NAM stresses the need to protect the rights of women migrant workers

With increasing globalization, there has been an increase in the migration of labour to pursue employment opportunities. Such migration is becoming increasingly feminized as more women are migrating on their own volition, seeking economic and social opportunities and empowerment through migration. According to a research paper published by UN Women in November 2016, women now constitute over half of the 244 million migrants who live and work abroad.

The migrant women workers are faced with a number of challenges on account of formation and support networks, insufficient levels of social protection, and gaps in the governance frameworks. Migrant women are often more vulnerable to human rights violations than men, owing to deeply entrenched gender inequalities that shape, inter alia, the informality of the sectors in which they work and restrictive immigration controls. This includes the failure of some criminal justice systems to differentiate between irregular migrants and victims of trafficking, exposing many migrant women to further violations by treating them as criminals without proper access to justice.

As most of such migrant women workers come from the developing nations, the Non-Aligned Movement has taken concern of their situation and stressed the need for the protection of their rights. NAM has reiterated the need for cooperation among all stakeholders, in particular countries of origin, transit and destination, relevant regional and international organizations, the private sector and civil society, in promoting an environment that prevents and addresses violence against women migrant workers.

NAM has welcomed the adoption of UN General Assembly Resolution 70/130 on Violence against Women Migrant Workers. The resolution calls upon all Governments to incorporate a human rights, gender-sensitive and people-centred perspective in legislation, policies and programmes on international migration and on labour and employment, consistent with their human rights obligations and commitments under human rights instruments, for the prevention of and protection of migrant women against violence and discrimination, exploitation and abuse, to take effective measures to ensure that such migration and labour policies do not reinforce discrimination, and, where necessary, to conduct impact assessment studies of such legislation, policies and programmes in order to identify the impact of measures taken and the results achieved in regard to women migrant workers.

The Resolution further calls upon governments to adopt or strengthen measures to protect the human rights of women migrant workers, including domestic workers, regardless of their immigration status, including in policies that regulate the recruitment and deployment of women migrant workers, to consider expanding dialogue among States on devising innovative methods to promote legal channels of migration, inter alia, in order to deter irregular migration, to consider incorporating a gender perspective into immigration laws in order to prevent discrimination and violence against women, including in independent, circular and temporary migration.

NAM has called upon its Member States to promote coherence between migration, labour and anti-trafficking policies and programmes concerning women migrant workers, based on a human right, gender-sensitive and people-centred perspective, to ensure that the human rights of women migrant workers are protected throughout the migration process and to enhance efforts to prevent violence against women migrant workers, prosecute perpetrators and protect and support victims and their families. In accordance with the Resolution, NAM has emphasised the need for objective, comprehensive and broad-based information, including sex-and age-disaggregated data and statistics, and gender-sensitive indicators for research and analysis, and a wide exchange of experience and lessons learned by individual Member States and civil society in the formulation of targeted policies and concrete strategies to specifically address violence against women migrant workers, including in the context of discrimination. NAM also highlights the important role of relevant United Nations treaty bodies in monitoring the implementation of human rights conventions and of the relevant special procedures, as well as of the supervisory mechanisms of the International Labour Organization in monitoring the implementation of labour rights instruments, within their respective mandates, in addressing the problem of violence against women migrant workers and in protecting and promoting their human rights and welfare.

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