17/12/2004

Human Rights Watchdog calls for more migrant workers protection

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has called on the UK Government to provide more protection for migrant workers.

Saturday marks the International Day of Solidarity with Migrants, and the Commission has recommended that the Government ratifies the Migrant Workers International Convention, the only major United Nations human rights treaty that the UK has not signed.

The Convention protects all migrant workers and members of their families regardless of whether they are registered with authorities or undocumented.

Professor Brice Dickson, Chief Commissioner of the Commission, said: ”The UN proclamation of International Migrant's Day is an important opportunity to recognise that migrants have the same right as everyone else to having their fundamental rights respected and protected.

“In Northern Ireland the recent escalation in racist attacks highlights the need for us all to promote and protect the rights of migrants whether in the home or at work. As recent research has shown some overseas workers here are being treated unfairly by their employers.

“One major way of tackling racism in the workplace would be if the UK Government were to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.”

In a recent report from the Institute of Conflict Research approximately 22% of overseas workers in Northern Ireland reported they had experienced harassment or discrimination at work.

Twenty-seven states, all from the developing world, have ratified the Migrant Workers Convention, and another 15 have signed the Convention but have not yet ratified it.

Neither the British nor Irish governments have signed it.

(MB)

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