Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, including its Causes and Consequences
Item 3: Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development
11 September 2018
Joint Statement by: International-Lawyers.Org and Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ)
Thank you Mr. President,
We welcome the report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences, which focuses on migrant domestic workers and strongly addresses women migrants.
It is with deep regret that we note that domestic migrant workers, and especially women domestic workers in slavery-like conditions face further restrictions, and lose certain freedoms as a direct result of experiencing discriminatory practices and human rights abuses such as sexual violence.
Private employment agencies, only briefly mentioned in the report, play a major role with regards to human rights abuses of domestic workers, a role which could and should be reversed towards protecting human rights of domestic workers. The larger business community both domestic and international has a significant role to play in discouraging bad actors and promoting human rights of migrant domestic workers.
In addition to implementing protection measures, as has been previously mentioned it is as crucial to address the root causes of push factors that compel millions to seek domestic work, such as extreme poverty and lack of opportunities especially for women and girls in countries of origin.
To this end, International-Lawyers.Org and Geneva International Centre for Justice ask the Special Rapporteur whether bi-lateral agreements regarding migrant workers, such as the one between Saudi Arabia and the Philippines in 2013, are effective? If so, how can member states be encouraged to sign similar bilateral agreements concerning foreign domestic workers?
In conclusion, we recommend member states to do the following:
• First, implement a strategy focused on enhancing human rights training of local and national authorities qualifying them to create more responsive reporting channels to file human rights complaints and to provide access to justice for migrant domestic workers regardless of their migration status;
• Second, ensure, with the help of NGOs and CSOs, that information concerning access to justice and remedies for foreign domestic workers is translated into appropriate languages; and
• Finally, implement an adequate special prosecution unit for all perpetrators of human rights abuses against domestic workers.
Thank you, Mr. President.