African and European experts agree to further protect the rights of female migrants and domestic workers
Nairobi hosted a technical meeting on Migrants’ Rights: Female migrants and Domestic workers. The experts from African and European States, civil society and international organisations, shared their views and best practices on migrants’ rights, with a particular emphasis on the rights of female migrants and domestic workers.
The meeting was organised within the framework of the Support project for the Africa-EU MME Partnership, which is being implemented by a consortium of three organisations: ICMPD, IDEP and FIIAPP.
The meeting was co-chaired by the European Commission and the African Union Commission (AUC). In its opening statement, Mr Daniel Plas, Head of Social Affairs and Environment at the European Union (EU) Delegation, reminded the participants that migrant domestic workers are among the most vulnerable due to their relative invisibility working in households. Mr Plas explained that the EU legal framework aims to simplify rules and provide a similar framework for all regular migrants, and reiterated the aim of the EU to support the protection of the rights of migrants in transit countries.
In his address on the rights of migrants in the African continent, Mr Olabisi A. Dare, Head of the AUC Humanitarian Affairs, Refugees and Displaced Persons Division, presented the various policy frameworks of relevance to protecting migrants’ rights. He reminded the participants of the rights enshrined in the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and urged the AU Member States to register refugee children and apply relevant international protection instruments.
The various presentations and discussions which were held during the two days meeting allowed for participants to exchange views and practices on how to best protect the rights of migrants and, in particular, female migrants and domestic workers. The recommendations which were made included the need to better inform policies though further research and sensitisation of the relevant authorities.
The need to put in place an adequate legal protection framework was central to the discussions, as well as the contribution that social actors and civil society can make. The ratification of the relevant international conventions, such as the ILO convention on domestic workers, is a first step. Ensuring the effective implementation of these instruments remains difficult. The effective implementation of these instruments should entail exercising control over the work of recruitment agencies as well as actions aimed at informing migrants about their rights. This can be done through awareness raising campaigns, information centres in both countries of origin and destination, and consular services.
The issue of access to social rights and the portability of pension benefits was also addressed, as well as the various actions which can be undertaken to enhance the impact which women migrants can have on the development of their country of origin, including through enhanced access to financial services.
The meeting documents are available below. The meeting report will be made available shortly.