Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, on an official visit to Norway from 21-23 June, delivered the Opening Plenary Address at the 6th World Congress Against the Death Penalty in Oslo on 22 June, on the theme ‘Progress and Setbacks in Asia: Lessons to be...
Ladies and Gentlemen, in fact all of you are aware, that on the 08th of January last year in a historic election, in fact what the world calls the rainbow election of 2015, the people of Sri Lanka voted for change, and for democracy, reconciliation and...
Addressing the 105th Session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva on 09th June 2016, Minister of Labour and Trade Union Relations W.D.J. Seneviratne has elaborated on the...
Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the WTO in Geneva Ambassador R.D.S. Kumararatne has presented to Mr. Roberto Azevêdo, Director-General of WTO the Instrument of Acceptance of the Protocol on...
Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Dr Rajitha Senaratne on Tuesday (24 May 2016) drew the attention of the 69th World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting in Geneva to the recent floods...
About 400,000 people have been displaced while many have lost their lives following severe flooding over the last few days throughout the Island affecting 22 out of the 25 districts in Sri Lanka....
Let me, first of all, thank Mr. Bustamante, Special Rapportuer on the human rights of migrants through you for his useful report and update.
Migration and human rights are increasingly major issues of concern for the international community today. There is an estimated 200 million migrants world over, women accounting for half this number.
The time has no doubt come for the international community and for the peoples of the world to revisit and re-emphasize their basic human obligations to fellow human beings; who are migrants, migrant workers and members of their families. For this purpose, there is an urgent need to focus on a rights based approach for labour migration with a view to preventing any room for treating labour migrants as commodities.
At present, migrant workers and members of their families suffer mostly from the lack of focus on a rights based approach in international migration. We need to recognize unequivocally that migrant workers and their families above all, are human beings with rights and are active agents in every society, developing or developed, working and contributing towards their progress and economic-well-being.
The question of migrants in the first place, therefore, must be approached from a perspective of rights in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and obligations under core human rights treaties, in particular the Migrant Workers Convention.
The Migrant Workers Convention is a broad based instrument. It aims at assisting Governments in developing strategies to prevent illegal migration movements. Part IV of the Convention contains provisions on the promotion of sound, equitable, humane and lawful conditions in connection with international migration. In particular, Article 68 requires States to collaborate in order to prevent and eliminate illegal or clandestine movements and employment of migrant workers in an irregular situation. When discussing migration management, therefore, the Convention due to its comprehensive nature, is extremely relevant as guidance to States.
Despite the intrinsically progressive nature of the Convention, ratification remains far below expectations. Parties to the Convention are still predominantly labour sending States. It is unfortunate that no western State has yet signed or ratified the Convention. This brings us the question as to why the Convention has met with insufficient enthusiasm on the part of many States, especially those States that usually champion human rights issues. The Convention is not an instrument for a more liberal immigration policy, rather it only seeks to ensure that all human rights are accorded to migrant workers too, in recognition that they are also part of our large human family.
In this backdrop, Mr. President, one of the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur in his report under discussion is that I quote: ‘States should incorporate international human rights norms into their national immigration laws and policies. In this context, States who have not yet done so should ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families..’ end of quote.
At the time when we preparing to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in December 2008 and a year‑long United Nations system‑wide human rights advocacy campaign has been launched under the theme ‘Dignity and justice for all of us’ to mark this historic milestone, I have two questions for the Special Rapporteur through you Mr. President:
1. What measures the United Nations and its partners should take with a view to advocate and promote a right based approach for migrants?
2. What steps the UN and its stakeholders including NGOs and Civil Society Organizations should take to urge States that did not sign and ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families to do so?
I thank you