respondent. Monalisa is 21 years old and a mother to a 2-year-old young boy. She was offered a job in Kuwait by bogus domestic placement agent.
Seminario Sobre “Derechos Humanos, Movilidad Humana y Plan Alianza para la Prosperidad en el Triángulo Norte” Dirigido a Periodista Hondureños
El Centro de Investigación y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos (CIPRODEH) concluyó el sábado 30 de abril el seminario dirigido a periodistas y comunicadores sociales sobre “Derechos Humanos, Movilidad Humana y Plan Alianza para la Prosperidad (PAP) del Triángulo Norte.”
La capacitación se impartió a 30 profesionales de medios de cobertura nacional, mediante tres módulos: El primer módulo sobre movilidad humana y derechos humanos, fue impartido por el equipo técnico del CIPRODEH encabezados por su Director Ejecutivo el abogado Wilfredo Méndez y los facilitadores Evelyn Molina, Miroslava, Carlos Sierra e Ian Quiroz; el segundo y tercer módulo desarrolló la temática “Plan Alianza para la Prosperidad”, fue impartido por la ex Secretaria de Justicia y Derechos Humanos y catedrática de la Facultad de Ciencias Jurídicas y Sociales de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras, la abogada Ana Pineda.
El seminario se realizó con el propósito de formar conciencia en derechos humanos y su correcto tratamiento por parte de los medios de comunicación al momento de abordar una noticia o entrevistar a las y los compatriotas retornados o que han sufrido violaciones a sus derechos humanos en la ruta migratoria hacia los Estados Unidos y las personas migrantes que transitan por Honduras. También busca que las y los periodistas y comunicadores sociales ejerzan un papel de auditoria y fiscalización de los fondos desembolsados para Honduras a través del PAP y del compromiso a cumplir por parte del Estado sobre diferentes condicionalidades. El seminario se desarrolló en asocio con la Cruz Roja de Honduras y la IFRC, con el apoyo financiero de la Unión Europea.
Increasing migrant domestic workers’ access to health services in Zimbabwe
Sithe is one of the many migrant domestic workers who has benefited from the Rights of Migrants In Action project implemented by ZHAAUCT. She has expressed appreciation how the project has impacted her life. “I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to what the ZHAAUCT has done for me. There is a lot that l have learned and achieved ever since l became part of the project. I now know my rights and I’m now able to exercise them. The project has offered me and my fellow colleagues an opportunity to access health care facilities free of charge.”
Sithe migrated from Gwanda to Bulawayo in search of employment opportunities in 2011 and got a job as a domestic worker. During one of the ZHAAUCT project team’s field visits, the team has an opportunity to provide information to Sithe about the project, including importance of getting tested for HIV.
As a result of her discussions with the project team, Sithe got tested and participated in a counseling awareness session that was conducted in Bulawayo. She was happy that she got tested and even disclosed her results and is now part of the established support group for migrant domestic workers.
“I am glad that l now know my status and that I have taken a step in improving my health. I am not ashamed to disclose my status, as being HIV positive does not mean a death sentence. I will start my treatment as soon as possible and I am looking forward to attending my first session at the support group.” Sithe added. She was immediately put on ART and was happy that her fear had been conquered.
Empowering migrant domestic workers
Fransisca Jos`e Candimu aged 29 is a Mozambican who works as a migrant domestic worker in Mutare, Zimbabwe. She fled from Mozambique, with her two daughters, due to the civil war in 2012. In her current employment, she is not given time to rest or to go to the clinic whenever she gets sick. She is earning very little, hardly enough for survival. She is now affected psychologically and has lost confidence in herself.
The ZHAAUCT project team had an opportunity to talk to Ms Candimu at Choppies Supermarket in Mutare where she was doing her shopping.
“I over work, I earn little and I am not allowed to socialize with anyone. You are the first people I have shared my case with. I have no option but to soldier on, if I go back to Mozambique my life will be at risk since there is a serious civil war in my village. Besides, I need the money to take care of my children,” disclosed Ms Candimu with tears in her eyes.
The ZHAAUCT project team provided Ms Candimu with information concerning her rights such as the right to health and adequate rest. The team also advised her to talk to her employer concerning her rights. She appreciated gaining insight regarding her rights and she said she would talk to her employer about what the ZHAAUCT project team had taught her.
Moreover, Ms Candimu is being denied access to health services as she does not have a Zimbabwean national identity card. This has resulted in her living with precarious health situation. ZHAAUCT referred her to the Mozambican embassy for assistance.
Ms Candimu gave a positive feedback mentioning that after talking to her employer about her rights, her working conditions are now improving for the better. She also highlighted that the Mozambican embassy is assisting her in having a Zimbabwean Identity Card. Ms Candimu appreciated the good work being done by the project and promised to refer more migrant domestic workers to the project.
Los Mindalae y la Justicia Indígena
El Mindalae es una persona perteneciente a una comunidad indígena que se dedica al comercio de artículos que tienen un significado cultural, esta persona puede ejercer esta actividad a nivel nacional o internacional. Para las comunidades indígenas un Mindalae es también un embajador y representante de su cultura.
En el marco del proyecto “Derechos de los Migrantes en Acción”, la Fundación Regional de Asesoría en Derechos Humanos (INREDH) junto con varias comunidades indígenas, ha identificado que muchas veces el Mindalae es engañado y obligado a trabajar durante varias horas con lo cual el concepto del Mindalae se desvía, incurriendo en explotación laboral.
Ante este tipo de delito se plantean dos líneas de acción:
1) Realizar un proceso a través de la justicia ordinaria
2) Realizar un proceso a través de la justicia indígena
Culturalmente, las comunidades indígenas y sus miembros no usan la justicia ordinaria, sus creencias, valores y tradiciones los llevan a buscar la solución por medio de la justicia indígena, pero en un estado de derecho esto genera varias complicaciones debido a la aceptación, jurisdicción y castigo del sistema penal. Básicamente existe una gran diferencia entre justicia indígena y justicia ordinaria, mientras que la justicia ordinaria busca el castigo del criminal y su rehabilitación, la justicia indígena busca compensar los daños y establece un precedente con el criminal, su familia y la comunidad.
El Estado ecuatoriano, dentro del pluralismo jurídico, reconoce la justicia indígena como uno de los siete sistemas de administración de justicia (artículo 171 de la Constitución de la República del Ecuador), con esto en mente, INREDH trabaja con varias comunidades indígenas en el desarrollo de una guía para la aplicación de la justicia que busca la coexistencia de la justicia indígena y la justicia ordinaria, las áreas y la jurisdicción que se utilizarán en los diversos casos que puedan ser presentados por las comunidades y las competencias frente a los diferentes tipos de delitos.
Movement – A global civil society report on progress and impact for migrant’s rights and development (2nd edition, March 2017)
In 2016, the MADE civil society network published the first edition of the Movement Report, providing an assessment of progress on civil society’s 5-year 8-point Plan of Action in its first two years, i.e. from the 2013 UN High Level Dialogue through September 2015. Building on the input of civil society actors, MADE has now published a second edition of the Movement Report, providing a commentary on further progress through the Plan’s third year, from October 2015 through December 2016.
The new Report is based on written input from 600 representatives of civil society active in migration and development around the world, as well as twenty in-depth interviews with civil society actors actively engaged at the regional and global level.
ILO Paper: Employer-Migrant Worker Relationships in the Middle East: Exploring Scope for Internal Labour Market Mobility and Fair Migration
The report finds that reform to the current sponsorship arrangements that govern temporary labour migration in the Arab States will have wide-ranging benefits – from improving working conditions and better meeting the needs of employers, to boosting the economy and labour market productivity.
Current sponsorship regimes in the Middle East have been criticized for creating and asymmetrical power relationship between employers and migrant workers, which can make workers vulnerable to forced labour. Essential to the vulnerability of migrant workers is that the sponsor controls a number of aspects related to their internal labour market mobility – including their entry, renewal of stay, termination of employment, transfer of employment, and exit from the country.
The paper serves as an important stimulus for policy dialogue on the issue. It offers a five-point framework to assess the level of internal labour market mobility in migrant worker-employer relationships across countries in the Arab States – enabling comparative analysis. The paper also offers a number of practical and compelling recommendations to governments to address the asymmetrical power relationship currently inherent in sponsorship regimes, partly drawing from promising practices in the region.
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants on a 2035 agenda for facilitating human mobility
The report is submitted in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 26/19. In the light of the proposed global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration, the Special Rapporteur proposes the development of an agenda within the framework of the United Nations, in parallel to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to be known as the 2035 agenda for facilitating human mobility. Based on targets 10.7 and 8.8 of the Sustainable Development Goals, the agenda would encompass eight human mobility goals, together with targets and indicators, aimed at facilitating human mobility in the next 15 years, while ensuring respect for the human rights of all migrants based on the principles of non-discrimination and equality.
8-9 June: 2nd Regional working session on Trafficking in Persons in the Northern Triangle – Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador (organized in the framework of the Rights of Migrants in Action project by CIPRODEH), Guatemala
12-13 June: Global Conference on Children on the Move, Berlin, Germany
14-16 June: UNHCR NGO Consultation, Geneva, Switzerland
19-20 June: Informal thematic session on facilitating safe, orderly and regular migration: International cooperation and governance of migration in all its dimensions, including at borders, on transit, entry, return, readmission, integration and reintegration, Geneva, Switzerland
20 June: World Refugee Day, Global
26-27 June: Mayoral Forum on Mobility, Migration and Development, Berlin, Germany
28-30 June: 10th GFMD Summit Meeting, Berlin, Germany
29-30 June: 3rd Regional working session on Trafficking in Persons in the Northern Triangle – Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador (organized in the framework of the Rights of Migrants in Action project by CIPRODEH), Honduras
29 June – 1 July: 10th GFMD Civil Society Days, Berlin, Germany
3-4 July: PGA (Peoples Global Action on Migration, Development and Human Rights), Berlin
5 July: ILO Tripartite Experts Meeting on Developing Guiding Principles for Policies/Programs on Refugees and Forcibly Displaced Persons’ Access to Labour Markets, whether in Frontline States or through Labour Mobility Channels, Geneva, Switzerland
24-25 July: Global Compact on Migration process- Informal thematic session: Contribution of migrants and diaspora to all dimensions of sustainable development, including remittances and portability of earned benefits, New York, USA
26 July: Global Compact on Migration Process – Informal interactive multi-stakeholders hearings
30 July: World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, Global
10 – 14 July: Summer School on Migration and Human Rights, Rome, Italy
Ongoing: Introduction to Migration Studies, Online (United Nations University)
Ongoing: Amnesty International’s Free Online Course on Refugee Rights, Online
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Cresent Societies
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