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Universal-MigrationHRlaw-PG-no-6-Publications-PractitionersGuide-2014-eng

Universal-MigrationHRlaw-PG-no-6-Publications-PractitionersGuide-2014-eng

262 | PRACTITIONERS

262 | PRACTITIONERS GUIDE No. 6CHAPTER 6: THE RIGHTS OF MIGRANTSAND REFUGEES AT WORKI. IntroductionAlready in 1919, the ILO Constitution, which constitutes a chapter ofthe Treaty of Versailles ending the First World War, declared that “universaland lasting peace can be established only if it is based upon socialjustice”. 1092 These values were reaffirmed by the ILO’s PhiladelphiaDeclaration of 1944. 1093 Given the prevalence of economic reasons formigration, and the risks and discrimination which irregular migrants arelikely to face in their terms and conditions of work, labour rights, includingthe right to work, and rights related to treatment in the workplace,are particularly significant for migrants. As protected under the ICESCR,ICEDAW, ICERD, the treaties of the ILO and regional human rights treaties,labour rights broadly encompass:• the right to work, including the freedom from forced labour andthe free choice of employment;• workplace rights, including fair and equal remuneration, adequateconditions of employment, protection from unfair dismissaland reasonable working hours;• non-discrimination in the enjoyment of the right to work andwork-place rights;• freedom of association and the right to form and join trade unions.In 1998, the ILO Conference issued the ILO Declaration on FundamentalPrinciples and Rights at Work which declared as binding under the ILOConstitution the freedom to join and establish trade unions and freedomof assembly; the eradication of slavery, servitude and forced labour;the prohibition of child labour; and the principle of equality oftreatment in labour. 1094 The Declaration extended the obligations underthese rights to all 183 Member States of the ILO, regardless of whetherthey are parties to the relevant treaties, as the obligations are bindingunder the ILO Constitution. However, it must also be noted that the ILOConventions do not approach the right to work as a “human right” orwithin a human rights framework. 10951092 Constitution of the International Labour Organization, adopted in 1919, Preamble (ILO Constitution).1093 Declaration of Philadelphia, Article 2(a).1094 ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, adopted on 18 June 1998(ILO 1998 Declaration).1095 See, Dr. Machteld Inge van Dooren, The right to work: background paper, submitted atthe Day of the General Discussion on article 6 ICESCR organised by the CESCR, UN Doc.E/C.12/2003/12, 11 April 2003, para. 4.

MIGRATION AND INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW | 263II. The right to workArticle 6.1 ICESCR protects the right of everyone to the opportunityto earn a living by work freely chosen or accepted. The right to workas protected by Article 6 ICESCR is not an absolute right to obtainemployment. It consists of the right not to be unfairly deprived ofemployment, and includes the prohibition of forced labour. The rightto work is also protected by Article 5(e)(i) ICERD, Article 11 CEDAW,Article 23 UDHR, Article XIV ADRDM, Article 6 of the Protocol of SanSalvador to the ACHR, and Article 1 of the European Social Charter(revised). 1096States may legitimately regulate or restrict the right to work of non-citizensor particular categories of non-citizens—those with particular typesof work or residence permits, or asylum seekers. The Committee onthe Elimination of Racial Discrimination has acknowledged that “StateParties may refuse to offer jobs to non-citizens without a work permit”.1097 However, different applications of the right to work of non-citizensand citizens, as well as differences between different categoriesof non-nationals, must be objectively justifiable and non-discriminatoryon other grounds, such as race or ethnicity.As to the treatment of refugees, the Geneva Refugee Conventionprovides that “Contracting States shall accord to refugees lawfullystaying in their territory the most favourable treatment accorded tonationals of a foreign country in the same circumstances, as regardsthe right to engage in wage-earning employment”. 1098 However, anyrestriction on the employment of non-nationals cannot be applied torefugees who have either completed three years’ residence in thecountry; or have a spouse who is a national of the country, unless heor she abandoned them; or has one or more children possessing thenationality of the country. 1099 The duty to provide treatment equalto the most favourably treated non-nationals also applies when therefugee wishes to engage in liberal professions, agriculture, industry,handicrafts or commerce or to establish commercial or industrialcompanies. 1100A State Party to the ILO Migration for Employment Convention (Revised)(No. 97) of 1949 has the obligation “to maintain, or satisfy itself that1096 See also, Article 15, EU Charter. In particular paragraph 3: “Nationals of third countries whoare authorised to work in the territories of the Member States are entitled to working conditionsequivalent to those of citizens of the Union.”1097 CERD, General Recommendation No. 30, op. cit., fn. 18, para. 35.1098 Article 17.1, Geneva Refugee Convention.1099 Article 17.2, ibid.1100 Articles 18 and 19, ibid.

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    ISBN 978-92-9037-151-X

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