Experts call for policy to ensure migrants' rights

Kathmandu, October 8

Migration experts have recommended to the government ways to achieve Sustainable Development Goals with regards to migration, human security and human development.

The recommendations were made at an interaction ahead of the meeting of Global Forum for Migration and Development. The interaction was organised by National Network for Safe Migration. GFMD 2015 is an intergovernmental and global civil society, which is meeting in Istanbul, Turkey from October 12-16 to discuss interconnections of migration and development.

Migration experts have suggested to the government to ensure linkages between SDG indicators and national policies related to migration and ensure effective advocacy for migrants' rights in negotiations with destination countries on the following areas — education (goal 4), gender equality, facilitation of safe migration and prevention of trafficking (goals 5 and 16), decent work for migrant workers in destination countries (goal 8 and 10), recruitment reform (goal 8), remittances (goal 10) and access to justice (goal 16).

They also called to ensure civil society participation in the formulation of migration-specific indicators for the 2030 agenda through involvement of the National Planning Commission, other government agencies and civil society in conducting relevant research for collecting data related to these indicators.

The experts urged the government to advocate for stronger SAARC position on access to justice in destination countries, facilitate repatriation of migrants in crisis situations, from Nepal as well as other sending countries, increase migrants’ knowledge and access to information on safe migration at community level through continued collaboration with CSOs and increased local government capacity. They also sought the need for creating a comprehensive monitoring system for migrants' rights violation in collaboration with engaged civil society organisations and trade unions.

They further urged the government to advocate for the adoption of reference wage and standard contracts (including for domestic workers) by Colombo Process and Abu Dhabi Dialogue member state and new government policy on minimizing recruitment costs, ensure implementation of Code of Conduct for recruitment agencies and pilot new electronic systems for facilitating migration and collecting related data.

Other recommendations include facilitating regular consultations with Nepali diaspora groups, encouraging diaspora engagement with the country of origin by developing incentives for social entrepreneurship, engaging embassies with media in destination countries in promoting positive images of migrant workers and fighting xenophobia.

Speaking at the meeting, Som Lamichhane from Pravasi Nepali Coordination Committee stressed on the need for ratification of ILO C189 to protect the rights of domestic workers.

Gopal Siwakoti from Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network said, “There is a need to raise voice for voting rights of migrant workers in the forthcoming GFMD. With the concept of universal suffrage gaining momentum, there is a need to ensure political rights and participation of migrant workers.”