Committee on Rights of Migrants publishes Concluding Observations on Azerbaijan

The UN Committee for the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (CMW) published on 30 April 2009 its concluding observations on the first report of Azerbaijan (UN Doc. CMW/C/AZE/CO/1). The Committee guards the respect of the International Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. Within them, it establishes some principles related to the right of migrants according to the Convention.

On access to justice of irregular migrants, the Committee established some positive obligations of the State:

26.    While taking note of the information provided by the State party that migrant workers have access to the courts of law and enjoy protection of the rights laid down in the legislation, the Committee remains concerned at reports that migrant workers, in particular those in an undocumented or irregular situation, have in practice limited access to justice, due to a lack of awareness concerning the administrative and judicial remedies that are available to them and of fear that they may lose their employment or face deportation if they approach the courts.
27.    The Committee encourages the State party to then its efforts to inform migrant workers of the administrative and judicial remedies available to them and to address their complaints in the most effective manner. It recommends that the State party ensure that in legislation and in practice, migrant workers and members of their families, including those in an irregular situation, have the same rights as nationals of the State party to file complaints and to obtain effective redress mechanisms before the courts, including on labour issues.

The Committee clarified that expulsion cannot be performed before the remedies to redress human rights violation have been exhaustively exerted:

28.     The Committee notes with concern reports that migrant workers who face expulsion or who have to leave the country after their employment has been terminated by their employer, are not given enough time to finalize pending matters and to seek redress for any violations of rights they may have suffered.
29.    The Committee recommends that the State party modify its legislation so that migrant workers may stay in the country for a sufficient period of time in order to allow them to seek redress for any violations of their rights they may have suffered.

On the right to education end medical care, the Committee stressed the positive obligations of the State to grant those rights also to irregular migrants:

30.    While taking note of the information provided by the delegation in this regard, in particular the creation of the “Electronic Health Card” at the Information Centre of the Ministry of Health, the Committee remains concerned at reports received that migrant workers and members of their families in an undocumented or irregular situation, do not enjoy in practice their right to medical care, including emergency medical care and that children of migrant workers in an undocumented or irregular situation have difficult access to education.
31.    The Committee recommends that the State party take the necessary measures, including legislative amendments, to ensure that the provision of basic services, such as education and urgent medical care, do not depend on the provision of a residence and/or work permit by the migrant worker and to guarantee the rights of migrant workers and their families, including those in an undocumented or irregular situation, under articles 28 and 30 of the Convention.

On right to work, as well the Committee highlighted the Convention principles that the work permit should not be connected strictly with the existence of a work contract but must leave time for looking for other jobs when the contract expires:

34.    The Committee is concerned about reports that in case of early termination of a labour contract the residence permit of a migrant worker becomes null and void and that migrant workers do not have the right to seek alternative employment.
35.    The Committee recommends that the State party modify its legislation so that migrant workers shall not be regarded as in an irregular situation nor shall they lose their authorization of residence by the mere fact of termination of their employment prior to the expiration of their work permit, in accordance with article 51 of the Convention.

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