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​Collaboration vital to secure migrant workers' rights

Graphic: Participants share ideas at the workshop

An APF-supported workshop has identified strategies to assist NHRIs better protect the rights of migrant workers at all points on their journey.

National human rights institutions (NHRIs) attending a recent workshop in Doha have been urged to bolster their efforts in promoting and protecting the rights of migrant workers and members of their families.

The National Human Rights Committee of Qatar and the APF sub-regional office in Doha hosted the workshop on 13-14 November 2016, which aimed to support and strengthen the work of NHRIs in countries of origin, transit and destination for migrant workers.

Representatives from the NHRIs of Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Nepal, Palestine, Philippines and Qatar, as well as representatives from the Saudi Government, attended the two-day workshop.

Presenters described the national, regional and international mechanisms that exist to protect the rights of migrant workers, as well as the unique role that national human rights institutions can play.

For example, NHRIs can support migrant workers by:

  • Providing information about their rights in languages they understand
  • Establishing accessible complaint handling mechanisms
  • Monitoring and reporting on the rights of migrant workers
  • Advocating for changes to national laws and policies
  • Working with employers to ensure they provide safe and fair working conditions.

Graphic: Building site in Doha, Qatar

Presenters also stressed the need for NHRIs from source, transit and destination countries to work together to support workers at all stages of the migration journey.

For example, the National Human Rights Committee of Qatar noted that it had signed agreements with other NHRIs in the region, most recently with Nepal and the Philippines, to coordinate activities to promote and protect the rights of workers from those countries.

At the conclusion of the workshop, participants agreed to a series of recommendations that included increasing partnerships between NHRIs in the region and beyond; preparing and disseminating education and awareness resources in multiple languages; working in partnership with civil society organisations; and engaging embassies and recruitment companies in sending, receiving and transit countries on issues facing migrant workers and their families.

The APF sub-regional office will also explore other opportunities to increase the capacity of NHRIs in the region to protect migrant workers' rights.

Date: 22 November 2016

Graphic: Migrant workers on a building site in Qatar

Promoting and Protecting the Rights of Migrant Workers: A Manual for NHRIs

This manual examines the different ways that NHRIs can use their unique mandate to promote and protect the human rights of migrant workers.

Image credits

  1. Participants share ideas at the workshop - APF
  2. Building site in Doha, Qatar - APF