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20 Emilyzen Ignacio and esenia Mejia

5.1.3 UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and their Families (CMW)

Adopted in 1990, the CMW entered force in 2003 as the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights –civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights– for all migrant workers. The Convention was ratified by the Philippines in 1995. Indonesia and Hong Kong (nor any other major receiving state) has yet to sign on.

Key Elements of the Migrant Workers’ Convention

¾ Bridges a gap in protection due to the situation of vulnerability in which migrant workers and members of their families frequently find themselves owing, among other things, to their absence from their State of origin and to the difficulties they may encounter arising from their presence in the State of employment.

¾ Migrant Workers are viewed as more than laborers or economic entities.

¾ Provides, for the first time, an international definition of the migrant worker, categories of migrant workers, and members of their families.

¾ Minimum universal human rights standards are guaranteed for all migrant workers, both documented and undocumented.

¾ Further rights are extended to documented migrant workers and members of their families, notably in the equality of treatment with nationals of states and in employment in a number of legal, political, economic, social and cultural areas.

¾ The Convention promotes interstate collaboration to prevent and eliminate the exploitation of all migrant workers and members of their families, and sanctions for violence against migrant workers or members of their families in an irregular situation.

¾ The Convention is a tool to encourage States to harmonize their legislation with recognized international standards.

Source: Taken from the International NGO Platform on the Migrant Workers’ Convention’s “A Guide for Nongovernmental Organisations of the UN Migrant Workers’ Convention” (2006).

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