UNHRC: Humanitarian Approach on Migrant Workers’ Human Rights Violation 

The UNHRC delegate delivering her speech during committee session.

On April 8, 2019, the first day of committee session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) had officially begun. The council’s focus was on how to deal and solve the ever-so-complicated issues: migrant workers. The session was attended by 3 chairs with 29 delegates representing their own countries. 

As the first-willing speaker, Indonesia stated their concerns, followed byUnited Arab Emirates (UAE), Laos, Japan, Italy, United Kingdom (UK), United States (US), Cambodia, Syria, Germany and Russian Federation.

The first motion was proposed by Japan regarding the current situation of migrant workers in each country. Japan stated that, as a country with decreasing numbers of the population, migrant workers are the key to Japan’s economic growth. On the other hand, Cambodia stated that migrant workers in their country are bound to be the victims of human trafficking.

All delegates emphasized the fact that migrant workers receive unfair treatment in their hosting countries. It became proof that most countries still have the vile mindset towards migrant workers.

As the council progressed, several solutions were delivered by the country representatives, especially when a crisis suddenly happened. There was breaking news about a Filipino migrant worker recruitment office, which apparently acted as a major contributor to human trafficking in the Asia-Pacific region.

Reacting to this, the council conducted a Consultation of the Whole, in which the Philippines stated that the government is conducting a direct procedure to handle the situation. Russian Federation, China, US, UK, Thailand, Syria, Japan, Cambodia, and Canada offered their solution regarding the crisis.

Shortly afterward, the council voted to hold a moderated caucus proposed by Qatar about the measures to respond to the crisis of the Philippines. The US stated that it was mandatory to create a new international investigative body to tackle the crisis and brought this matter to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). 

Japan and Cambodia objected US’ solution by stating that the humanitarian issue is something that cannot be brought to the ICJ. UK and Thailand offered a way of creating cooperation between hosting and sending countries.
Responding to the solutions so far, Australia stated that the solutions were too focused on blaming the individual state. Instead, Australia suggested that the issues should be reviewed from the transnational point of view. Russian Federation also suggested seeking a rights-based solution instead of law based.


The chairs expected the council to touch the topic of migrant securitization, but the council just realized the importance of that topic after almost reaching at the end of the committee session and an unmoderated caucus was made after. 

The results of the previous topic were included in each country’s working paper. As the session had elapsed, the first day of the committee session had officially ended and it will be continued on the next day. (NewsArt/ Raina Chrisamanda)

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