Inter-american program for the promotion and protection of the human rights of migrants, including migrant workers and their families




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INTER-AMERICAN PROGRAM FOR THE PROMOTION AND PROTECTION
OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF MIGRANTS, INCLUDING
MIGRANT WORKERS AND THEIR FAMILIES

AG/RES. 2141 (XXXV-O/05)
(Adopted at the fourth plenary session, held on June 7, 2005)

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,


HAVING SEEN:
The Annual Report of the Permanent Council to the General Assembly (AG/doc.4376/05); and
The Annual Report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to the General Assembly, in particular the chapter on the Sixth Progress Report of the Special Rapporteurship on Migrant Workers and Their Families (CP/doc.3984/05);
RECALLING its resolutions AG/RES. 1928 (XXXIII-O/03) and AG/RES. 2027 (XXXIV-O/04); and
TAKING INTO ACCOUNT:
The Plan of Action of the First Summit of the Americas, adopted in December 1994 in Miami, Florida, United States of America; the Declaration of the Second Summit of the Americas, held in Santiago, Chile, in April 1998; and, more particularly, the Plan of Action of the Third Summit of the Americas, adopted in Quebec City, Canada, in April 2001, in which the Heads of State and Government stated that they would “[e]stablish an inter-American program within the OAS for the promotion and protection of the human rights of migrants, including migrant workers and their families, taking into account the activities of the IACHR and supporting the work of the IACHR Special Rapporteur on Migrant Workers and the UN Special Rapporteur on Migration”; and
That in the Declaration of Nuevo León, the Heads of State and Government, gathered in Monterrey, Mexico, in January 2004, for the Special Summit of the Americas, underscored “the importance of cooperation between countries of origin, transit, and destination to ensure the full protection of the human rights of all migrants, including migratory workers and their families”;
EXPRESSING ITS SATISFACTION with the establishment, in January 2004, within the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs of the Permanent Council, of the Working Group to Prepare an Inter-American Program for the Promotion and Protection of the Human Rights of Migrants, starting from the draft presented by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the proposals of member states, specialized organizations, and other bodies;
BEARING IN MIND the holding, in September 2004, of the Special Meeting of the Working Group to Prepare an Inter-American Program, with the broad participation of government experts and representatives of the Organization’s organs, agencies, and entities; multilateral and intergovernmental organizations; and civil society organizations; and
CONSIDERING the Draft Inter-American Program for the Promotion and Protection of the Human Rights of Migrants, Including Migrant Workers and Their Families (CAJP/GT/TM-24/05 rev. 7), prepared by the Working Group of the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs,
RESOLVES:
1. To adopt the Inter-American Program for the Promotion and Protection of the Human Rights of Migrants, Including Migrant Workers and Their Families, which is appended to this resolution.
2. To convene, as established in the Inter-American Program, a meeting of the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs in the first half of 2006, with the participation of government experts and representatives of the organs, agencies, and entities of the inter-American system, other international organizations, and civil society, for the purpose of sharing best practices and activities carried out last year in support of the Program, as well as new proposals that might be incorporated into it.
3. To instruct the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to continue to provide its support, through the Special Rapporteurship on Migrant Workers and Their Families, to the Inter-American Program adopted herein.
4. To request the relevant organs, agencies, and entities of the Organization to include, in their annual reports to the General Assembly, their actions aimed at implementing the activities set out in the Program.
5. To instruct the Permanent Council to constitute a specific fund composed of voluntary contributions, called the “Fund for the Inter-American Program for the Promotion and Protection of the Human Rights of Migrants, including Migrant Workers and Their Families,” to contribute to funding of the activities assigned to the organs, agencies and entities of the OAS in support of this Program; and to urge member states, permanent observers, regional organizations, international organizations, and civil society organizations to contribute to the Fund.
6. To request the Permanent Council to report to the General Assembly at its thirty-sixth regular session on the implementation of this resolution, which will be carried out within the resources allocated in the program-budget of the Organization and other resources.

INTER-AMERICAN PROGRAM FOR THE PROMOTION AND PROTECTION


OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF MIGRANTS, INCLUDING
MIGRANT WORKERS AND THEIR FAMILIES

I. INTRODUCTION


A. Program Background
The Working Group to Prepare an Inter-American Program for the Promotion and Protection of the Human Rights of Migrants, Including Migrant Workers and Their Families was established by the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs of the Permanent Council on January 15, 2004, to prepare a draft Inter-American Program for the Promotion and Protection of the Human Rights of Migrants, Including Migrant Workers and their Families.
1. Summits of the Americas
The topic “Promotion and Protection of the Human Rights of Migrants, Including Migrant Workers and their Families” has been present throughout the Summits of the Americas process. In the Plan of Action of the First Summit of the Americas, held in Miami, Florida, in December 1994, the Heads of State and Government, in reaffirming their commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights pledged, inter alia, to “[g]uarantee the protection of the human rights of all migrant workers and their families.”
Then, in the Plan of Action of the Second Summit of the Americas, held in Santiago, Chile, in April 1998, the Heads of State and Government expressed their resolve to “protect the rights of migrant workers and their families” and, in that regard, they established that governments would:
Comply with the applicable international human rights instruments and, consistent with the legal framework of each country, guarantee the human rights of all migrants, including migrant workers and their families.

Seek full compliance with, and protection of, the human rights of all migrants, including migrant workers, and their families, and adopt effective measures, including the strengthening of public awareness, to prevent and eradicate violations of human rights and eliminate all forms of discrimination against them, particularly racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance.

Reaffirm the sovereign right of each State to formulate and apply its own legal framework and policies for migration, including the granting of permission to migrants to enter, stay, or exercise economic activity, in full conformity with applicable international instruments relating to human rights and in a spirit of cooperation.

Seek full respect for, and compliance with, the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, especially as it relates to the right of nationals, regardless of their immigration status, to communicate with a consular officer of their own State in case of detention.

Protect the rights of all migrant workers and their families, consistent with each country’s internal legal framework, by taking steps, in case they do not exist, to:

- provide, with respect to working conditions, the same legal protection as for national workers;

- facilitate, as appropriate, the payment of full wages owed when the worker has returned to his/her country, and allow them to arrange the transfer of their personal effects;

- recognize the rights of citizenship and nationality of the children of all migrant workers who may be entitled to such rights, and any other rights they may have in each country;

- encourage the negotiation of bilateral or multilateral agreements, regarding the remission of social security benefits accrued by migrant workers;

- protect all migrant workers and their families, through law enforcement and information campaigns, from becoming victims of exploitation and abuse from alien smuggling;

- prevent abuse and mistreatment of all migrant workers by employers or any authorities entrusted with the enforcement of migration policies and border control; and

- encourage and promote respect for the cultural identity of all migrants.

Support the activities of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights with regard to the protection of the rights of migrant workers and their families, particularly through the Special Rapporteur for Migrant Workers.

It should be pointed out that the Heads of State and Government also referred to the topic in the Declaration of the Second Summit of the Americas, held in Santiago, Chile, in the following terms: “We will make a special effort to guarantee the human rights of all migrants, including migrant workers and their families.”


Likewise, in the Declaration of the Third Summit of the Americas, held in Quebec City, Canada, they said: “We recognize the cultural and economic contributions made by migrants to receiving societies as well as to their communities of origin. We are committed to ensuring dignified, humane treatment with appropriate legal protections, defense of human rights, and safe and healthy labor conditions for migrants. We will strengthen mechanisms for hemispheric cooperation to address the legitimate needs of migrants and take effective measures against trafficking in human beings.”
In the Plan of Action of the Third Summit of the Americas adopted in Quebec City, Canada, the Heads of State and Government of the Americas, reaffirming the commitments made in 1998 at the Santiago Summit concerning the protection of the human rights of migrants, including migrant workers and their families, established that their governments would:

Strengthen cooperation among states to address, with a comprehensive, objective and long-term focus, the manifestations, origins and effects of migration in the region;

Promote recognition of the value of close cooperation among countries of origin, transit and destination in order to ensure protection of the human rights of migrants;

Establish an inter-American program within the OAS for the promotion and protection of the human rights of migrants, including migrant workers and their families, taking into account the activities of the IACHR and supporting the work of the IACHR Special Rapporteur on Migrant Workers and the UN Special Rapporteur on Migration;

Commit to undertake the widest possible cooperation and exchange of information among states concerning illegal trafficking networks, including developing preventative campaigns on the dangers and risks faced by migrants, particularly women and children who often can be victims of such trafficking, with a view to eradicating this crime;

Establish linkages with subregional processes, such as the Regional Conference on Migration and the South American Conference on Migration, which are dialogue fora, in order to exchange information on the migration phenomenon, as well as promote cooperation with specialized international organizations, such as the International Organization of Migration (IOM), in order to advance and coordinate implementation efforts of Summit mandates.

Lastly, in the Declaration of Nuevo León, the Heads of State and Government, assembled at the Special Summit of the Americas, in Monterrey, Mexico, in January 2004, said the following:
We underscore the importance of cooperation between countries of origin, transit, and destination, to ensure the full protection of human rights of all migrants, including migratory workers and their families, and the observance of labor laws applicable to them, in accordance with the commitments agreed to in the Santiago and Quebec City Summits. We support the adoption of programs for orderly migration as a factor of economic and social development; and we will cooperate in the fight against trafficking in persons, which especially affects women and children.

We recognize that remittances are an important source of capital in many countries of the Hemisphere. We commit to take concrete actions to promote the establishment, as soon as possible, of necessary conditions, in order to achieve the goal of reducing by at least half the regional average cost of these transfers no later than 2008 and report on progress achieved at the next Summit of the Americas in Argentina in 2005. We will adopt, as needed or appropriate, measures such as: the promotion of competition between the providers of these services, the elimination of regulatory obstacles and other restrictive measures that affect the cost of these transfers, as well as the use of new technologies, while maintaining effective financial oversight.


2. General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS)
For its part, the General Assembly adopted resolutions AG/RES. 1928 (XXXIII-O/03), “The Human Rights of All Migrant Workers and Their Families”; and AG/RES. 2027 (XXXIV-O/04), also entitled “The Human Rights of All Migrant Workers and Their Families.” The latter resolution instructed the Permanent Council to renew the mandate of the Working Group of the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs (CAJP) to prepare an inter-American program so that, as soon as possible, it might draft the proposed Inter-American Program, starting from the draft presented by the IACHR and the proposals of member states, specialized organizations, and other bodies, in accordance with the mandate of the Third Summit of the Americas.
II. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
Due to the increased scope and significance of migration in the last decade, virtually every state has become a sending, receiving, and transit country of migrants. As a result, migration has become a priority on the political and diplomatic agenda of many countries and of the Heads of State and Government at the Summits of the Americas. Violence and the growing disparity in standards of living and social and labor benefits among countries in the region, to cite but two factors, have spurred a sharp upturn in the number of people migrating. Studies have shown that in the last four decades the annual migration rate has easily surpassed the population growth rate in the Americas.1/ As would be expected, the increase in migratory flows has had social, political, and economic consequences for countries of origin, destination, and, to a lesser degree, transit. The countries of our region have become more and more interested in tackling the matter as related phenomena have made themselves felt. These include the influence of migrant workers on local labor markets; the demands associated with absorbing migrant populations; smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons; the repercussions of migration on the communities of origin, transit, and destination; violations of human rights; the impact of remittances; crime rates in border areas; and abuse of migrants. Countries of the region are also interested in greater cooperation in order to maximize the benefits of migration. The Program recognizes that orderly migration contributes to economic and social development. In this regard, the Program promotes an environment of respect for the human rights of migrants and their families.
The goals of promoting and protecting the human rights of migrants are compatible with each OAS member state’s sovereign rights to control its borders and enforce its laws. The Program therefore acknowledges the right of member states to regulate the entry and stay of foreigners in their territories and to determine the status of migrants and the effect of that status within the domestic political, legal, economic, and educational systems of receiving countries, as well as access to government services and benefits, in accordance with the legal framework of each country.
The states’ authority to regulate the entry and stay of foreigners in their territories and to determine the status of migrants must be executed and be consistent with applicable international human rights and refugee law. At the same time, the rights of each person are limited by the rights of others, by the security of all, and by the just demands of the general welfare of a democratic society.
This Program seeks to integrate the human rights considerations of migrants and their families into the work of the organs, agencies, and entities of the OAS. The Program links the work of these organs, agencies, and entities and that of member states, multilateral organizations, and civil society. It also comprises a two-pronged approach: (a) activities to be carried out by the organs, agencies, and entities of the OAS; and (b) proposed optional activities to be carried out by member states, multilateral organizations, and/or civil society organizations.
This Program is structured on the basis of general and specific objectives. Also identified are activities for fulfilling those objectives. The Program’s main implementers are the organs, agencies, and entities of the OAS. Other potential Program implementers include member states, multilateral organizations, and civil society, including migrants themselves and migrant workers and their families. The beneficiaries of the Program are migrants, including migrant workers and their families, temporary residents,2/ and the states.
The activities assigned to the organs, agencies, and entities of the OAS stem from existing programs and activities. Subsequently, others will be added when those bodies identify them. The activities to be recommended to multilateral organizations and civil society organizations derive from their usual fields of work. Finally, the specific optional activities that are suggested to states emerge from their proposals.
In the case of the OAS, activities are assigned in keeping with the primary responsibility of the system’s different organs, agencies, and entities. In the case of the states, the Program suggests specific optional activities for their consideration, and in the case of multilateral organizations and civil society organizations, the Program takes into account the activities developed by such organizations in accordance with their mandates.
The activities of this Program may be developed over the long term, gradually and flexibly, in such a manner that they may be reviewed periodically.
The Program envisages a series of measures to facilitate its follow-up, in order to measure progress, facilitate the exchange of best practices, and take advantage of updates and new developments that may occur at the regional and international levels, according to the section “Program Follow-Up Activities.”
The Program will incorporate a gender perspective as a crosscutting theme.
A specific voluntary fund will be established to contribute to funding of the activities assigned to the organs, agencies, and entities of the OAS, in support of this Program, in addition to the existing resources in the Regular Fund of the program-budget of the Organization, which will be administered by the Summits of the Americas Secretariat. The CAJP will determine the use of such funds. This notwithstanding, the Program implementers may allocate and obtain funds to carry out the specific optional activities.
Lastly, for greater ease in understanding the Program, a document cross-referencing its objectives and activities has been included as Appendix I, while a general description of existing international instruments and other reference documents has been included as Appendix II.
III. DESCRIPTION OF THE PROGRAM IMPLEMENTERS
Program implementers are listed, without prejudice to the ability to include others, as relevant, in future revisions.
A. Organs, agencies, and entities of the OAS


  • Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Special Rapporteurship on Migrant Workers and Their Families

  • Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM)

  • Inter-American Children’s Institute (IIN)

  • Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development (IACD)

  • Office of Education, Science, and Technology

  • Summits of the Americas Secretariat

  • Office for the Promotion of Democracy (OPD)

  • Department of Legal Affairs and Services

  • Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)

B. Implementers other than organs, agencies, and entities of the OAS


1. OAS member states
Specific optional activities that may be undertaken by states are listed below under subheading V.B.1. These may be unilateral, or bilateral or multilateral, and may even use intergovernmental forums on migration, such as:


  • Regional Conference on Migration (RCM)

  • South American Conference on Migration

  • Central-American Commission of Directors of Migration (OCAM)

  • Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), in particular, its Political Consultation and Coordination Forum

  • Andean Community

  • Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

  • Ibero-American Federation of Ombudsmen

2. Multilateral organizations




      • International Organization for Migration (IOM)

      • Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants

      • Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

      • International Labour Organization (ILO)

3. Other implementers




      • Migrants

      • Civil society organizations

      • Inter-American Institute of Human Rights (IIHR)

This Program recommends activities that may be undertaken by civil society organizations involved in the field of human rights, migration, and development, as well as by migrant organizations. It also includes the activities being carried out by the IIHR in accordance with its mandate.

IV. PROGRAM OBJECTIVES

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