UN rights expert salutes Timor Lestes adoption of migrant workers treaty

A United Nations human rights expert today hailed the adoption by Timor-Leste of a global treaty protecting migrant workers and their families, a move that gave the accord the force of international law.Gabriela Rodriguez Pizarro, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the question of the human rights of migrants, said the entry into force of the Convention on the Protection of Migrant Workers and their Families “is a great success for all those who have voiced the suffering of migrants and who have campaigned for the establishment of an international legal framework for the protection of the human rights of migrants.”Yesterday, Timor-Leste became the twentieth country to sign on to the Convention, which was adopted 12 years ago by the UN General Assembly. The Special Rapporteur said it was a strong signal that the human dimension of migration can no longer be overlooked. “I trust that today will mark a renewed commitment of Governments, [non-governmental organizations], international organizations and the civil society at large to make the human rights of migrants a reality,” she said.According to the Special Rapporteur, the Convention “offers a holistic approach to the human rights of migrants and summarizes in a single instrument a broad gamut of rights, including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.”The Convention also takes into account all the aspects of the migration process, protecting the victims of abuses in countries of origins, transit and destination, be they regular or irregular, documented or undocumented. The accord also plays an important role in preventing and eradicating exploitation, trafficking and smuggling of migrants.“As human rights are at the heart of migration, human rights must also be at the heart of any migration management debate,” the Special Rapporteur said. “As there is a growing recognition of the fact that contemporary migration is a process to be managed in a comprehensive manner, I would like to stress that such process must also be based on the wealth of existing international human rights norms, principles and standards, including the Convention.”

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