Call to protect rights of migrant workers, their families


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the lives of every individual around the globe in varying degrees.

It is during this period that the countries should give attention to ensure that the most vulnerable and marginalised people are not exploited.

Migrants, in particular, are more vulnerable than ever due to gaps in laws and policies to promote and protect the rights of migrants, especially those with undocumented and irregular status. On the occasion of International Migrants Day- 2020, the national human rights institution of the Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Philippines have called on the governments to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of migrant workers and their families, and commit to taking action to ensure the rights of workers and find= remedy for wage theft and other human rights abuses against migrant workers.

The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families realises the importance and extent of migration as a phenomenon, which involves millions of people and various states.

The right to adequate standard of living, just and fair conditions of work and the right to remedy are stipulated as the fundamental rights in the human rights legal framework.

Objective 6 of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration clearly iterates that the states must ‘provide migrant workers engaged in remunerated and contractual labour with the same labour rights and protections extended to all workers in the respective sector, such as the right to just and favourable conditions of work, right to equal pay for work of equal value, right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, and right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, including through wage protection mechanisms, social dialogue and membership of trade unions’.

Upholding human rights is an international responsibility, demanding cooperation among states. This cooperation has never been more important than during the time of COV- ID-19, national human rights institutions have a significant role to play in acting and cooperating to uphold migrant workers’ right to remedy, to justice against wage theft, said a joint press release circulated by the National Human Rights Commission. “Hence, we call on states to uphold their duty to promote and protect the rights of migrant workers and their families and ensure access to remedy, and we call on businesses to fulfil their responsibilities to respect human rights as outlined in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights,” it read.

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