resource guide - PICUM

resource guide - PICUM

Beyond IrregularityUseful resource 45Criminalization of irregular migration 46Measuring, monitoring and combating hate crimes in Greece 47Engaging with the media: “Drop the I-Word Campaign” 48Mainstreaming access to health care for undocumented migrantsinto the public health system in Morocco 50Building a health care policy network to ensure adequateservice provision for undocumented migrants in Italy 51The right to fair working conditions in international human rights and labor law 52Building a case: labour exploitation of undocumented workers 54Compensation for trafficked persons as a tool to combathuman trafficking and labour exploitation 56Community work as tool for change 57Building solidarity among workers in Morocco 58Tools & Tips 59European NGOs’ common statement on key principles to respectthe safety and dignity of returnees 62Mapping the use of detention in irregular migration management 63Offering counselling and assistance to migrants detained in prisons in France 64Assistance and orientation provided upon arrival 66Combating stereotypes about returnee migrant women 67Linking pre-departure with reintegration 68Tools & Tips 704

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processIntroductionInternational migration has emerged over the yearsas one of the key issues of global policy. The totalnumber of international migrants has increased overthe past ten years from an estimated 150 millionmigrants in 2000 to 214 million persons today. 3.1%of the world’s population is composed of migrants, ofwhich 49% are women and 16% are under 20 yearsof age 1 . Migrants leave their countries of originfor numerous reasons, including for survival andsecurity, for improved standards of living, access toeducation, and protection from violence and abuse.Yet a lack of protection and promotion of humanrights within migration policies increases thevulnerabilities of individuals who likely already facednumerous human rights violations before leavingtheir countries of origin. Limited regular migrationchannels, increased border controls, policies toreduce irregular migration, including punitivemeasures for irregular entry and stay and restrictedaccess to rights and services in destination countries,make migrants vulnerable to human rights abusesand limit the opportunities and benefits of migration.Despite an international framework designedto protect and promote the human rights of allindividuals, migrants, particularly those withirregular status, experience numerous human rightsviolations throughout the migration process. Rightsbased policy making should look at the causes ofmigration and the need to ensure respect for humanrights in the countries from which most migrantsoriginate. It must further reflect on the vulnerabilityof all migrants - irregular as well as regular – andrecognize both the link between residence status andhuman rights, and the negative correlation betweenirregularity of status and exploitation.The migratory process presents many obstaclesfor those that leave their countries of origin. Suchobstacles include arduous passages – by foot or byunsafe modes of transportation – lack of accessto water, food and other basic necessities, as wellas violence and psychological trauma. Thesecircumstances are present in the countries of origin– where many people’s rights are systematicallyviolated – as well as during the migratory journey,during repatriation and upon arrival in the countryof destination, where entering and integrating intosociety can be very complex.The “Beyond Irregularity” ProjectThis guide is one of the outputs of the “BeyondIrregularity. Towards a sustainable approach todealing with irregular migration from sub-SaharanAfrica to Europe” project, which has sought innovativeresponses to international migration, focusing on thetransnational dimensions of irregularity. This projectis led by the Institute for Public Policy Research(IPPR), in the UK and has five partners: SussexCentre for Migration Research at Sussex University,UK; Eaves housing for Women Ltd, UK; the Council ofthe Moroccan Community Abroad (CCME), Morocco;the Development Research and Project Centre(DRPC), Nigeria; and the Platform for InternationalCooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM),Belgium.The project involved field research in Europe, NorthAfrica, and Nigeria, and developed case studiesfocusing on the following situations of migration:1. Nigerian victims of trafficking in the UK;2. Irregular migrants from sub-Saharan Africa in“transit” in Morocco while heading to Europe;3. Returnee irregular migrants in Nigeria andMorocco.The three case studies are of particular relevance forthis guide, as they investigated migrants’ experienceat each stage of irregularity, through interviewswith irregular migrants and stakeholders workingin Nigeria and Morocco. Findings highlighted thevulnerability factors in the pre-departure phase,difficulties encountered during the journey, allobstacles preventing migrants from accessing their1 International Organization for Migration, World Migration Report, IOM2010.5

Beyond Irregularityrights in the country of destination, reasons forremaining in the destination country and barriers toreturn.The project engaged with a wide range of civil societyand State actors and developed activities aimingat highlighting main human rights concerns ininternational migration and exploring solutions thattry to overcome obstacles and improve migrants’rights in ways that are also acceptable to policymakers. This remains a significant challenge thathas only rarely been adequately addressed.The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR)is the UK’s leading progressive think tank with areputation for incisive, policy-relevant researchwhich has real and substantial impacts on thepolicy landscape. IPPR currently has more than30 research staff working on key policy areasat all levels of government in the UK, in Europeand internationally. IPPR is a key centre for thestudy of issues relating to migration, asylumand integration. IPPR also has a record of highprofile work on development issues includingdeveloping “Development on the Move” a groundbreaking methodology to quantify the impact ofmigration on development on individual countriesthrough interviews with 12,000 households ineach country. This has so far been used in elevencountries worldwide.The development Research Project Centre(dRPC) is a non-profit social enterprise withheadquarters in Kano State, Nigeria. dRPCis committed to generating knowledge aboutthe push and pull factors leading to migration,estimating diaspora remittances and incomemultipliers in migrant families and communities,to patterns of internal and internationalmigration flows as well as trafficking ofwomen and children. dRPC is also committedto strengthening the capacity of NGOs andcommunity based organizations implementingmigration awareness programs to enhancetheir community outreach strategies to resettlefemale migrants engaged in sex work and toeducate migration supply communities aboutthe dangers of this practice. Migrant rightsand security is also a new issue of key concernin the Centre as a result of the dRPC’s 2006collaboration with the National Institute forPolicy and Strategic (NIPSS), the Apex Federalagency with responsibility for strategic studies,security and peace.Workshop in Abuja:“Empowering and protectingmigrants in Nigeria”As part of the activities to strengthen theparticipation of civil society in the project, PICUM,dRPC and IPPR held a workshop in Nigeria on 22January 2013 entitled “Empowering and ProtectingMigrants in Nigeria”. The event brought togetherdifferent stakeholders upholding migrants’ rightsand provided a space for information sharing, peerlearning and developing strategies for collectiveaction. From the discussions it emerged that manyorganizations were working independently withoutknowing what works and what other organizationswere doing on migration related topics. Responsesseeking to improve the situation of migrants neededto be better supported, more closely aligned and ableto complement work already carried out. One of thefindings from the workshop is that it is clear thatchange is needed within the civil society sector aswell as within government. The proliferation of smallorganizations, the lack of coordination between themand the challenge of marshaling a coherent voicethat government can respond to was felt to precludeeffective collaboration on these issues.The workshop in Nigeria served as a basis for thisguide, as it helped to identify existing gaps in termsof knowledge related to the national, regional andinternational legal framework protecting migrants’rights, as well as the role and the work of civil societyorganizations (CSOs) in promoting and defending therights of migrants in Nigeria.Organizations participating into the workshoprequested that additional information and toolsshould be made available after the event concerningthe following areas:6

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processRecommendations made by CSOs at Abuja workshopTOPIC OBJECTIVE ACTION POINTLegal framework:governmentaccountabilityCSOs engage in pressuring thegovernment to implement existinglegal provisionsCSOs to strengthen their knowledgeconcerning the human rights ofmigrants, the international bindinginstruments and the existing nationalmechanisms that could enforce theirrole as human rights defenders andmigrants’ rights advocatesLegal framework:migrants’ rightsCSOs provide migrants withinformation about their rightsthroughout their migration process- when they leave, when they crossborders, when they arrive and settlein the country of destination and ifand when they decide to returnCSOs to develop their capacities toconduct public awareness campaignsand education and develop practicaltools to inform migrants about theirrightsMigration statistics formigration policies andmigrants’ protectionCSOs become a source ofknowledge for policy makers,in terms of data collection andevidence-based researchCSOs to improve evidence gatheringand make it part of their on-goingactivities, and ensure the availability ofinformation as well as monitor their useAccess to rights: publicpolicy and servicesCSOs adopt a human rightsapproach into their work andimprove the rights of migrantsfollowing a holistic approachCSOs to learn how to include labourrights and fair working conditions aswell as women’s empowerment andchildren’s protection into their actions.More generally, CSOs to developtools and strategies to ensure that allhuman rights accorded to migrantsare supported and defended in orderto reduce the effects of migrants’vulnerability statusPartnerships andnetworksCSOs develop synergies and build anetwork, as well as search for newallies among professionals, socialworkers and the mediaCSOs to enhance their capacities ofworking with different stakeholders,strengthen their communication skillsand improve their outreach work7

`Beyond IrregularityPurpose of the guideThis guide aims to bring support and solidarity toadvocates of undocumented migrants’ rights byproviding them with tools and practical examplesto carry out their own advocacy work with irregularmigrants at every stage of the migration process:before departure, while they cross borders, in thedestination countries and finally during return,whether it occurs voluntary or is forced. It is aresource containing examples of the numerousways in which NGOs, trade unions, migrants’organizations and other actors uphold the humanrights of undocumented migrants.The guide was developed following indications putforward by CSOs in Nigeria on existing gaps in termsof knowledge, capacity and advocacy concerningmigrants’ human rights. The action points listed in thetable appeared in the previous page suggest strategiesthat could be developed by CSOs in Nigeria, in order toimprove their role as human rights defenders as wellas drivers of policy change. Every strategy should beadapted to its context and should indicate its targetsand objective. Therefore, instead of describing everystrategy step by step, the migration process has beendivided into four stages and the main human rightsconcerns affecting migrants have been identifiedfor each stage. Examples are illustrated that havebeen used by CSOs and proven to be successful inovercoming main challenges. It is hoped that theseexamples can lead to further inspiration and innovationon the ground, and that Nigerian CSOs could usethese examples in order to build their own strategy,according to their capacities and overall objective.The examples in this compilation have beenchosen for their added value, notwithstandingimplementation challenges. Some of the challengeshave been highlighted in the relevant descriptionof the project; other projects are still ongoing andtheir impact cannot yet be definitively assessed.Therefore, classifications such as “best practice” or“good practice” have been avoided.Structure of the guideThe guide consists of an introduction and two parts.The introduction presents the guide and describesthe Beyond Irregularity Project, summarizing keyfindings from the research and main activities.The first part provides an overview of the existinglegal framework protecting migrants’ rights atinternational, regional and national levels. Therelated protection mechanisms with relevant humanrights bodies and judicial procedures necessary toimplement and monitor the legal framework in placeare illustrated in this section as well, although morepractical examples on how to use a legal strategy arecontained in the second part.The second part is the core of this guide and is dividedinto four chapters. Each chapter begins by describingthe main human rights concerns regarding migrants,organized accordingly to the specificities of the fourdifferent phases of the migration process, namelydeparture, movement, arrival and integration, andreturn. Practical suggestions and examples for CSOsare provided on how to develop activities that havethe potential of improving the situation on the ground.The examples cover a wide range of countries inorder to give an idea of the reality of the differentregions of the world and have been selected for theirsupposed adaptability to multiple contexts. A floatingsection highlights steps in building a campaignand developing a communications strategy, twostrategies that could be easily applicable throughoutall stages of the migration process to improveirregular migrants’ rights. Each chapter concludeswith a set of recommendations to address the issuesidentified.Supporting documentation is provided for theexamples through the use of web links where furtherinformation, resources and tools can be downloaded.How to use this guideSpecial features throughout the guide are noted by the following symbols:UsefulSpecialCaseExpertTools &/ j ResourceFocusStudyinsightTips8

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processPART1PROTECTION ANDPROMOTION OFHUMAN RIGHTSWITHIN THECONTEXT OFINTERNATIONALMIGRATION

Beyond IrregularityThe fundamental rights of migrants, regardless of immigrationstatus, are articulated within a variety of legally binding instrumentson both the international and regional levels. States have a legalobligation to comply with international and regional legal standardswhich they have ratified or formally consented to and made validin their State. As a result, any policy or practice that is contrary tothese laws can be challenged as unlawful.The following sections provide an overview of the international,regional and national legal frameworks protecting undocumentedmigrants’ rights. The first section contains tables of main instrumentsrelated to the UN mechanisms. The second section refers torelevant ILO conventions and the third section focuses on regional(Europe, Africa-wide and West African) systems of protection. Thefourth section contains information on the functioning of the humanrights bodies and provides resources for additional information onthe issue. The final section is on national law and illustrates thestate of application of these instruments in Nigeria.10

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processInternational human rightsframeworkInternational human rights law is a set of internationalrules, established by treaty or custom, on the basis ofwhich individuals or groups can expect and/or claimcertain entitlements or benefits from governments.Human rights are inherent entitlements which belongto every person as a consequence of being human.International human rights law consists of theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) andnine United Nations Human Rights Treaties. Togetherthese instruments represent international standardsfor the respect and promotion of human rights.International Bill of Human Rights• Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), 1948• International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), 1966• International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), 1966Other core human rights instruments(thematic or protecting specific groups)• International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD),1965• Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW),1979• Convention Against Torture and other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatmentor Punishment (CAT), 1984• Convention on Rights of the Child (CRC), 1989• International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers andMembers of their Families (ICRMW), 1990• International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD ), 2006• International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance(CED), 2007Non-discrimination, together with equality beforethe law and equal protection of the law withoutdiscrimination, constitute a basic and generalprinciple relating to the protection of human rights.Almost all of the treaties have a clear reference tothis principle. The principle of non-discriminationmeans that any differences in the treatment metedout to migrants must conform to international lawand must not breach migrants’ internationallyrecognized human rights 2 . Thus, migrants, like allhuman beings, have equal human rights, and allinternational human rights instruments apply tomigrants, regardless of status. Provisions for theprotection of undocumented migrants’ rights are alsocontained in the Convention Against Transnationaland Organised Crime and its two supplementaryprotocols (the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress andPunish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women andChildren, and the Protocol against the Smuggling ofMigrants by Land, Sea and Air) and in the InternationalLabour Organization Conventions.2 Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants,“Undocumented Migrants Have Rights. An Overview of theInternational Human Rights Framework”, PICUM 2007.11

Beyond IrregularityHuman rights instrumentsestablished by the InternationalLabour Organization (ILO)As the UN specialized agency on labour issues, theILO has been dealing with labour migration sinceits foundation in 1919. The very constitution of theILO specifically mandates the organization in itsPreamble to give attention to the “protection of theinterests of workers when employed in countriesother than their own”.The ILO formulates international labour standardsin the form of conventions and recommendationssetting minimum standards of basic labour rights:freedom of association, the right to organize,collective bargaining, abolition of forced labour,equality of opportunity and treatment, and otherstandards regulating conditions across the entirespectrum of work related issues. In addition, thereare several ILO conventions that deal directly withthe rights of migrant workers, both documented andundocumented.Some relevant ILO Conventions for migrant workers• Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29)• Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87)• Migration for Employment Convention, 1949 (No. 97)• Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98)• Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100)• Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105)• Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111)• Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138)• Migrant Workers Convention, 1975 (No. 143)• Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182)12

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processRegional human rightsinstrumentsBeyond the relevant UN instruments, there arethree regional, treaty-based systems for theprotection of human rights: the Inter-American,European, and African. The three regional systemswere each established under the auspices of alarger intergovernmental organization for regionalcooperation: the Organization of American States(OAS), the Council of Europe, and the African Union,respectively.This guide presents a brief overview of the Africanregional level and the European regional level, asthe focus of the “Beyond Irregularity” Project ison irregular migration from sub-Saharan Africato Europe, and South-South migration emergedas an important feature and a major challenge fororganizations working in Nigeria. Nonetheless,knowledge about all systems of human rightsprotection is relevant for CSOs engaged in theprotection of migrants’ rights. A list of resources tolearn more about the functioning of each system isincluded in the following section.African regional level• The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, 1981• The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, 1990• The Protocol to the African Charter on the Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishmentof the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, 1998• The Complementary Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on theRights of Women, 2003European regional level• The European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, 1950• The European Social Charter and its Additional Protocols, adopted in 1961 and revisedin 1996• The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, 200013

Beyond IrregularityProtection mechanisms andpromotion of human rightsAll instruments listed in the previous pagesprovide for a judicial or quasi-judicial decisionmakingbody (or bodies) responsible for receivingcomplaints of alleged human rights violations anddetermining States’ international responsibility.These are, respectively, the African Commission onHuman and Peoples’ Rights and the African Courton Human and Peoples’ Rights for the Africanregional level; and the European Court of HumanRights and European Committee of Social Rightsfor Europe. The nature and duties of each system’sorgans, as well as the norms they interpret andapply, are established in regional treaties.Under the human rights framework at theinternational and regional levels, only States maybe held accountable for human rights violations,as each system was created on the basis of anintergovernmental agreement establishing specificobligations of signatory States (minimum code ofconduct for States). In other words, States haveagreed to abide by certain standards in their actionsand to ensure the enjoyment of certain guarantees bythose within their jurisdiction, thereby establishingindividual rights vis-a-vis the State.Further, international human rights adjudicationis limited by the principles of subsidiarity andcomplementarity, meaning that the relevantinternational decision-making organs are meantneither to supplant nor form part of domesticjudicial systems. Rather, those alleging humanrights violations before an international tribunalmust generally first have exhausted the appropriate,available domestic remedies.In addition, in Africa, a group of States has startedeconomic integration initiatives, establishing theEconomic Community of West African States(ECOWAS). Courts have been created in ECOWAS todeal with disputes arising between member Statesor under the community’s trade agreement or otherlaws. These tribunals are not generally considered tobe human rights courts because their core mandateis not human rights protection. However, some areauthorized to consider individual complaints involvingfundamental rights or to directly apply human rightstreaties 3 .3 To get more information on the functioning of the ECOWASCommunity Court of Justice established in 1991 and to read about itsrelevant jurisprudence please visit the website.14

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processuseful resources,,For a comprehensive overview of the international human rights framework and thefunctioning of the international human rights bodies, see International Justice ResourceCenter,,The Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights has a handbook for civil societyorganizations entitled “Working with the United Nations Human Rights Programme”,,The Justice Without Borders Project published a study entitled “The Protection of theFundamental Human Rights of West African Migrants” that describes possible recoursein African regional and sub-regional mechanisms,,A Human Rights Defenders’ Guide to the African Commission on Human and People’sRights published by the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa. TheGuide aims at assisting human rights defenders to better understand and promotehuman rights, as well as to seek protection for or redress against violations within theAfrican human rights system,,Amnesty International published a Guide to the African Commission on Human andPeople’s Rights, intended to help NGOs in Africa and other human rights defenders toaccess the African Commission’s system of protection/,,The African Human Rights Case Law Analyser is a free-online collection of the humanrights decisions taken by African supranational human rights courts. The resources areavailable in English, French and Portuguese,,PICUM has produced a report entitled “Using legal strategies to enforce undocumentedmigrants’ rights” that offers a comparative analysis of the advantages anddisadvantages of engaging with mechanisms provided by different judicial bodies atnational and international level. It includes also advice from legal experts that willhelp to develop and improve the capacities of relevant organizations and advocatesengaging with various legal channels and ultimately providing greater levels of justicefor undocumented migrants15

Beyond IrregularityNational legal frameworkin NigeriaNigeria has laws on immigration and emigration,and some of the provisions are contained in theConstitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of1999, while others are contained in the following:Nigerian Law• The Immigration Act, Chapter 171 of 1990, is specifically directed at the regulation ofmigration. The law prescribes the terms of entry and exit from Nigeria for citizens andnon-citizens as well as the privileges of an alien in residence in the country. However,it remains essentially the same as it was when first enacted in 1963 (with only slightamendments in 1973) and does not reflect the concept of migrants’ rights• Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administrative, Act No. 24 of14 July 2003, is the Federal Government of Nigeria’s response to address trafficking inpersons in Nigeria and it contains provisions related to human rights abuses occurringthroughout the trafficking process. The Act established also the National Agency for theProhibition of Traffic in Persons and Other Related Matters• The Child Rights Act of 2003, which enforces the sections of the Labour Act of 1974 thatrelates to the prohibition of child labour, covers child labour law, children’s rights andtrafficking in childrenNigeria has recently elaborated a national policyon migration, which still awaits ratification by theNational Assembly. The policy is comprehensive,covering migration and development, migrationand cross-cutting social issues, national securityand irregular movement, forced displacement,the human rights of migrants, organized labourmigration, internal migration, the nationalpopulation, migration data and statistics, and fundingfor migration management. The policy reiteratesNigeria’s commitment to all existing internationaland national human rights instruments, principlesand standards.Key initiatives that should enable the implementationof the provisions contained in the new national policyon migration include:• the establishment of migration information centreswhere prospective migrants may be counseled incollaboration with state and local council areas;• the signature of bilateral agreements to ensureNigerians being repatriated from abroad aretreated humanely and fairly, in safety, and withdignity, and that basic human rights are respected;• the promotion of dialogue and networking betweensending, transit and receiving countries;• the integration of migrants in order to secureaccess to basic services such as education, healthand employment, and for returnee nationals specialmeasures to ensure their successful reintegrationin their home communities;• the creation of an independent agency that wouldbe responsible for organized labour migration,including the protection of migrants’ rights.In 2009, through a presidential directive, theNational Commission for Refugees was mandated tobecome the focal agency on migration responsiblefor revising and, in close coordination with otheragencies, implementing the draft national policy.16

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processInternational human rights instruments ratified by Nigeria• International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)acceded to in 1967• Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)ratified in 1985 and its Optional Protocol (OP-CEDAW) ratified in 2004• Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) ratified in 1991 and its Optional Protocol onthe sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (CRC-OPSC) ratified in 2010• International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) acceded to in 1993• International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) acceded to in1993• Convention Against Transnational and Organised Crime acceded in 2000, and its twosupplementary protocols: the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking inPersons, Especially Women and Children, and the Protocol against the Smuggling ofMigrants by Land, Sea and Air ratified in 2001• Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment orPunishment (CAT) ratified in 2001 and its Optional Protocol (OPCAT) acceded to in 2009• International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers andMembers of Their Families (ICRMW) acceded to in 2009• International Convention for the Protection of All persons from Enforced Disappearance(CED) acceded to in 2009• Convention to the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and its Optional Protocol bothratified in 201017

Beyond IrregularityILO conventions ratified by Nigeria• Migration for Employment Convention (C97) ratified in 1960• Forced Labour Convention (C29) and Abolition of Forced Labour Convention (C105) bothratified in 1960• Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention (C111) ratified in 2002• Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (C182) ratified in 2002Regional human rights instruments ratified by Nigeria• African Charter on Human and People’s Rights ratified in 1983• African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child ratified in 2001• Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa ratified in 2004• Protocol to the African Charter on the African Court on Human Rights ratified in 200418


Beyond IrregularityEffective protection of the human rights of migrants requirescoordinated action by countries throughout the entire migrationcycle, from departure, travel to and arrival and integration in thedestination country, and return and reintegration. Individual stateshave the greatest authority and responsibility when migrants are ontheir territory. However, intra-state cooperation can foster effectivepractices to protect migrants’ rights and further enhance theirrights across all phases of the migration cycle.The second part of this guide examines a number of practicesarising from the direct experience of CSOs working with migrants indifferent regions of the world. A “life-cycle” approach to migrationis taken, in order to describe the main human rights concernsaffecting migrants in each phase of the migration process. It alsohighlights respective protection responsibilities of countries oforigin, transit and destination.For each stage diverse examples are illustrated which aim toimprove migrants’ rights protection. These should not be consideredas the only possible actions available to CSOs, but are included asthey have proven to be successful when used by CSOs in a rangeof contexts. In order to build a successful strategy out of theseexamples it is essential that the specific legal framework, thecontext and the target of the action is considered carefully beforeproceeding. The final section of every chapter/stage summarizesthe key elements that can be regarded as useful tools to include intoan organization’s strategy.20

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processStage One:Pre-DepartureMigrants before departure:human rights in the country oforigin and opportunities for safemigrationThe lack of rights afforded to migrants in theircountry of origin is among the root causes ofinternational migration. Lack of work opportunities,limited access to services, including education,healthcare and housing, the proliferation of violenceand conflicts are all factors which push people toseek protection and better lives elsewhere.The “Beyond Irregularity” Project research 4provides some insight into the factors that initiallypushed these individuals to leave their country.Many interviewees stressed that drastic economicconditions were the main reason for leaving Nigeria:Moreover, a common thread was an expression offeeling alone and not being able to turn to anyone,including the state, for help:IPPR, “Homecoming: Return and Reintegrationof Irregular Migrants from Nigeria”You can only make it here in Nigeria when youhave someone to help you. When you havesomeone to support you, you won’t have themind to travel out of the country.– Female, 25IPPR, “Homecoming: Return and Reintegrationof Irregular Migrants from Nigeria”In the early 2000s, there was this discomfortamong youths. You not having the opportunityto become what you really want to becomeafter school, your thoughts when you were inschool: the moment you leave school everythingwould just be waiting for you, things will just getbetter, but there was this discontent with thesociety, with the system.– Male, late 30sOverall in Nigeria the desire to migrate and travelseems to be a common feature. According to anationwide survey reported in “Beyond Borders:Human Trafficking from Nigeria to the UK” 5 sixtyeightper cent of Nigerians stated that they would liketo go to Europe to study or work, with only a slightlysmaller proportion (sixty three per cent) believingthat they would do so in the future. The importantsocial value attached to those who decide to leaveand also to those who have successfully made it toEurope (either in a regular or irregular manner), isalso a factor contributing to migration:4 Jenny Pennington, Brhmie Balaram, “Homecoming: Return andReintegration of Irregular Migrants from Nigeria”, Institute for PublicPolicy Research, April 2013.5 Myriam Cherti, Jenny Pennington, Peter Grant, “Beyond Borders:Human Trafficking from Nigeria to the UK”, Institute for Public PolicyResearch, January 2013.21

Beyond IrregularityIPPR, “Homecoming: Return and Reintegrationof Irregular Migrants from Nigeria”The community does not see it as an issue sinceevery household want a member of the familyto go outside the country, hustle and come backhome with hard currency.– Male, 30Next to these “push factors”, drivers of migration arealso connected to what the country of destinationmight offer or is believed to offer. Availability of jobsand the idea of a “better life” are also strong triggersof migration. The new Nigerian migration policylisted several factors among the current driversof migration: growing unemployment; attractivesalaries abroad; higher education possibilities inforeign countries; the availability of traffickers andsmugglers; and finally government policies, conflicts,humanitarian challenges and environmental factors.Moreover, widespread exploitation often occurringin the family/community environment is likely toincrease the desire and urgency to leave. 6If suitable protections are in place, migration mayoffer valuable and profitable options for both migrantsas well as destination countries. On the contrary,as states limit avenues for regular migration andharshen deportation and detention policies, irregularchannels become the only alternative for migration.Many prospective migrants are unaware of the rulesthat manage migration and often don’t know who toturn to and ask for information.IPPR, “Homecoming: Return and Reintegrationof Irregular Migrants from Nigeria”There can be a situation where somebody iswell educated, they have “the well with all tosurvive”, but the person just believes that theeconomy is better off elsewhere. People canalso be deceived into migrating elsewhere fora supposedly better situation when the realreason is for exploitation. There are issues ofpeople not understanding the situation properlyand unable to make informed decisions on theirown about migration.Analysing the various causes leading to irregularmigration helps for a better understanding andimplementation of preventive measures to reducethe risks of irregular migration and increase theopportunities for safe migration. Safe migrationinvolves two elements: first, it means that peopleare able to have a more equal power relationshipwith others they meet along the way, so that theycan negotiate good terms with migration agentsand employers; second, people have knowledgewhich may be required to protect themselves fromabuses during the migration process. Offeringmore opportunities for migrating safely impliesactions throughout the migration process, evenbefore migration begins: individuals should beinformed about what they should expect during thejourney, when they arrive and later the possibilitiesfor return. Information might help prospectivemigrants to better face the challenges posed by themigration process, even when their only option is toleave through irregular channels. With informationabout their rights, or lack of rights, in transit anddestination countries, people can make informedchoices about where to turn if they are exploited orabused.The misrepresentation of migration prospectsemerged as a common feature of most of theirregular migrants’ stories collected in the BeyondIrregularity Project 7 . The positive aspects ofthe migration experience and “success stories”appeared to be the main image that prospectivemigrants had before beginning their journey. Despitethe fact that violence, poverty and exploitation werecommon elements in their experiences of migration,there was almost no mention among respondents ofbeing warned about these risks before they left. Eventhough they said that they would not encourage otherpotential migrants to undertake the journey, theydid not appear to have been cautioned themselvesbefore beginning their journey.– Stakeholder6 Federal Government of Nigeria, “National Policy on Migration”,March, 11 , 2011.7 Myriam Cherti, Peter Grant, “Sub-Saharan Irregular Migrants inMorocco”, Institute for Public Policy Research, forthcoming.22

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processThis chapter emphasizes the need to inform migrantsabout their rights as a strategy to counter violationsand abuses, as well as contributing to enhancethe positive effects of migration, for the individualdevelopment of the migrant, for the country ofdestination, as well as for the family/community ofthe country of origin 8 .In the meantime, advocating for better livingconditions in the country of origin, especially forfamilies with children as well as women, who sufferincreased discrimination due to age and gender,should also become part of CSOs’ work, to enableindividuals to have choices to migrate or to remain inthe country of origin.Informing migrants about theirrightsAs was described in Part 1 of this guide, theinternational human rights framework provides fora comprehensive protection system for migrants,articulated within a variety of instruments andtreaties on both the international and regional levels,including a convention expressively dedicated tomigrant workers that outlines the rights migrantsare entitled to with no discrimination and regardlessof their migration status.special focusThe International Convention on theProtection of the Rights of All migrantWorkers and Members of their FamiliesThe International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrants Workers and Membersof their Families (CMW) is a comprehensive international treaty focusing on the protection ofmigrant workers’ rights. It seeks to establish minimum standards that States parties shouldapply to migrant workers and members of their families, irrespective of their migratory status.Undocumented migrant workers’ rights are reaffirmed in the preamble, which underlines thatStates parties consider, inter alia, that irregular migrants are frequently exploited and faceserious human rights violations and that appropriate action should be encouraged to preventand eliminate clandestine movements and trafficking in migrant workers while at the same timeensuring the protection of their human rights. Part III of the convention outlines a series of rights,including the right to information (Article 33), which apply to irregular migrants.In its Draft General Comment No. 2 on the rights of migrant workers in an irregular situationand members of their families, the Migrant Workers’ Committee has clarified the scope of theconvention as well as other treaties and conventions in the international human rights frameworkas they apply to migrants in an irregular situation.8 There is increasing evidence that the benefits of internationalmigration, not only for migrants themselves but also for origin anddestination societies, are contingent on the protection of migrants’rights. Migrants are best able to contribute to development in boththe countries of origin and destination when they are protected andempowered socially, economically and in terms of their basic humanrights, regardless of their migration status. The Global Forumon Migration and Development held in Manila in 2008 focused on“Migration, development and human rights” and contributions on thisissue are available on the GFMD website.23

Beyond IrregularityMigrants have rights regardless of their origin,destination and residence status, but many areunaware of this. As a consequence, countless peopleleave their countries of origin motivated by a hopefor a better life and find themselves in exploitativeand abusive situations where they do not speakout because they are scared and feel powerless.The vulnerability that characterizes the migrationprocess is often a consequence of this “illiteracy”that renders migrants easy prey of smugglers andtraffickers when they embark on their journey andsubsequently contributes to their exclusion anddestitution in the country of destination. This isalso valid for return that is rarely the result of aninformed choice and generally implies coercion orintimidation.Informing migrants about their rights is thus the firststep towards ending the silent suffering of millionsof people on the move. The provision of informationhelps prevent people from migrating withoutknowing that they might infringe the law of a givencountry if they don’t comply with legal requirementsfor entry. However, many migrants may still leavetheir countries of origin despite the lack of regularchannels and all potential dangers.Pre-departure orientation programs in countries oforigin, also called safe migration programs, prepareprospective migrants before their migration projectstarts. They aim to reduce the risks of irregularmigration, but many often use “scaremongering”or sensational tactics to try to convince people notto move. Such programs also tend to give the ideathat all migration ends up in suffering and abuse. Inaddition, even when they succeed in creating safemigration systems from the country of origin, it ismuch harder to ensure safe entry into the destinationcountry. Safe migration approaches cannot changethe exploitative living and working conditionspeople often find themselves in once they enter thedestination country.Despite these and other limitations, some countries– especially large migrant sending countries -offer some examples of practices which show howprotection begins at home and can be reinforcedthrough partnership with both transit and destinationcountries and with the support of a broad range ofstakeholders.24

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processcase studyPre-departure programs in the Philippines providesupport and assistance throughout the migration processThe Philippines Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is in charge of recruiting,registering and verifying the qualifications of prospective migrants, as well as informing Filipinomigrants of their rights as workers and as human beings, including providing mechanisms toredress violations of migrants’ rights where necessary.The POEA delivers trainings, known as Pre-Departure Orientation Seminars (PDOS) supportedby a manual including modules around the psycho-social reintegration of returnee migrantsand necessary support offered to children and families remaining in the Philippines. No specificdestination country is targeted in the manual but information is available for a wide range ofmigration projects and the overall objective is to provide support and assistance throughout themigration experience (the so called “life cycle approach”).The involvement of NGOs in the implementation of these programs has contributed to theinclusion of a migrants’ rights perspective and facilitated the creation of additional activities thattake into consideration a broad range of stakeholders. For instance, local governments are nowincluded in the program and POEA supports them in establishing migration desks to providedirect orientation to migrants. In the country of destination, embassies and consulates can alsoassist migrants using the same manual developed by POEA. Moreover, the information sessionsaddress the needs of the individual migrant as well as the entire family, whether they accompanythe migrant to the country of destination or remain in the Philippines.Among NGOs implementing PDOS, the Kanlungan Centre Foundation startedin September 2012 to develop its own modules so that the seminars are moregrass-roots oriented. This is a joint project with the Open Society Foundationsin collaboration with the Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA) and Migrant Forumin Asia (MFA). The seminar module is addressed to domestic workers andconstruction workers. For the module development former Overseas FilipinoWorkers (OFW) contributed with inputs arising from their personal experiences.The module proposed theatrical plays, dramatization of situations such as being abused bythe employer or escaping from the employer and the sharing of experiences. The training wasfacilitated by professors of the University of the Philippines. Kanlungan is currently waiting forcomments on the sample developed.Although Kanlungan does not have an official website, they use an open Facebook group as a toolto spread information, to share the organization’s events and pictures and for discussion.25

Beyond IrregularityThe first line of defense for the protection ofmigrants’ rights is thus established in the countryof origin. Some initiatives have also been developedspecifically on the situation of irregular migrants whoare often excluded from government-led initiativestrying only to support regular studyInforming migrants in Nigeria about potentialthreats during the migration processThe “Migration Aware Project” was developed in Nigeria under the framework of the UN-JointMigration and Development Initiative (JIMD) 9 and facilitated by the Child and Adolescent andFamily Survival Organization (CAFSO) in Nigeria and the African Studies Centre at CoventryUniversity in the United Kingdom.This project aimed to fill the information gap that prevents potential irregular migrants frommaking an informed decision on whether to embark on the migration process, based on a soundknowledge and understanding of potential threats to and exploitation of the migrant, both intransit and destination countries. The intention was not to actively dissuade migration but toprovide objective information. Direct participation of residents of Ibadan State in Nigeria (thetarget community) was highly encouraged in all phases of the project.The project developed and delivered a portfolio of methodologies relevant to the experiences ofpotential irregular migrants to ensure that they are given necessary information to make informeddecisions. Information disseminated focused on the realities of the journey (data on fatalitiesand evidence provided by NGOs related to violence and abuses occurred in transit countries);rights in the various European destination countries (focus on detention, labour exploitationand deportation); and alternatives to irregular migration. These methodologies included theproduction of a short film, street theatre, text messaging and poster campaigns, and were basedon focus groups, targeted interviews and public meetings to establish a synthesis of the concernsof stakeholders including potential migrants, local authority representatives and civil societyorganizations.9 The Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI) reflects the acceptance of and growing interest in the strong linksbetween Migration and Development (M&D) and aims to support M&D actors to effectively harness the potential of migration fordevelopment. This programme is implemented by UN and financed in part by the EU.26

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processThe format of pre-departure programs varies amongcountries and can range from simple informationprovision and counseling, to vocational trainingand cultural orientation, as well as referral to otherservice providers (for example reception, shelterand legal assistance in case of vulnerable migrants).These programs are more effective when cooperationwith countries of destination is in place as well asconsideration of challenges faced by specific groups,including women, children and victims of violence.Furthermore, orientation sessions encouraging aparticipatory approach, where migrants becometeachers themselves and are able to train theirpeers, have also proven to be very successful andsustainable 10 .Nonetheless, these actions can hardly reach allgroups and all areas, and there will always be aproportion of migrants that will not be able to benefitfrom such types of awareness raising activities.Advocating for improved conditions and specificallytargeting vulnerable groups is thus a complementarystrategy that CSOs should see as an alternative toenable individuals not to have to migrate irregularlyand to increase the possibilities of a better life in thecountry of origin.Protecting families and childrenremaining in the country of originHuman rights concerns related to the migrationprocess affect not only those actually leaving but alsotheir families that remain in the country of origin. Itis estimated that among the 214 million people livingoutside their country of origin, around 33 million –16 percent – are under 20 years of age 11 . Between2000 and 2010, the number of international migrantsunder the age of 20 increased by almost 2 million 12 .Restrictions of regular migration impact the wayparents 13 and families migrate, increasing thelikelihood of children of migrant parents, unwillingly“left behind” in countries of origin, experiencingprolonged periods of family separation and reducedaccess to rights and services as a result of parentalabsence. Poor households may face short-termlosses when an income-earner decides to migrateand assets may be sold to fund migration, and amigrant’s departure can often leave a family withoutsocial protection for instance in cases whereinsurance is linked to the individual’s employment 14 .Further challenges faced by children remaining inthe country of origin when a parent or both parentsmigrate include psychosocial trauma, familyinstability, and social stigma 15 , which can result inviolent and delinquent behaviour, drug abuse, andteenage pregnancy 16 . As highlighted with concernby the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child,the education of children remaining in the countryof origin, particularly girls, is often jeopardized by10 Maruja M.B Asis and Dovelyn Rannveig Agunas,“Strengthening PredepartureOrientation Programmes in Indonesia, Nepal and thePhilippines”,International Organisation for Migration and MigrationPolicy Institute 2012.11 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Day of GeneralDiscussion, “The Rights of All Children in the Context of InternationalMigration”, Background Paper, August 2012.12 François Crépeau, Special Rapporteur on Migrants, UNICEF, theUniversity of Lanus and the Platform for International Cooperation onUndocumented Migrants (PICUM), “Human Rights of UndocumentedAdolescents and Youth”, forthcoming.13 In the chapter, the term “parents” is used to refer to parent(s) or otherprimary caregiver(s).14 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Day of GeneralDiscussion, “The Rights of all Children in the Context of InternationalMigration”, Background Paper, August 2012.15 The Committee on the Rights of the Child has stressed its concern “atthe disruption and changes in the family situation due to the high andincreasing migration flows and at the high and increasing number ofchildren left behind either by their mother or father working abroad”(Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations:The Philippines, CRC/C/PHL/CO/3-4). In the case of Romania, theCommittee is concerned “about media reports of several cases ofsuicide, particularly among children left behind by migrating parents,although statistics on such cases are not systematically collected”(Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations:Romania, CRC/C/ROM/CO/4. 2009).16 UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Day of GeneralDiscussion, “The Rights of all Children in the Context of InternationalMigration”, Background Paper, August 2012.27

Beyond Irregularitytheir obligations to fulfill household duties and carefor younger siblings and other family members 17 . Inaddition, family reunification is deemed to be one ofthe main causes of the increasing number of bothregular and irregular international child migrants,including unaccompanied and separated migrantchildren 18 .Public policies often fail to recognize these specificvulnerabilities or take into consideration theparticular needs of families and children who findthemselves involved in the migration process, even ifthey haven’t left their countries of origin themselves.Child protection measures and better care standardscan help to prevent abuse, violence and exploitation,for instance promoting an adequate standard ofliving - access to education, housing, healthcare -as well as protection from child labour. At the sametime, family reunification, wherever possible, andafter applying the principle of the best interests ofthe child, can serve to reduce the risk of irregularmigration.special focusUnited Nations Convention on the Rightsof the ChildThe International Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC) affirms that any strategy on therights of the child should be rooted in the following four basic principles:• protection against all forms of discrimination (article 2)• the best interests of the child (article 3(1))• the right to life and development (article 6)• the right to be heard in judicial and administrative proceedings (article 12)While there are no global figures referring to childrenremaining in countries of origin, research in recentyears 19 has indicated that 3-6 million children in thePhilippines, one million children in Indonesia, and500,000 children in Thailand remain in their countriesof origin while parents are working overseas.These numbers imply that roughly 10-20 percent ofFilipino children, and 2-3 percent of Indonesian andThai children, have one or both parents overseas.Enforcing a child protection regime is a key first stepto address this issue and limits the risk that thesechildren would migrate through irregular channelsand at any cost, in order to reach their parents.17 The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has pointed out withconcern that many children remaining in the country of origin,particularly girls, “need to take on responsibilities for the householdand their younger brothers and sisters owing to, inter alia, […] thelack of support for these children.” (Committee on the Rights of theChild, Concluding Observations: Ecuador, CRC/C/ECU/CO/4, 2010).18 United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), “Access to Civil, Economicand Social Rights for Children in the Context of Irregular Migration”,Submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child Day ofGeneral Discussion on “The Rights of All Children in the Context ofInternational Migration”, 28 September 2012.A variety of initiatives have been adopted to promotea child protection regime, engaging a broad rangeof stakeholders and generally focusing on education.Training and inclusion in school curricula of issuesrelated to migration and related topics such as labourexploitation and trafficking, as well as giving childrenadvice on how to migrate relatively safely, can becontroversial. Many organizations feel that they haveno right or interest in encouraging young people toleave home and sometimes are also worried aboutthe consequences if young people happen to migrateand are subsequently abused. Nonetheless, practicaladvice is important for young people and withholdingsuch information can scarcely be regarded in theirbest interests.19 John Bryan, “Children of International Migrants in Indonesia,Thailand, and the Philippines: a review of evidence and policies ”,Innocenti Working Paper, 2005.28

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processcase studyProfessional training and civics classes forfamilies remaining in the country of originThe NGO Atikha in the Philippines provides economic and social services to overseas Filipinos aswell as to their families remaining in the Philippines when they migrate. The organization aims tohelp address the social cost of migration by organizing professional training and civics class tohelp children and families remaining in countries of origin to become more self-reliant and turninto active citizens.Atikha has published a guide for primary and secondary school teachers to integrate issuesconcerning migration into lesson plans and school activities. The objective of the guide is toenhance participants’ responsibility towards savings; strengthen gender sensitivity and theirentrepreneurial disposition, as well as their interest in education; increase the recognition ofparents’ decision to migrate; and highlight the importance for parents to communicate with theirchildren and family remaining in the Philippines on a regular basis.Children in the context of migration can also becomevictims of trafficking. According to the ILO, nearly2.5 million people are in forced labour as a result oftrafficking, of whom 22 to 50 percent are children 20 . Itis estimated that globally 1 in 5 victims of traffickingare children, and these numbers may be much higherin States where there are weak child protectionregimes 21 . In Nigeria, with a population of 140 millionpeople of whom 40% are under 14 years old, 15million children under the age of 14 are working. Avery high proportion of these children are exposedto long hours of work in dangerous and unhealthyenvironments, carrying too much responsibility fortheir age. Working in these hazardous conditions withlittle food, small pay, no education and no medicalcare establishes a cycle of child rights violations 22Child trafficking is frequently hidden, denied orignored. To address the complex processes andsituations whereby children affected by migrationbecome victims of exploitation, abuse and trafficking,a multidisciplinary approach is needed. This shouldinvolve applying the “best interest determinationprocedure” and engage child protection servicesin order to provide the child with adequate supportand assistance, including medical, social, legal, andpsychological care, as well as further integration orreintegration support.20 International Labour Office (ILO), “A Global Alliance against ForcedLabour: Global report under the follow-up to the ILO Declarationon Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work 2005”, Report (B),International Labour Conference, 93rd Session 2005, ILO Publications2005, pp. 14–15.21 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), DraftContribution to Joint GMG Thematic Report Migration, Youth andHuman Rights: Challenges and Opportunities.22 ILO, National Child Labour Survey 2003, available at

Beyond Irregularitycase studyInitiative to protect children who arerecruited into forced labor from Beninto NigeriaIn Benin, legislation forbids the displacement of children for reasons of work, whether the workis voluntary or forced. Nonetheless, many children have no other choice than to go to work tohelp their impoverished families, lest they become victims of forced labour.In this framework, the NGO Terre des Hommes (TDH) and other organizations are implementingan initiative called “protective accompanying” that offers services needed to guarantee thehealth, protection and a better future for child victims of exploitation and trafficking between theCommunity of Zakpota in Benin and the gravel quarries of Abeokuta in Nigeria, where they areoften recruited for work. Not all of these potential young migrants are children whose parentshave previously migrated, but the protection system in place takes a comprehensive approachlooking at children first and foremost.TDH facilitates meetings between members of the government and the children in their villages inBenin and in their workplace in the Nigerian quarries, to better understand these children’s need forprotection. The focus is on allowing children to speak for themselves and understand and respondto their needs, find concrete solutions beyond prosecution of employers and forced removals ofchild workers, and implement measures for their reintegration into their local communities.The strategies illustrated above aim to enforce asystem for child rights protection and promotionthat should not only limit the negative effects ofmigration on children left without parental care dueto migration, but avoid that children in general seemigration at any cost as the only available option toimprove their situation.ConclusionAs underscored by the Office of the HighCommissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), humanrights play a crucial role in the decisions to migrate ofboth adults and children 23 . Indeed, “the vast majorityof migrants have all suffered some kind of constrainton their rights in their country of origin” 24 .Strategies illustrated in this chapter all start fromthis basic premise: human rights protection startsin the country of origin, well before the migrationprocess starts. In the pre-departure phase it isimportant to ensure that prospective migrants areaware of their possibilities for a successful migrationexperience and are also able to seek assistance incase their rights are violated. On the other hand,organizations that intervene at this stage should notoverlook hidden realities facing migrant familiesremaining in the country of origin and should ensurethat these families receive adequate support. Lastbut not least, improving human rights standards inthe country of origin should become a priority forevery programme addressing migration and mustbe considered as the ideal “preventative strategy”regarding irregular migration.23 “The Cairo World Conference urged governments to make the optionof not migrating – ‘remaining in one’s country’ – a viable one for ‘allpeople’. To this end, it called on governments to respect the rightsof minorities and indigenous people, and the rule of law, to promotehuman rights and good governance, and to strengthen democracy;it urged greater support for food security, education, nutritionand health. Endorsing this approach, the Global Commission onInternational Migration urged that “Women, men and children shouldbe able to realize their potential, meet their needs, exercise theirhuman rights and fulfill their aspirations in their country of originand hence migrate out of choice, rather than necessity”. Office ofthe High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), “Migration andDevelopment: A Human Rights Approach”, Geneva, 2008.24 Victor Abramovich, Pablo Ceriani Cernadas, Alejandro Morlachetti,“The Rights of Children, Youth and Women in the Context ofMigration”, UNICEF Policy and Practice, April 2011.30

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processjTOOLS & TIPS• List the various causes leading to irregular migration in thecountry of origin and assess “safe migration” opportunities.• Identify tools (e.g. printed material; online resources; manuals;comic books; outreach media campaigns; help desks, etc.) toinform migrants about their rights throughout their migrationprocess – the “life cycle approach”- and develop their capacitiesto exercise them.• Encourage partnerships among countries of origin, transit anddestination and engage with a broad range of stakeholders inorder to offer different levels of assistance beyond informationand counseling.• Privilege a participatory approach in pre-departure traininginitiatives, in a peer-to-peer learning format.• Ensure that awareness-raising initiatives focusing on the migrationexperience include reference to the situations lived by families andespecially children remaining in the country of origin and establisha monitoring and evaluation system of children remaining incountries of origin (including data collection).• Enforce a child protection framework to protect children and avoidthat children migrate at any cost and become victims of forcedlabour and trafficking.• Focus on capacity-building for professionals working with children(teachers, psychologists, police, health workers, etc.) as well asfamily members, on the vulnerability of children remaining in thecountries of origin and protection of their rights.• Advocate for a general improvement of human rights standardsand related protection mechanisms.31

Beyond IrregularityStage Two:On the MoveMigrants on the move:violence and other risks duringthe journeyDespite an international framework designedto protect and promote the human rights of allindividuals, migrants experience numerous humanrights violations, especially while crossing borders.Long and dangerous fragmented journeys havebecome a common feature of global migrationsystems. International migration may involve severalcountries through which people merely transit or inwhich they stay for shorter or longer periods of time.A variety of factors determine an individual’s route,including the reasons for departure in first place;migration laws for entry, stay and exit in the countriesconcerned; availability of financial resources;cultural, family and social ties; and not least chanceand improvisation. Most migrants interviewed for the“Beyond Irregularity” Project 25 said that the migrationroute could take anything from a few weeks to anumber of years and is often long and harrowing asa way to evade border controls and reach the countryof destination. The intended migration project canevolve during the journey itself and is informed by themultiplicity of factors highlighted above.The “Beyond Irregularity” Project researchhighlighted that it is also important to recognizethat many sub-Saharan migrants, before reachingtheir final destination, have already lived and workedfor an extended period in what one Europeanstakeholder described as “transnational mobility.”Consequently, their journey should be located inthis context of this fluid migration, facilitated by theminimal border controls and regulations betweenmany countries in the sub-Saharan region, includingthe free movement of labour within ECOWAS 26 .Beyond the uncertainty and variety of modelscharacterizing international movements, violenceand fatalities are increasingly appearing as a commonfeature. The number of migrants who are killed orinjured during lengthy and extremely risky overlandor maritime journeys has increased significantlyin recent years. UNHCR reported a total of 4,376migrants lost or dead at sea in the Mediterraneanbetween 2007 and 2011, with a 78% increase 27 duringthis time period. States are progressively limitingavenues for regular migration and harsheningdeportation and detention policies, renderingirregular channels the only alternative for migration.A recent report by Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) 28outlines how restrictive immigration policies make25 Myriam Cherti, Jenny Pennington, Peter Grant, “Beyond Borders:Human Trafficking from Nigeria to the UK”, IPPR January 2013;Myriam Cherti, Peter Grant, “Sub-Saharan Irregular Migrants inMorocco”, IPPR forthcoming; and also Jenny Pennington, BrhmieBalaram, “Homecoming: Return and Reintegration of IrregularMigrants from Nigeria”, IPPR April 2013.26 Myriam Cherti, Peter Grant, “Sub-Saharan Irregular Migrants inMorocco”, IPPR forthcoming.27 Paola Monzini , “Trafficking in the Mediterranean region: anoverview of recent trends” , Contribution to the OSCE Seminaron “Co-Operation to Prevent Trafficking in Human Beings in theMediterranean Region”, held in Rome on 8 February 2013.28 Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), “The Illness of Migration. Ten Yearsof Medical Humanitarian Assistance to Migrants in Europe and inTransit Countries”,Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF 2013. Please for more info.32

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processit harder and much more dangerous for people toseek safety and a better life for themselves and theirfamilies. In some transit countries MSF observedan increase in the number of patients with violencerelatedinjuries and heard testimonies of migrantssurviving capture, detention and torture while livingin transit.The “Beyond Irregularity” Project research alsofound that violence was a characterizing feature ofmany migrants’ experiences:IPPR, “Sub-Saharan Irregular Migration inMorocco”Where I went to that was where the ambushwas. I ran into a group of Nigerian guys whoheld me up, they put a knife on my neck, theyput me on the ground like you want to slaughtera cow. Their foot on my head they put the knifeand they were searching my bag. If I was afrancophone they would have killed me...Theywere searching they were speaking Frenchwith me and I said I am not a francophone. Theytook my driver’s license they took my Ghanaianpassport and that is what saved me, when theysaw I was a Ghanaian.Ghanaian migrant, male.This chapter begins with an overview of possibleapproaches that can be adopted to enhance theprotection of migrants on the move. It furtherillustrates how the lack of research and datarelated to migrants’ experience during the journeycontribute to hiding the often tragic and traumaticrealities faced by people on the move, as well asthe ineffectiveness of many policies focused oncontrolling borders and preventing migrants frompursue their migration plans. It also emphasizes theimportance of evidence-based research to denouncehuman rights violations and defend migrants’ rights.The importance of building a network and working incooperation amongst countries of origin, transit anddestination to ensure justice and protection acrossborders is also underlined.Adopting a human rightsapproach regardless of theprotection framework in placeThe absence of a well-founded mechanism to dealwith migrants on the move, addressing their humanrights concerns and ensuring their protection, hascreated a sort of “legal loophole” where states havefelt free of passed laws and policies according to asecurity approach that put national interests aheadof the well-being of migrants on the move 29 . It isurgent to seek ways to manage these movementsfrom a human rights perspective, going beyondborder controls and strategies to prevent and punishirregular migration.Within the legal framework for refugee protection,there have been numerous discussions and effortsto examine more broadly the relationships betweenprotection, solutions and migration. The UnitedNations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)has thought that adopting a human rights approachto international mixed movements, where refugeesoften travel along with other migrants, is the best wayto address the vulnerabilities that affect all peopleon the move 30 . UNHCR has repeatedly stressedthe obligation of the international community toimperatively address the phenomena of internationalmigration in a more coherent and comprehensivemanner, and have encouraged governments toconsider these movements no longer as a threatto their sovereignty and security but as a risk forthose people travelling in inhumane conditions andpotentially exposed to exploitation and abuse.29 Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), “The Illness of Migration. Ten Yearsof Medical Humanitarian Assistance to Migrants in Europe and inTransit Countries”, MSF 2013, and Asociación Pro Derechos Humanosde Andalucía, “Derechos Humanos en la Frontera Sur”, Areá deinmigracíon de la APDH 2013.30 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Dialogueon “Refugee Protection, Durable Solutions in the Context ofInternational Migration”, held in 2007 in Geneva.33

Beyond Irregularityspecial focusA guide for the protection of migrantson the moveIn 2006, the UNHCR formalized a key resource – the 10-Point Plan - that constitutes a strategictool to support advocacy, containing a compilation of practical examples on how best facechallenges posed by international migration, especially in transit and destination countries, as away to find a proper balance between national interests and international responsibilities.Four years after the adoption of the 10-Point Plan, UNHCR launched a compilation of practicesrelevant to the implementation of the Plan across its various subject areas. The compilationdescribes the steps of the UNHCR strategy, originally created to enhance refugees’ protection thatcould serve as examples to address the human rights concerns of other categories of vulnerablemigrants on the move. UNHCR recommends that any measure adopted should be complementedby information campaigns in countries of origin, transit and destination. People need to be alertedof the dangers of irregular movement and the difficulties they might face upon arrival, as well asto any alternatives to irregular migration which might also meet their circumstances.Digging into different protection frameworks issometimes useful to learn about other approachesand strategies. Many anti-trafficking specialistshave also fostered the importance of avoiding strictcategorization of vulnerable groups and promoteda broader approach that addresses fair workingconditions, women’s rights and child protectionbefore protection mechanisms for trafficking victimsare enacted. They also believe that migration statusis a vulnerability factor in situations of humantrafficking and exploitation. Therefore, reinforcingprotection in crucial areas, where migrants facediscrimination, is of utmost importance for victims ofexploitation and abuse. Access to labour rights andfair working conditions, access to protection, justicemechanisms and redress as well as access to basicsocial services are most relevant.34

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processspecial focusImportance of incorporating a humanrights approach in anti-trafficking workThe Global Alliance Against Trafficked Women (GAATW) is a network launched in 1994 by a groupof women’s rights activists and has members in Africa, Asia, Europe, LAC and North Americacommitted to ensure that the human rights of all migrating women are respected and protectedby authorities and agencies. Having worked within the anti-trafficking framework for many years,GAATW affirms that excessive focus on the issue of human trafficking has tended to ignore otherrelated phenomena, such as people’s experience in migration and work. It creates the falseimpression that trafficking is a problem that can be solved by merely taking a few legal measuresand providing assistance to those identified as trafficked. Thus, the long term goal of advocatingfor systemic and structural changes in society is overlooked. GAATW encourages governments,NGOs and all stakeholders to adopt different frameworks that can be used at different momentsto increase migrants’ power over their own situations.GAATW’s approach on strategies to be implemented to fight against trafficking carries with it animportant lesson. Why do labour rights matter for trafficked persons and irregular migrants?Why should child protection systems be enforced to assist all children regardless of their status(migrant, trafficked, unaccompanied, “left behind”, etc.)? How could women’s rights preventpeople fleeing from violence and ensure justice when abuses occur? Mainstreaming a humanrights approach into strategies is crucial for ensuring that actions are effectively centered on theindividual’s needs and no pre-packed solutions are imposed. GAATW suggests that wheneverCSOs find it difficult to determine the best protection framework to adopt, especially in cases ofmigrants on the move, the main international human rights instruments should be applied withno hesitation.35

Beyond IrregularityUsing evidence-based researchto raise awareness and makegovernments accountable for thehuman rights of migrantsThe lack of implementation of the existinginternational human rights framework protectingmigrants regardless of status is also due to challengesin gathering data and the limited use of researchfor investigating human rights violations occurringduring migrants’ journeys. The lack of coordinationand collaboration has sometimes been resolved ifthe purpose of collecting data is to identify travelroutes, discovering criminal gangs and smugglers,and strengthening border controls to preventirregular migrants from reaching their destination.Nonetheless, there is a growing movement of civilsociety organizations that, individually at nationallevel, and more often collectively at regional andglobal level, are trying to fill the gap of research inthe field of human rights violations in the context ofinternational migration. There are also initiativesthat are using the evidence collected to denouncethose violations, holding governments accountableand seeking justice for all beyond studyMonitoring human rights in theMediterraneanMigreurop is a network of 43 organizations and 36 individual members based in 16 countriesacross Europe, Africa and the Middle East. It was founded after strong media attention towardsthe situation in Sangatte, France, during the year 2000, when migrants who were detainedreached first public opinion and then forced policy makers to respond. Initially created in orderto spread knowledge about the detention of undocumented migrants, to gather informationabout the complex reality of migrants on the move 31 and their living conditions in the camps andto denounce abuses and violations of human rights, Migreurop has progressively enforced itsadvocacy position.Today Migreurop is at the forefront of the battle for ensuring adequate protection to migrantsregardless of status during sea rescue operations and aims to maintain a civilian presence onmaritime borders in the Mediterranean, with the following campaigns:…31 See for more information Migreurop, “Atlas of Migrants in Europe”, Armand Colin 2012. The Atlas is a compilation of Europeanmigration policies and activities illustrated through the spatial organization of the European Union’s migration borders, whosemain objective is to make the human impact of the strengthening of migration controls visible. It describes the living conditions ofmigrants who are blocked at the borders or live in those territories that are at the margins of existence (from Calais in France toOujda in Morocco), and highlights the hidden reality of the dangerous journeys of those who move across borders.36

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration process…,,Boat4People, an international coalition established to end deaths at maritimeborders and to defend migrants’ rights at sea, began in July 2012 with a boatrally between Italy and Tunisia, composed of activists, parliamentarians,artists and journalists. The campaign facilitated the enlargement of thenetwork of NGOs and the creation of an alliance of sailors in charge ofalerting human rights violations at sea. Today Boat4People continues itswork through Watchthemed, an initiative that aims to collect informationconcerning incidents at sea from all possible sources, such as distress signals sent out bycoast guards, different types of documentation coming from seamen, the press and migrantsthemselves, as well as satellite imagery.,,Frontexit was launched in March 2013 and focuses on the work of theEuropean Union agency Frontex, which was created in 2004 to keepEU external borders under surveillance. Frontexit aims at defendingthe rights of all migrants at the external borders of the EuropeanUnion. It is led by 21 associations, researchers and individuals from both North and South ofthe Mediterranean (Belgium, Cameroon, France, Italy, Mali, Morocco, Mauritania) internationalorganizations, regional networks that agreed to cooperate to investigate the functioning ofFrontex, as well as its transparency and respect for human rights. The website contains acollection of practical and accessible tools to support the campaign, including a toolkit withdetailed information about the structure of European migration policy, the activities of theFrontex agency and issues concerning human rights.Collecting data and using evidence-based researchto denounce violations of human rights and abusesoccurring across borders is a powerful strategy thatcan contribute to save lives. As policies and actionsare often elaborated in the absence of concrete data,there is an urgent need to reveal the realities facedby migrants, since security measures often tend toincrease danger and death at borders.To collect information on very vulnerable groupsin constant fear of being arrested or deported, itis important to have a relation based on trust, asmany migrants are generally reluctant to speakabout their stories. NGOs and other advocates thathave gained their trust can play an important role byfacilitating access to the target group. NGOs oftenwork with researchers and/or academic institutionsto capitalize on the effects of an investigation.Such collaboration can lead to fruitful results.Furthermore, when such research is conducted ina participatory manner, and is based within migrantcommunities, it can also have a direct impact on thetarget group participating. This is even more validwhen information is used as a legal basis to searchrecourse in justice.37

Beyond Irregularitycase studyDocumenting abuses to protect therights of migrants on the moveJustice Without Borders (JWB) is a network with members based in different countries acrossEurope and Africa. It seeks to combat violations of migrants’ rights linked to deportations andrefoulements. JWB carries out transnational actions that combine the use of legal mechanisms,advocacy, and documentation and reporting of abuses, capacity building, and strengtheningcollaboration and communication amongst partners.Using testimonies of serious and repeated violations of migrants’ rights documented in the fieldby its members, as well as judicial cases, JWB contributed significantly to the adoption of aresolution on human rights violations against migrants by the African Commission on HumanRights and Peoples during its 51st Session held on 18 April 2012, in Banjul, Gambia.JWB conducts field research, in collaboration with a wide range of experts and researchers,working at the NGO level or within academic institutions as well as law groups and otherprofessionals, to produce reports on the human rights of migrants. JWB’s website contains alist of available resources with useful information on the situation in the Western Africa regionand examples of litigation, communication strategies and campaigns, and legislative advocacy.JWB is also devoted to increase the capacity of partner organizations through trainings, technicalassistance in legal, financial and other matters and through the development of common tools.The training of organizations that lack resources to systematically collect data, and lack thecapacity to understand the potential of their “knowledge” in terms of advocacy and legal strategy,is a necessary step to reduce also the feeling of powerlessness characterizing many migrantson the move.38

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processBuilding partnerships to facilitatetransnational cooperation andenforce migrants’ protection onthe moveThe previous examples all share the samecharacteristic of being based on a broad partnership,involving countries from different regions of theworld and along the migration continuum (countriesof origin, transit and destination). The benefits oftransnational cooperation are particularly evidentwhen migrants are moving, as governmentscommonly evade their responsibility towardsmigrants crossing borders, under the premise thatif migrants are merely in “transit,” they won’t remainfor long within their jurisdictions. Nonetheless,migration journeys may often be unpredictable aswell as full of risks and uncertainties, and hencecoordinated actions amongst countries of origin,transit and destination can effectively fulfill migrants’rights across all phases of the migration cycle.A cooperative approach both benefits individualmigrants and promotes mutual development andgood relations between origin, transit and studyBuilding an alliance to intervene atnational level through transnationalcooperationThe West Africa Network for the Protection of Children - formerly called “West Africa Programme”(WAP) – is a civil society initiative that aims to set up national and transnational measures torespond to the protection needs of children in a situation of instability. WAN promotes regionalcooperation between the participating states and civil society organizations in the ECOWASregion to protect and reinsert, in professional and social life, children who are displaced and in avulnerable situation within the West Africa transnational context. WAN is based on a participativeapproach involving children, families, NGOs, governments and childhood professionals. Theprogramme has concrete implication of different actors at national and transnational levels, aswell as specific individualized follow-up of the child beyond borders.WAN has set minimum common standards for child protection, supported by joint approachesand harmonized procedures. The strategy consists of eight steps for child protection, from theidentification to reintegration process, including the assessment of the family situation and thechild environment; the opportunity to place the child out of its family to ensure better protectionand guarantee its best interests. Reintegration is monitored in the two years following return.39

Beyond IrregularityThe power of a network can be very useful inhighlighting the human rights concerns of aparticularly hidden population that falls outsidegovernments’ priorities and strategies. Cooperationamongst countries to ensure equitable and humaneconditions in connection with international migrationis recognized by the international community as vitalfor effective migration management. Internationalinstruments call for cooperation between statesto promote good governance of migration andprotection of migrant workers. 32ConclusionThis chapter emphasized the need to increaseand improve data collection on the realities of thejourneys that characterize irregular migration andhas highlighted the utility and power of research todenounce human rights violations occurring duringthis particularly risky stage of the migration process,make governments accountable for them and betterprotect migrants rights through legal assistance andadvocacy 33 . Cooperation of different stakeholdersat global, regional, national and local levels is anessential element of this strategy that enforcesa “shared responsibility” to overcome existingbarriers.32 See for example: the International Convention on the Protection ofthe Rights of all Migrants Workers and Members of their Families;the Protocol against Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air andthe Protocol to Prevent Suppress and Punish Trafficking in PersonsEspecially Women and Children.33 On 22 April 2013, the UN Committee on the Protection of the Rights ofAll Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (CMW) held a Dayof General Discussion about the importance for migration statisticsin the protection of human rights and in the design of evidence-basedpolicies and decision making. Through an exchange of the differentexperiences and good practices in the systematic collection andanalysis of migration data, participants learnt about the challengesto closing gaps in methodologies, quality and practices as wellas the solutions that are being adopted to gain information on theprotection of rights and that data on habitually “hidden” populations- including irregular migrants, migrant domestic workers, migrantsin administrative detention, children of migrants. This was a publicmeeting in which representatives of governments, UN bodies andspecialized agencies, intergovernmental organizations and nongovernmentalorganizations participated. For more informationplease click here.40

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processjTOOLS & TIPS• Privilege a human rights approach above all, when applying thenecessary protection framework.• Improve communication channels between relevant stakeholders(including sailors, border guards and people in charge of rescueoperations) for data sharing, exchange statistical non-personaldata, and establish data-sharing agreements.• Develop mechanisms to ensure that the data collected by differentstakeholders is comparable.• Establish partnership at national, regional and international levelto facilitate the process of data collection and sharing and also toensure better dissemination and outreach activities.• Develop databases to systematically store data, simply linked toeveryday work –for instance about people accessing the servicesprovided by the NGO- and use those to inform policy-making.• Compile other relevant primary or secondary data, including bycollating data from various institutions at the national level (e.g.population censuses, surveys, and interviews): this is useful tounderstand the context and the target but also to avoid researchingon topics already covered by other organizations• Encourage the participation of migrants directly, that can providedetailed information about their stories and can feel empoweredby the research process in itself: listen to migrants stories andexplain to migrants the power of their experience, how this can beused, and that other people share the same situation.• If feasible, beyond stories, develop case management andprocedural tools to increase the efficiency of legal advice: combinemigrants’ stories and information regarding their experience withthe existing legal framework to classify data according to theirpotential procedural use.• Ensure that all processes and procedures are sensitive to age,gender and diversity.41

Beyond IrregularityRaising awarenesson migrants’ rightsCommunication strategyGiving voice and visibility to the problems many migrants face, using their own words as well as their ownexperience, can have a positive impact on public perception. As part of a strategy to uphold migrants’ rights,communication is crucial to circulate the results of organizations’ work and engage with more potentialpartners and allies, as well as to have a broader impact on public opinion.jtools and TOOLS strategies & TIPSBasic Communications Tips for Migrants’ Rights NGOs 51Production (creating your stories) – should be done by theorganization.1. Be clear about your objective: don’t take any communicationsaction without relating it to a measureable, core objective of yourorganization.2. Back up your story: the average journalist/reader is not anexpert and is sceptical. Use authoritative facts and figures topersuade them. Drain out the drama; use neutral language. Letthe facts tell the story; show, don’t tell.3. Find a fresh angle: people are saturated with messages ofsuffering and are becoming immune. A positive approach to aThe SilentHumanitarian Crisisin Greece: DevisingStrategies to Improvethe Situation ofMigrants in Greecestory can get you heard, while drawing attention to the negative stories that you reallywant to push.4. Use a unique format: use info graphics, photography, video (even from a mobile phone)rather than text (which can’t go viral). You have the tools – use them. Surprise people.Distribution (sending your stories out) – can be done by volunteers5. Use today’s distribution tools: get on Twitter and learn how to use it; it’s an activisthub, but also valuable for monitoring. Wordpress (blogs)/and YouTube (video) are alsoimportant tools and easy to use.6. Cultivate your contacts: coffee is the best social media, and activists represent a smallcommunity. Don’t sit behind a screen; get out there and build relationships – it is worththe investment.7. Considering international media outreach: if your story is big enough, targetinternational media to get on the national media’s agenda that way.Monitoring (checking how well your stories were received) – can be done by volunteers8. Use today’s monitoring tools: like Google News/Google Alerts/Twitter.9. Learn the landscape: see who is writing about your issue, who the influencers are, andsend your next announcements to them.10. Check back on your objective: did you achieve it? Feed your lessons learned back intoyour production.WORKSHOP REPORT4251 Mehran Khalili, Strategic Communications Expert published in Platform for International Cooperation onUndocumented Migrants, “The Silent Humanitarian Crisis in Greece. Devising Strategies to Improve the Situation ofMigrants in Greece”, PICUM 2013, April 2013.

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processHow to build a campaignRunning a campaign constitutes a way of bringing a message to the attention of policy makers and thegeneral public, seeking both awareness raising and political change. A campaign can be conducted at globaland local level. In the first case, it serves to disseminate the message to a broader audience and influencedecision makers. Locally it enables for adapting the message to different realities in the field, while ensuringthat concrete outcomes reach final insightLessons learnt from an internationalcampaignTerres des Hommes International Federation (TDHIF) consists of ten member organizationsbased in different countries that provide active support to children, without racial, religious,political, cultural or gender-based discrimination. In 2001 TDHIF launched an internationalcampaign on the issue of child trafficking. After ten years, an assessment of the campaignhighlighted some important lessons learnt that could serve as an example on how to build aninternational campaign.From the publication called “Beyond a Snapshot”, here are some useful tips to build a campaign:,,Speak a common language. developing a glossary.,,Include a period of fact-finding in the preparation of the campaign and don’t rely only on preexistingresearch on the issue.,,Ensure strong coordination to avoid a different set of priorities across the participatingorganizations or even contradictory message.,,Work if possible with pre-existing networks, especially at national/local level. In the absenceof any available coordination structure at national/local level try to identify the mostexperienced and legitimate organization in the selected issue.,,Constantly inform the campaign and its participating members with up-to date evidence andexamples of “good practices”. Maintaining a digital library on the topic that is the subject ofthe campaign. Be aware that alternative dissemination methods should be made availablein case internet connection is not easy to access. Moreover, publishing and disseminatingreports on good practices and manuals is not sufficient in itself, but needs to be supplementedby suitable training programmes (possibly on-line training, preferably interactive).,,Identify harmful side-effects of the chosen message. Monitoring and evaluation should becarried on throughout the campaign and emphasis should be put on the feedback collectedfrom the target group of the campaign.,,Make sure that the objective of the campaign is a priority for every country in which thecampaign will be disseminated. Therefore, wherever possible the campaign should setdifferent degrees of achievement in order to adapt the objective to the situation experiencedin the country.,,Manage public information and relations with the media. For example, develop a “gradingsystem for press review”, a method for objectively assessing the quality of newspaperreports. Additionally, organize short courses for journalists and awarding prizes to theauthors of good quality articles.43

Beyond IrregularityStage Three:Arrival and IntegrationMigrants in the destinationcountry: flexibility andvulnerability of immigration statusMany migrants go through different statuses atdifferent times; for example, they may migrateregularly, lose their status, and later have theopportunity to regularize their status. Regularmigrants can move into a situation of irregularityafter loss of employment or residence status,arbitrary confiscation of documents by employers,rejection of a claim for international protection, etc.The numerous routes to becoming an undocumentedmigrant demonstrate the flexibility of immigrationstatus and how migrants can arbitrarily slip between“regular” and “irregular” status.IPPR, “Beyond Borders: Human Traffickingfrom Nigeria to the UK”Community based support…for a lot of women isactually their first port of call, particularly if theyescape under their own stream rather than insome sort of brothel raid or immigration raid…So if they escape by themselves, it’s entirelylikely that they will wonder around until they hearsomeone speaking Yoruba. Or…they go to themarket or…to the church or (other) community(locations) where they try to find support.- British StakeholderIPPR, “Beyond Borders: Human Traffickingfrom Nigeria to the UK”Until I met them (the police) I was so scared andnow I know that they are good, they want to help.If I saw them coming towards me. I ran away, I hid.- Female 24The lack of a stable residence status contributes tothe sense of isolation that migrants often experiencein the country of destination, compounded by thepredicament of being irregular and potentiallybeing criminalized upon disclosing their status tothose who could offer support. This further bringsmarginalization, destitution, and even exclusion fromsociety, resulting in greater obstacles in accessing thefundamental rights irregular migrants are entitled to.There are large discrepancies between human rightsnorms and their implementation, as States Partieswho have ratified various international human rightsinstruments often fail to comply with their obligations.Non-discrimination, together with equality beforethe law and equal protection of the law, constitute abasic and general principle relating to the protection44

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processuseful resource/The European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) published a comprehensivecomparative report on the fundamental rights of irregular migrants in the European Union in2011. The FRA reviewed available literature and legal sources, sent a set of questionnairesto national and local authorities as well as civil society representatives and interviewedmigrants in an irregular situation and those who work with them. Based on the findingsof this research, the report advises on how fundamental rights should be incorporated inpolicies, laws and administrative practices affecting migrants in irregular situations.of human rights. The Universal Declaration ofHuman Rights (UDHR) confirms that human rightsapply to all persons, “without distinction of any kind,such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, politicalor other opinion, national or social origin, property,birth or other status.” 34This chapter addresses conditions faced byundocumented migrants in their country of destination,starting from the consideration of the importance ofusing the right terms and communicating carefullyto the media, the public at large and policy makersin order to avoid discriminatory discourse towardsan already vulnerable population. Discriminatoryattitudes can also create barriers in accessingrights and undocumented migrants face manyobstacles when seeking housing, healthcare andeducation. Mainstreaming migrants’ rights intopublic policies reaffirms governments’ obligationsto protect, promote and fulfill the rights accorded toundocumented migrants by the legal framework inplace. A section on labour exploitation and genderbased-violence looks at how the legal framework inplace can best be used to seek justice and enforcefair working conditions for undocumented. Finally,building capacities through empowerment, as a wayof obtaining increased protection for undocumentedmigrants, is illustrated through examples of usingcommunity work and unionizing migrant workers.Monitoring, reporting anddenouncing violence: choosingthe right terminology andcommunication toolsAdvocating for the use of the term “undocumentedmigrants” (or alternatively, “irregular migrants”)as opposed to “illegal migrants”, in referring tomigrants without a valid residence permit, is astrategy increasingly being taken by a multitude ofnon-governmental organizations, local authorities,professionals and migrants’ organizations toinfluence public opinion about migrants. Hostileterminology where irregular migrants arereferred to as “illegal” can lead to discriminatorybehaviour, hinder public acceptance of migrants,and exacerbate social exclusion. Being in a countrywithout the required papers is, in most countries,not a criminal offence but an administrativeinfringement.34 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 2, UN 1948.45

Beyond Irregularityexpert insightCriminalization of irregular migrationHuman rights authorities have repeatedly emphasized that irregular migration should notbe criminalized.,,The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has expressed the view that“criminalizing illegal entry into a country exceeds the legitimate interest of States tocontrol and regulate illegal immigration”.,,The UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, Francois Crépeau, in his2012 report to the Human Rights Council, noted that, “it is important to emphasize thatirregular migrants are not criminals per se, and should not be treated as such”.,,The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has stated that, “crossing a border orresiding in a country without the legal permission to do so should at most be consideredan administrative offence”.,,Criminalizing irregular migration tends to have a disproportionately negative effecton the rights and well-being of the migrants involved. Additionally, most policiesof criminalization fail to reach their objective of deterrence. In May 2011, a GlobalRoundtable organised by OHCHR and UNHCR on the issue of alternatives to migrationrelateddetention concluded that there is no empirical evidence that detention detersirregular migration, despite the often significant cost to States of maintaining such adetention infrastructure.Some countries have witnessed an increase in racistand xenophobic behaviour and acts against migrants,including in the form of physical violence and hatespeech by political groups and officials, which ispartly due to exacerbated fears about migration inthe context of the global economic crisis.IPPR, “Beyond Borders: Human Traffickingfrom Nigeria to the UK”The police continued to ask me questions; theyshouted at me saying I would be deported orarrested if I didn’t tell the officers R’s address,or any address they could take me to. I didn’tknow any address to be taken to and could notrecognize R’s house. The police officers thenbrought me to the police station where I wasquestioned again and arrested.- FemaleThis atmosphere of suspicion and hostility towardsmigrants in an irregular situation has seriousimplications for the protection of their human rights.During a workshop held in Athens in December 2012,Greek and international NGOs reported that racistattacks against migrants had recently become morenumerous and more violent, resulting in more severeinjuries. The near complete absence of accountabilityof the police for overt psychological and physicalassaults against migrants on the streets and inpolice stations in Athens and elsewhere, plainlyvisible to any passer-by, are threatening the verybasic elements of a democratic society. Incidents oftorture and ill-treatment in police custody and prisonleave migrants with no access to protection, justiceand redress. Human rights activists in Greece havebegun mobilizing to monitor these facts, as wellraise awareness among the general public and policymakers to identify offenders and provide redress forabuses 35 .35 Platform for the International Cooperation on UndocumentedMigrants, “The Silent Humanitarian Crisis in Greece. DevisingStrategies to Improve the Situation of Migrants in Greece”, PICUM,April 2013.46

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processcase studyMeasuring, monitoring and combatinghate crimes in GreeceThe Greek National Commission for Human Rights, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR) and 23 NGOs created the Racist Violence Recording Network in October 2011, whichaims to record racially motivated incidents and develop a series of proposals to prevent suchcrimes, as there is no official national mechanism to deal with such incidents in Greece. Activitieshave included seminars to teach people how to file an attack through the network in order tocollect reliable data but these have not yet proven to be successful as still the number of filedcomplaints for racist violence does not match the reality.According to data collected in 2012, 15 out of 80 recorded racist attacks included incidentswhere the police used force during identity checks and ill-treatment at detention. Other failuresof law enforcement officials included official documents being destroyed, lack of a systematicmethod in investigating and addressing claims, and delays in the prosecution and punishment ofperpetrators. Additionally, very few incidents are reported, as migrants fear reprisals, arrest anddeportation but also mistrust the justice system due to law enforcement officials protecting theircolleagues by refusing to speak out or testify against any abuses.The network has a website where a section is dedicated to additional useful tools that have beenimplemented in many different countries with the overall objective of combating racism anddiscrimination.The present situation in Greece has also sufferedfrom a general lack of objective reporting bymainstream media, with the exception of somepieces of noteworthy coverage 36 . There is a need tobuild a line of communication between civil societyorganizations and journalists in order to addressthe urgency of the issue in relation to detentionconditions, deportations, etc. Civil society should takeon a role of experts and feeding facts and figures,providing time to talk, explain, especially legal areasas very few journalists have the knowledge and timeto grasp such complex jargon.The role of social media cannot be ignored, as it canbe a very useful tool for creating and encouraging‘citizen journalism’ at the grassroots level which iskey for developing awareness, especially about fastdeveloping issues 37 . Addressing negative perceptionsof migrants within host communities, including in themedia, is essential for promoting integration.36 See for example: Patras: “The refugee camps should be closed‘” (Πάτρα: «Τα στρατόπεδα συγκέντρωσης προσφύγων πρέπει νακλείσουν»), Staff writer, The Best News, 10 April 2013; “Report slamsGreece’s human rights situation” (Έκθεση – χαστούκι στην Ελλάδα γιατα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα), Staff writer, Avriani, 1 february 2013; “Dayof Action against racism in schools” (Ημέρα δράσης κατά του ρατσισμούστα σχολεία), Staff Writer, Eleftherotypia, 21 March 2013; “Immigration:Fundamental Rights Agency scrutinizes four countries”, Aline Glaudotand Nathalie Vandystadt, Europolitics, 4 April 2013.37 Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants,“The Silent Humanitarian Crisis in Greece. Devising Strategies toImprove the Situation on the Ground”, PICUM April 2013.47

Beyond Irregularitycase studyEngaging with the media:“Drop the I-Word Campaign”Drop the I-Word is public education campaigns powered by immigrants and diverse communitiesacross the United States that value human dignity and are working to eradicate the dehumanizingterm “illegals” from everyday use and public discourse. According to the promoters ofthe campaign, the i-word strategy has been moved into the media by a group of people andorganizations committed to halting and derailing reasoned, informed debate and policy onimmigration. The Applied Research Center (ARC) and its daily news site,, decidedto launch the Drop The I-Word campaign and called on media outlets and elected officials touphold reason, due process and responsible speech by dropping the i-word. As a racial justicethink tank and home for media and activism on those issues, ARC’s mission is to popularize racialjustice and prepare people to fight for it.The campaign is complemented by a set of tools that can be used to support this initiative:,,Journalists resources include an Immigration Stylebook, FAQs and information for outlets thatwant to drop the i-word;,,A Campaign toolkit contains key information, activities and actions for individuals to take andto use with groups (i.e. possibility to send an organization pledge and endorsement; sample towrite a resolution; sample letters to address editors; a discussion guide supported by a videoabout the campaign; and images and graphics that can back general activities).,,The Action Guide is a very handy “step-by-step” manual that gives suggestion on how to takeaction according to available resources and desired degree of involvement.As a consequence of this campaign and related efforts of the migrants’ rights movement, in April2013 the Associated Press decided to remove “illegal immigrant” from its coverage 38 . Similarly,the Italian news agency Adnkronos announced on 4 April 2013 that it would no longer use the term“clandestino” - a term in Italian that is often related to the criminalisation of migration, racismand xenophobia - following the terminology campaign led by the President of the Chamber ofDeputies, Laura Boldrini.38 While the Associated Press has dropped “illegal immigrant” from its style guide, it will continue to speak about “illegalimmigration” (its new policy is limited to describing a person).Proper terminology combined with a communicationstrategy that has carefully considered its objective,drafted its message, selected its tools and adaptedto its audience is a crucial need for NGOs to progressin their work in terms of better protection andpromotion of migrants’ rights.48

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processEnsuring irregular migrants’rights are protected in publicservices and policiesThe realities faced by undocumented migrants intheir country of destination are widely misunderstoodand sometimes even overlooked. Migrationmanagement discourse is often used to justify policydiscrimination, which in practice means that localauthorities and service providers act as immigrationauthorities instead of performing their duties.IPPR, “Beyond Borders: Human Traffickingfrom Nigeria to the UK”When I told them I was homeless, they didn’tcare. That was really terrible. There should besomething better that you could do. Not just leta young girl at 17 to, you know, walk around thestreet. It was really terrible.- FemaleOne of the most striking deprivations of access tobasic rights for irregular migrants is the right tohealth. For migrants, a worsening of their physicaland mental health is more likely to occur owingmainly to poor access to health care services andthe continual fear of being discovered and expelled.A high percentage of undocumented migrants donot access any kind of health care even if they areentitled.In Morocco, Medecins Sans Frontières (MSF)’experience demonstrates that the longer sub-Saharan migrants stay in Morocco the morevulnerable they become. MSF’s data indicates thatthe precarious living conditions that the majority ofsub-Saharan migrants in Morocco are forced to livein and the wide-spread institutional and criminalviolence that they are exposed to continue to be themain factors influencing medical and psychologicalneeds 39 .Women’s Link Worldwide (WLW), a Spanish NGOworking on women’s rights, has conducted researchon violence perpetuated against irregular migrantwomen while they are migrating and when theyfinally end up either in Morocco or Spain 40 . Theirfindings shows that the organizations that currentlyoffer their services to this population – especially inMorocco - are limited in number and resources and,in general, have difficulties gaining access to women,who are extremely isolated and very often controlledby traffickers. Furthermore, due to their immensefear of deportation, these women often do not seekthe services they require. They do not have accessto basic services and necessities, such as drinkingwater, housing, food or health care, and they sufferconstant violations of other human rights, includingthe right to physical integrity. For the most part,migrant women are only able to access care whencivil society organizations intervene in the process 41 .The denial of this fundamental human right canbe displayed in a variety of situations that go fromconditions of extreme emergency, where the lifeof the person is threatened, to circumstances thatdeal more with long term care that although noturgent are deemed necessary for the wellbeing ofthe person.39 Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), “Violence, Vulnerability andMigration: Trapped at the Gates of Europe. A Report on the Situation ofsub-Saharan Migrants in an Irregular Situation in Morocco, MSF 2013.40 Women’s Link Worldwide (WLW), “Migrant Women’s Rights: anInvisible Reality”, WLW 2009.41 For more information on WLW research activities please visit theirwebsite.49

Beyond Irregularitycase studyMainstreaming access to health care forundocumented migrants into the publichealth system in MoroccoTo avoid creating a parallel system of care in the Oriental Region of Morocco, Médecins SansFrontiers (MSF) increased its collaboration with the Moroccan Ministry of Health in early 2011 andreduced the number of direct medical consultations they provided, and focused on assisting andsupporting sub-Saharan migrants’ access to public health facilities. Working with regional healthauthorities, hospitals and health centres, pharmacies and members of the migrant community,MSF staff has helped to ensure that sub-Saharan migrants are able to receive care via theMoroccan system.In 2011 the Moroccan government passed Law 34-09 relating to the “Health System and Offer ofCare”. This law affirms Morocco’s commitment to the right to health as a fundamental humanright (art. 1), equality of access to care and health services (art. 2) and respect for a person, theirphysical integrity, their dignity and their privacy (art. 7). MSF teams in Oujda have witnessed areduction in the discriminatory and bureaucratic obstacles that were preventing sub-Saharanmigrants from receiving the medical care they needed. Yet considerable challenges remain inensuring that the medical and psychological needs of sub-Saharan migrants are met, particularlywith regard to non-emergency, secondary care, care for people with mental health problems andprotection and assistance for survivors of sexual violence.Building alliances and solidarity networks amongprofessionals working with undocumented migrantscan be helpful in overcoming administrative barriersor simply changing negative attitudes towards avulnerable population that is too often believedto have no rights. This is also true in countrieswhere despite legal entitlements and availabilityof services, migrants still find many obstacles inaccessing healthcare due to ambiguity in legislation,discretionary power of public and healthcareauthorities and costs of services provided 42 .42 For a comprehensive analysis of main barriers in accessinghealthcare for undocumented in Europe, see The European UnionAgency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), Report on “Migrants in anirregular situation: access to healthcare in 10 European UnionMember States”, FRA 2011.50

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processcase studyBuilding a health care policy network to ensureadequate service provision for undocumentedmigrants in ItalyThe Italian Society of Medicine and Migration (SIMM) created the Local Group for Immigrationand Health (GrIs) in the 1990s, a local healthcare policy network that seeks to promote, supportand advance the work of professionals who provide health care assistance to undocumentedmigrants. Each GrIs centre serves as a localized meeting, advocacy and project-developmenthub bringing together healthcare workers of all disciplines, with 12 centres situated throughoutItaly. The centres provide regional and local support for the management of access to publichealthcare. Additionally the centres advocate on a local level, targeting healthcare serviceproviders and managers. They identify key administrative barriers to undocumented migrants’access to healthcare and propose solutions at the local level for a better provision of healthcareto undocumented migrants in Italy.SIMM, together with the GrIs and the Italian Society for Paediatricians, jointly established anItalian working group on migrant children, called the GLNBI, whose overall aim is to facilitateaccess the health for all migrant children. The research collected by the GNLBI is generally usedfor advocacy purposes. For example, in 2010, the Italian Society of Paediatricians and SIMM issueda joint statement about the fundamental rights of migrant children. The statement called foraccess to a family paediatrician for all children. It became one of the most relevant issues carriedout in the inter-regional taskforce set up between national and regional levels of government toanalyse access to healthcare for migrants. The joint statement among regions was approved inDecember 2012 and will become law in 2013. Although not having the full effect of law, it standsas an official document urging regions in Italy to implement and interpret current legislation toguarantee access to a family paediatrician for all children, without variance among the regions.The international human rights frameworkprotecting migrants’ rights is a core elementwhich lies at the base of strategies, actions andinitiatives implemented by NGOs. Professionals andcare workers working together with NGOs aim toovercome the barriers to access basic rights and tryto close the gap between legal entitlements and thesituation in practice.51

Beyond IrregularityPromoting decent work for alland fighting against exploitationGiven their precarious status, irregular migrantsare highly vulnerable to abuse and exploitation bytheir employers, migration agents and criminalgangs. When migrants are afraid of being detected,they are unlikely to come forward to demand fairtreatment by employers. Criminalization togetherwith the unavailability of legal aid in employmenttribunals worsen an already complicated situationcharacterized by the obstacles described above andrelated to the concrete difficulties that undocumentedworkers face in regard to access basic social servicessuch as health care, housing and education.In some sectors of the economy, such as agriculture,construction and domestic work, there is a massivepresence of irregular migrants. These workersare particularly vulnerable and often subject to allkinds of abuses 43 . They often work long hours indangerous and/or unhygienic conditions; many donot receive their wages or receive less than wasagreed upon; sometimes workers are fired withoutbeing given due notice. If an industrial accidentoccurs, the lack of official proof of employmentrenders it complicated and often impossible to haveany health care refunded. By denying migrants fairworking conditions, employers are able to respondto the growing consumer demand. Companies oftenresort to cutting costs by lowering standards ofworking conditions and irregular migrants are thefirst to be affected by such policies. In a situation offorced labour, the power of the employer to imposeconditions and rules is absolute and the workeris unable to refuse without facing some kind ofpunishment, e.g. under the menace of a penalty.Temporary work, precarious contracts,subcontracting, mobile schedules, dependency ofemployees and undeclared employees have all beentried out first on foreign workers. “Have work butnot the worker” appears to be the guiding principleon the demand side, therefore initiatives should tryto prosecute those responsible for not safeguardingbasic safe and fair working conditions and increaseassistance and support for those that are victims oflabour exploitation.special focusThe right to fair working conditions ininternational human rights and labor lawThe principle of safeguarding safe and fair working conditions such us remuneration for allworkers, including those who are undocumented, is expressly protected in various instruments,which attempt to promote equality amongst both migrant workers and nationals.International labor law:ILO-Convention No.143 on Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions),adopted in 1978. The convention addresses migration in abusiveconditions. Part I applies to all migrants, including undocumentedmigrants, and focuses mainly on the fight against illicit and clandestinetrafficking in labour. Article 8 and 9 state that any migrant worker shallnot be regarded as in illegal or irregular situation by the mere loss of his employment, which shallnot itself imply the withdrawal of this authorization of residence, or as the case may be, work permit,…43 Platform for the International Cooperation on UndocumentedMigrants (PICUM) Part 2 of the report on the Conference“Undocumented migrant workers in Europe”, held by PICUM at theEuropean Parliament in Brussels on 26 May 2006.52

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration process…and that undocumented migrants workers shall “enjoy equality of treatment for himself and hisfamily in respect of rights arising out of past employment as regards remuneration, social securityor other benefits”.In addition, the ILO has developed the International Multilateral Framework on Labour Migrationwithin its Decent Work Agenda. This document is a nonbinding framework for a rights-basedapproach to labour migration that develops a comprehensive compilation of relevant principles,guidelines and best practices in relation to labour migration. “Decent work” is an objectivedefined as “freely chosen employment,” supported by “fundamental rights at work,” with anincome sufficient to “meet their basic economic, social and family needs and responsibilities,” andan “adequate level of social protection for the workers and family members.” Within the fifteenbroad principles of the framework, the three main principles that directly concern the rights ofundocumented migrant workers are:• Protection of human rights for all migrant workers;• Promotion of social dialogue as the main way for integration;• Implementation by the government, in consultation with social partners, of measures to preventabusive practices, migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons.International human rights law:International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR),adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1966. Article 6 and 7 of the Covenantcommit signatory parties to “recognize the right to work, which includes the rightof everyone to the opportunity to gain his living by work which he freely choosesor accepts, and will take appropriate steps to safeguard this right” (Art.6) and torecognize “the right of everyone to the enjoyment of just and favourable conditionsof work” (Art.7).International Convention for the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers (ICMW), adoptedby the UN General Assembly in 1990. Several articles of the Convention refer to fair workingconditions. Article 25(1) of the Convention refers to the right to fair conditions of employment bystating, among other, that “Migrant workers shall enjoy treatment not less favourable than thatwhich applies to nationals of the State of employment in respect of remuneration”. Article 26(1)refers to the right to join trade unions and others associations and Article 2 (1) refers to the rightto social security.General Comment No. 1 on Migrant Domestic Workers in 2010 during its 13 th session. Whilehighlighting the problems faced by domestic migrant workers and members of their familiesthroughout the migration cycle, it describes main protection gaps existing within the legalframework and in practice. The General Comment contains recommendations in order togenerally improving working conditions; precisely, the CMW encourages States Parties to ensureaccess to social security and health services, fulfill the right to organize, guarantee access tojustice and remedies, as well as facilitate access to regular migration status.53

Beyond IrregularityHaving a basic knowledge of legal remediesavailable for undocumented migrants is of utmostimportance for organizations assisting them. NGOscan provide undocumented migrants with reliableinformation on their rights when seeking access tojustice and in facilitating early contact with a lawyeror before approaching a national court. Adviceand preparation early on in the legal process areoften significant in the successfulness of the case.Engaging with national courts can be an effective wayof reiterating the rights of migrants to authorities,building national case law and standards that willsupport undocumented migrants in the future, andholding countries accountable to both national andinternational human rights standards.special focusBuilding a case: labour exploitationof undocumented workers 44Using LegalStrategies to EnforceUndocumentedMigrants’Human RightsWORKSHOP REPORTCases of labour exploitation are normally addressed on national levelthrough two different strategies: breach of employment law or under antitraffickinglaws. Methods differ under both of these strategies but there aresome key areas of concern for both.1. Collecting evidenceIt is notoriously difficult to provide evidence of labour exploitation and for this reason workersneed to be proactive in collecting it. Legal systems are starting to develop the principle thatif a worker can prove employment relationship with their employer then the burden of proofis on the employer to prove that they met legal working conditions. Some methods of provingemployment include: a) in depth knowledge of the workplace: for example a detailed floorplan of a restaurant kitchen or a house; b) leaving a ‘mark’: domestic workers can signal theirpresence in the workplace by reporting things such as something they had left under thebed when cleaning; c) photos of the work place: these are particularly powerful if they showthe exploitative conditions; d) written records of hours worked, pay received and duties; e) areport or statement from a labour inspector; f) statements from other employees. This can bean on-going process and a protectionist measure for workers in case their labour conditionsdeteriorate in the future.…44 This example is taken from Platform for the International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM),“Using legal strategies to enforce undocumented migrants’ human rights,” PICUM 2013 (to be published in May 2013).54

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration process…2. Foreseeing alternative and protective measures in case of repercussions linked to themigration statusReporting labour exploitation or bringing a case to court often results in proceedings relatedto the migration status of the worker and depending on the practice of the country concerned,possible arrest and an increased risk of deportation. Undocumented workers should also beaware of what provisions are available for them with a pending labour court case – there maybe a ‘bridging’ visa or entitlements to certain facilities such as health care or shelter. Theopportunities for gaining, or retaining, residence status in the country of employment after thecase has been decided must also be explored.3. Building strategic alliances and advocacyDuring proceedings and even before, as a preventive strategy, it is useful to build allianceswith trade unionists, legal professionals, relevant NGOs, state agencies, immigration officials,labour rights officials and the media. Without advocacy and follow-up alongside legal action,the collective gain from court cases, even if they are successful, will be limited. Media attention,naming and shaming and political pressure can all help to ensure that employers comply withcourt decisions and labour standards.Labour exploitation can be dealt with in or out ofcourt and there are benefits to both strategies. Aswas described in the previous example, advocacyand strategic activity can help to push for higherenforced labour standards and prevent exploitationof undocumented workers.55

Beyond Irregularitycase studyCompensation for trafficked persons asa tool to combat human trafficking andlabour exploitationCOMP.ACT is an initiative by the NGOs La Strada International and Anti-Slavery Internationalto bring about systematic and practical changes to ensure that trafficked persons receivecompensation for their suffering and unpaid labour. Its innovative approach looked at traffickingas a phenomenon caused by a variety of factors (so-called root causes) that occur in all stages ofthe trafficking process: in countries of origin (poverty or unequal gender relations), destination(demand for cheap labour or repressive migration policies) and during the migration process(lack of safe/ regular migration opportunities). This approach requires that human rights are atthe core of any anti-trafficking strategy. It integrates the norms, standards and principles of theinternational human rights system into legislation, policies, programmes and processes.Compensation as a restorative, preventative and punitive function was a key element of theproject, which ended in December 2012. The results of the project in fourteen European countries,in terms of research, test cases, and developing guidelines for professionals, are summarized ina toolkit that explains in a very simple way key steps when seeking compensation. It includes aguide for lawyers, counseling centres and service providers.One of COMP.ACT’s successes has been to mainstream access to compensation in anti-traffickingpolicies and services offered to trafficked persons and increase in the number of persons applyingfor and actually receiving compensation.Guidance and tips on how to collect evidence andbuild a case can be very useful also for other casesof human rights violations. According to the legalsystem in place and available remedies – at national,regional and international level - different supportand strategies might be suitable (see Part I on thelegal framework for additional resources).Capacity building for theempowerment of undocumentedwomenGender vulnerabilities increase the likelihood ofmigrant women to become undocumented, a statusunder which they are greatly exposed to systematicviolence, abuse and discrimination. The majority ofundocumented women arrive in their destination56

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processcountry with a regular, but often highly dependentmigration status and become undocumented forreasons outside of their own control. In addition, alarge proportion of women that have experiencedtrafficking are likely to become undocumented ifthe identification process fails to recognize themas victims of such crime. Looking at the best wayto protect women from any form of violence andabuses, several initiatives go beyond a “protectionistapproach” that looks at these women as simplyvictims seeking for justice and compensation.Enforcing their human rights as migrants, asworkers and as women above all is often effectivealso in terms of preventative strategy that can stopabuses before they actually take place.A lack of authorized migration status and employeror spouse dependent status or what is sometimescalled an insecure migration status is a factor ofvulnerability both in terms of being more vulnerableto trafficking and exploitation and being unable toseek assistance and protection. Undocumentedwomen living in situations of violence and exploitationface numerous difficulties to provide evidence abouttheir abuse. One of the main challenges in protectingwomen’s rights is how to promote the participationof women and at the same time challenge women’sinequality in the social, cultural and political spheres.The participation of undocumented women in thisprocess is crucial towards their own empowermentand enhances possibilities for obtaining justice andcompensation for abuses studyCommunity work as tool for changeMigrants Rights Centre in Ireland (MRCI) is a non-governmental organization working in Irelandto support undocumented migrants’ rights. Participation is a cornerstone of MRCI social reformagenda and enables those distanced from formal structures of power to actively redressimbalances.Since opening in 2001, MRCI received many requests for support from migrant domestic workers.Mostly female, these workers were particularly isolated and their work was unregulated as theirplace of work was often their place of residence. Employers had unilateral control of work permitsand so workers had few options if subject to violence or exploitation. Despite the high rates ofexploitation, the Irish government was failing to address these issues occurring in private homes.Rather than continuing to work on a case-by-case basis, MRCI developed a participatory-basedstrategy so that migrant domestic workers could effectuate social and policy change. Thesewomen initially came together to participate in a “support group”.By creating a social space where group activities were linked to political change, they succeededin creating a public and political space for migrant domestic workers to challenge their situation.To enable undocumented women to participate in decisions and structures that affect their lives,MRCI “start where the community are at” and link into existing social networks and supportchannels. To enable maximum participation, meetings were held on Sunday. A safe spacewas created so that the immediate needs of domestic workers could be shared and the groupdeveloped according to these needs.MRCI has shown the impact that a community work model can have in advancing the rights ofundocumented migrants. MRCI “Tools for Social Change” is a useful resource guide for communitywork containing all lessons learnt and best practices arising from its direct experience.57

Beyond IrregularityUnionizing undocumentedworkersTo prevent and stop exploitation and abuse,undocumented workers must be able to effectivelyexercise their rights. Empowering and developingundocumented workers’ leadership capacitiescounteracts a system of dependency. Instead,workers are able to defend themselves and evenengage in and influence the decision-makingaffecting their lives. These capacities are essentialif workers are to become agents of their own rights.For an undocumented worker acting alone, assertingone’s rights remains a major challenge. Unionizingundocumented workers is therefore very important,since it puts a worker in a much stronger position.There are, however, several obstacles preventingundocumented workers from joining unions, and notall traditional union structures and working methodsare directly applicable to undocumented workers.The benefits of joining a union for undocumentedworkers are the same for all workers who wish tobe part of an organized association that protects andfurthers their rights and interests. Unions promotefair working conditions, defend workers’ rights andgather strength by organizing workers. An additionalbenefit of union membership for undocumentedworkers is the ability to receive a union membershipcard. A union membership card is by no means aresidence permit, but is proof of residence in thecountry of studyBuilding solidarity among workers in MoroccoIn May 2012, for the first time during the May 1 st celebrations in Rabat, a group of more than160 migrants, documented and undocumented, the majority living and working in Morocco forseveral years, marched together with the Moroccan Trade Union ODT (Organisation Démocratiquedu Travail) under the slogan “We are all workers”. While asking for decent and fair workingconditions for all, these migrants took the opportunity and spoke about the abuses and humanrights violations characterizing their life in Morocco and highlighted the absence of support andprotection available to them.The first Congress launching a trade union for migrant workers in Morocco was held a fewmonths later, on 1 July 2012, under the umbrella of the ODT and with support from a trade unionprotecting the rights of Moroccan migrant workers abroad. Since its establishment, ODT-MigrantWorkers has focused its efforts on collecting evidence about the number of undocumentedmigrants living in Morocco and has used their personal stories to raise awareness about racistattacks and exploitation experienced in the work environment, as well as difficulties in accessingbasic services like healthcare, housing and education. By circulating press releases and reports,participating in public conferences and appearing in the written press, broadcast and social media,ODT-Migrant Workers quickly gained visibility and public support, and succeeded in establishingfruitful partnerships with several NGOs and government institutions.On the occasion of International Migrants Day, on 18 December 2012, ODT-Migrant Workers, incollaboration with the National Council for Human Rights, held a conference entitled “Migrantsand the New Moroccan Constitution” that explored possible strategies to improve the rights ofirregular migrants within the existing legal framework. The event launched also a campaign forregularization that is one of the next goals of ODT-Migrant Workers’ mandate.58

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processIn many countries, reaching a certain degree oforganization and leadership development within themigrant community is an important step that canbring about collective action and mediation thanksto the philosophy of “power in numbers”. Amongthe varied possibilities offered to undocumentedmigrants to challenge their employers, recognizingthe potential of workers joining together is proven tobe effective rather than working alone.ConclusionDiscrimination, criminalization, isolation, marginalization,destitution, and sometimes full exclusion fromsociety are part of the realities faced by undocumentedmigrants once they reach their country of destination.Positive terminology can be considered tools forchange that can help in improving migrants’ rights andfacilitate a process of social cohesion that should be ofutmost importance for societies having undocumentedmigrants among its population. Not having documents– or a permit to regularly residing in the country -should never prevent them from claiming their rights,seeking justice and making all possible efforts to becomefully members of the society where they live andoften work.jTOOLS & TIPS• Non-discrimination, together with equality before the lawand equal protection of the law, constitute a basic and generalprinciple relating to the protection of human rights. Efforts shouldbe directed to close the gap between existing legal entitlementsfor undocumented migrants and the situation in practice.• Carefully select terminology that doesn’t discriminate: being in acountry without the required papers is, in most countries, not acriminal offence but an administrative infringement.• Build a line of communication amongst civil society organizationsand the media to disseminate information about undocumentedmigrants’ lives in the country of destination as a way of engagingpublic support and combatting racism and xenophobia.• Enforce collaboration with local authorities and services in orderto mainstream access to healthcare, education and housing forundocumented into public services and policies.• Safeguard basic safe and fair working conditions by using the legalframework in place to enforce rights for undocumented migrantsin courts at national, regional and international levels and throughthe UN reporting system.• Invest in undocumented migrants’ capacities to speak on their ownbehalf by engaging directly with migrant community organizations,developing their leadership, organizing and unionizing them.59

Beyond IrregularityStage Four:Return and ReintegrationReturnee migrants:ability to exercise their choiceand dignity of returnThe “Beyond Irregularity” Project research considersreturn as part of a movement that starts withdeparture from the country of origin, entails crossingborders, settlement in the destination country and, inthe end, return to the country of origin.The third case study on “Return and Reintegrationof Irregular Migrants from Europe to Nigeria”distinguishes three kinds of return:• forced return, when the migrant is forcibly removedfrom the country of destination;• compelled return, when a migrant left as aconsequence of unfavourable circumstances andfactors which abruptly interrupted the migrationcycle; and• chosen return, if a migrant did not face any form ofpressure or coercion whatsoever when deciding todepart for his/her country of origin.The latter two can include returnees who returnedon their own “spontaneously” or through an assistedprogramme such as that offered by the IOM.According to this classification, return can also beused by destination countries as an instrument ofmanaging migration, through both policies designedto act as a “stick” – such as increasingly restrictedaccess to the labour market and to public services–and policies to act as a “carrot” – such as packagesof support offered to migrants who agree to returnto their country of origin 45 .IPPR “Homecoming: Return and Reintegrationof Irregular Migrants from Nigeria”I was not informed about the processes or givenan opportunity to defend myself.– Male, 2845 Jenny Pennington, Brhmie Balaram, “Homecoming: Return andReintegration of Irregular Migrants from Nigeria”, Institute for PublicPolicy Research, April 2013.60

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processHaving a migrants-centered approach related toreturn requires focusing on the needs expressedby returnee migrants during the process of return,beyond the reasons that brought or forced them togo back to their country of origin in first place. Forinstance, measures to support migrant workers’social and occupational reintegration have beenvirtually overlooked so far. A migrants-centeredapproach implies putting the human rights ofmigrants at the core of policy making, as migrantswhose rights are fulfilled are best able to reintegratein their country of origin.Notwithstanding the great differences experiencedby returnee migrants according to the “type of return”–e.g. chosen, compelled, forced-, some human rightsconcerns are common to all types of return and helpin identifying strategies in order to ensure that returnoccurs in a dignified and safe manner, according tointernational human rights standards. This chapterwill first consider the situation of irregular migrantsfacing a deportation order that are often subject todetention during forced removals. The kind of supportthat is generally required goes from simply sharingthe necessary information regarding the expulsionprocedure, including informing them about theirright for appeal as well as possibilities of claiminginternational protection or alternatives to return. Thereasons why voluntary return should be prioritizedare also described due to sustainability that is verymuch linked to the ability of exercising an informedchoice, as well as the prospect and opportunities forreintegration and the measures in place ensuringpost-return monitoring. Different activities areincluded in the examples ranging from pre-returnsupport, assistance and orientation in the country oforigin and comprehensive programmes of return andreintegration based on strong partnerships betweencountries of destination and countries of return.Detention of irregular migrants:protecting their rights when theyface removal from the destinationcountryThe previous chapter described the situation ofextreme vulnerability and marginalization thatcharacterizes many migrants’ lives in their countryof destination. Expressively denying migrants theirhuman rights can be a strategy to prevent and deterirregular migration, and return procedures are oftenconducted regardless of human rights standardsallowing for safe and dignified return.The 1996 UNHCR Handbook on VoluntaryRepatriation: International Protection and thesubsequent 2004 Handbook for Repatriation andReintegration Activities attempt to clarify the meaningof “safe and dignified return” from UNHCR’s point ofview regarding the situation of return of refugees.Both handbooks discuss the question of safety incommendable detail, focusing on three primaryconcerns: the physical, legal and material securityof returnees. The 2004 handbook details UNHCR’s4Rs approach to return, which entails a focus onvoluntary repatriation, reintegration, rehabilitationand reconstruction.Generally speaking there is a strong connectionbetween dignity and the ability to exercise choice.For irregular migrants, dignity is trying to affirmitself as a legal norm recognized in internationallaw: many civil society organizations advocate for abetter definition of “dignity” and “safety” and someprovided criteria that governments should adopt intheir policies and programmes of return.61

Beyond Irregularityexpert insightEuropean NGOs’ common statement onkey principles to respect the safety anddignity of returneesIn August 2005 a group of NGOs issued a common statement addressing the EU and itsMember States, highlighting the core principles that should be reflected in any policy andactions on return, whether this takes place in a voluntary manner – always preferable - orit is the result of a deportation order:,,Standards on removal and return should be applicable to all areas of the memberstates of the European Union territory including so-called transit, border or airportzones.,, Any forced removal must be carried out in accordance with the European Convention onHuman Rights (ECHR), the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugeesand its 1967 Protocol (Refugee Convention), and other obligations under internationalhuman rights law. Risk assessment procedures must be carried out prior to theenforcement of removal orders: the principle of non-refoulement must be respected.,,Collective expulsions are prohibited by international law (International Covenant onCivil and Political Rights, article 13).,,Return decisions or removal orders should only be issued when any claim forinternational protection, including those based on the Refugee Convention, ECHR(particularly articles 3 and 8), and the United Nations Convention against Torture andOther Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), have been rejectedand all remedies exhausted.,,Children should neither be forcibly removed nor detained. In accordance with the UNConvention on the Rights of the Child separated children should only be sent back totheir country of origin where it is safe and in their best interests. This must be assessedon a case-by-case basis and should never be a forced removal.,,No action should be taken to remove any person who suffers from a serious illness,unless it can be established that he/she has real access to appropriate treatment andmedical care in his/her country of origin upon return.,,Other vulnerable persons whose best interests are infringed upon by forced removalshould be protected against such removal, including elderly persons, pregnant women.,,Victims of human rights violations like labour exploitation, sexual abuse, and criminaloffences in general, should be able to obtain guarantees for redress before any returndecision or removal order is executed.,,Every person subject to a removal order or a deportation order should have the right toan individual in-country suspensive appeal against these decisions. A sufficient delay tomake this appeal effective should be provided by law.,,Interpreters, access to free legal aid and legal representation during the whole processof detention and removal should be provided by law.,,Use of force should comply with Council of Europe recommendations. Involuntaryremoval should always take place in safety and dignity, and with adequate safeguardsto ensure that the right to life and mental and physical integrity are respected; removalmust be in accordance with Recommendation 1547 of the Council of Europe.62

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processDespite international standards protectingreturnees, evidence of human rights violations linkedto detention and removal operations of irregularmigrants and unsuccessful asylum-seekers isconsistent. Migration-related detention is basedon administrative (as opposed to criminal) groundsand is used to establish the migrant’s identity oras a measure of custody before deportation takesplace. Individuals are often detained even wherethe prospect of removal is unlikely because of thelack of co-operation from countries of origin orotherwise. Serious concerns have been expressedby international human rights monitoring bodies,such as the UNHCR, the UN Special Rapporteur onthe Human Rights of the Migrants, and the Councilof Europe all claiming that detention should be theabsolute exception and the last resort 46 .case studyMapping the use of detention in irregularmigration managementThe Global Detention Project (GDP) is an inter-disciplinary research initiative that investigates therole detention plays in states’ responses to global migration, with a special focus on the policiesand physical infrastructures of detention.To assess the growth and evolution of detention institutions, project researchers are creatinga comprehensive database of detention sites that categorize detention facilities along severaldimensions, including security level, bureaucratic chain of command, facility type (an exposedcamp, a dedicated migrant detention facility, or a common prison), spatial segregation (separatecells for criminals and administrative detainees, for women and men), and size. This data isgradually being ported to the GDP website in the form of maps, lists, and country profiles.Researchers have also undertaken an overall assessment of international law as it pertains tomigration-related detention and begun profiling domestic policies and legal guarantees as partof a longer-term effort to assess the impact of law on detention practices and the degree towhich the treatment of detainees conforms with international commitments.Ultimately, the GDP’s goals are threefold: 1) to provide researchers, advocates, and journalistswith a measurable and regularly updated baseline for analysing the growth and evolution ofdetention practices and policies; 2) to encourage scholarship in this often under-studied aspect ofthe immigration phenomenon; and 3) to facilitate accountability and transparency in the treatmentof detainees.46 See for more information: United Nations High Commissioner forRefugees (UNHCR), “Detention Guidelines”, UNHCR 2012; UnitedNations (UN) “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rightsof migrants, François Crépeaux”, UN 2 April 2012; Council of Europe“Resolution 1707 (2010): Detention of asylum seekers and irregularmigrants in Europe”, 28 January 2010.63

Beyond IrregularityOften national legal systems do not have clear rulesfor administrative detention and migration detaineesface legal uncertainties, including lack of access tothe outside world, limited possibilities of challengingdetention through the courts, and/or absence oflimitations on the duration of detention.In Europe several NGOs focus their work on the issueof detention of irregular migrants, trying to act aswatchdogs whenever they have the permission toenter detention studyOffering counselling and assistance tomigrants detained in prisons in FranceSince 1984, the French NGO La Cimade has held the right to enter detention centres and meetwith foreign detainees. Imprisoned foreigners can be defendants or already convicted people, theycan possess a valid residence permit or not. In any case La Cimade offers help and advice as totheir administrative status (stay, deportation and what little protection against it they can have).Sometimes, it provides help in the legal field as well. When lawful, it can also accompany thesepeople through procedures to guarantee them a proper access to their rights.Such work is conducted with the help of Prison Insertion and Probation Advisers (CPIPs) andpartner associations. Presently, La Cimade works with 130 volunteers (the Jail Committee) goinginto 75 penitentiaries to meet imprisoned foreigners. La Cimade volunteers mainly have a legalaction but it also has a strong humanitarian impact.Any useful information is given to the foreigner and suitable course of action, according to thesituation faced, is established. In any case, once information has been given and advice offered, LaCimade’s volunteer makes sure that the prisoner decides alone what’s good for him or herself.Immigration detainees are especially vulnerableto various forms of ill-treatment, whether at themoment of apprehension, during the period ofcustody or while being deported. In certain countries,authorities routinely resort to administrativedetention of irregular migrants pending deportation,sometimes with no time limitation or judicial review.There are several reports examining the impact ofthese measures on the human rights situation ofirregular migrants 47 . When the grounds justifyingdetention are not laid down in national legislationin a clear and exhaustive manner, or when thedetention is not carried out in compliance with theprocedural or substantive rules as stipulated bylaw, human rights violations are most likely takingplace. Principles like necessity and proportionality,the length of detention, any procedural safeguards toprevent arbitrary detention, and detention of specificvulnerable categories like children, are all elementsthat need to be carefully monitored 48 .47 Shalini Iyengar, Carla Landri, Margherita Mini, “Betwixt andbetween: Turin’s CIE. A human rights investigation into Turin’simmigration detention centre”, Associazione International UniversityCollege of Turin 2012; Amnesty International (AI) “Jailed withoutJustice. Immigration detention in the USA” AI 2009; Migreurop“European Borders. Controls, detentions and deportations”,Migreurop 2009-2010.48 The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, Report on“Detention of third-country nationals in return procedures”, FRA2010.64

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processMaking return sustainable andensuring reintegration in thecountry of originMany migrants develop their decision to return notonly when they feel that they were able to accomplishwhat was foreseen in their original migration plan,but often when they realize that their expectationswon’t be met and they wish to escape fromexploitation and violence. The motives guiding returncannot be easily categorized and are highly contextdependent. Sometimes return is forced by eventsthat fall outside the responsibility of the migrants,such as global economic downturn, humanitariancrisis and conflict. In some regions, the high degreeof “border porosity” allows greater circulationrendering the process of return more common andpart of a continuum where re-emigration is highlypossible. Return can also be imposed by the Stateauthorities of the country of destination, when themigrant is caught in violation of the migration lawand lacks the proper documentation authorizingtheir stay.The “Beyond Irregularity” Project research hasindicated that knowing about available options forreturn often did not influence return as a choice,but was a factor that can intervene in shaping theprocess and outcome of return.IPPR “Homecoming: Return and Reintegrationof Irregular Migrants from Nigeria”I will say it is good, I came back to Nigeriabecause while I was there I always cry to God tocome and remove me from the suffering I wasgoing through because that was not the type oflife that I wanted to live, I have always wanted tobe a great woman by making the difference inmy family, so coming back home is a thing of joyfor me.- FemaleVoluntary return is generally more cost-effective andadministratively less cumbersome than forced returnfor the returning country. Countries of origin wouldalso welcome voluntary return if it would ensurethat the rights of their nationals are respected andwould avoid the stigma and poor outcomes of forcedreturns. Voluntary return can be promoted andsupported in many ways, ranging from pre-returnsupport to post return monitoring.IPPR “Homecoming: Return and Reintegrationof Irregular Migrants from Nigeria”When you are there (Europe), you don’texperience what is happening back home,so when they convince them and they acceptto return and they can see that they can findsomething to do so they are happy.– Nigerian stakeholderComprehensive information packages andcounseling, which include return information,ensure that migrants are aware of their options andcan make informed decisions. It is important thatsuch information be provided as early as possibleafter arrival in the country of destination. However,ongoing access to return information throughoutvarious procedures is also essential, as it mayencourage persons who are at other stages of theprocedure and who lack the possibility to legalizetheir stay to return. After the decision to return hasbeen taken, the continual provision of up-to-datecountry of origin information, including informationon socio-economic conditions, will help the individualto prepare for his/her return and reintegration.Reintegration assistance that is tailored to theindividual’s profile and the country situation, includingsocial and economic circumstances, contributes tothe sustainability of return. Reintegration assistancecan include vocational training, skills training,education grants, assistance with small-business65

Beyond Irregularityschemes and loans for business/micro-enterprisedevelopment. Vocational training programmes andgrants for business/micro-enterprise developmentin the country of origin have been generally moresuccessful than lump-sum payments. Good resultshave been achieved where assistance is offeredto both the individual and the community to whichs/he is returning. Participation by returnees inreintegration planning can ensure that assistance istailored to specific needs and skills.Nonetheless, the “Beyond Irregularity” Projectresearch shows that a majority of returnees toNigeria reported negative experiences, whethertheir return was forced, compelled or voluntary.Some respondents who were returned to Nigeriaarrived at the airport with no one to meet them andcould not contact the organization that they had beengiven the details of. Some ended up in detention inNigeria or were met at the airport by their trafficker.Having the possibility to rely on a local NGO that canmeet the returnee directly at the airport as well asprovide support and all necessary information is akey element of studyAssistance and orientation providedupon arrivalThe Organization for Malian deportees (AME) is an NGO based in Mali whose main objectiveis providing first aid and orientation service to Mali deportees arriving at the airport, andsubsequently supports them whenever they want to file a complaint for human rights violationsexperienced in the country of destination, during their stay or in the removal procedure. AME ispresent at the Bamako airport on a daily basis, meeting deportees as they disembark, and listensto returnee migrants, collects their stories and investigates more when necessary, in order tobuild cases on labour exploitation, gender violence, torture, and similar abuses. Next to legalaid, AME provides assistance for housing, healthcare and job placement and accompanies themigrant as well as their family and community of origin during the process of reintegration.Since not all returnee migrants pass through the airport, AME also is present in some specificareas of Bamako to identify and offer its help to migrants having experienced expulsion froma neighbouring country. Since 2010, AME has offered similar support to voluntary returneesthat wish to return to Mali but are unaware of possibilities to reintegrate in their country, botheconomically and sometimes even logistically (e.g. housing and education opportunities). Theirreintegration plan is often developed in accordance with the National Policy for Migration that hasa section dealing with returnee migrants.AME relies on a wide network of local NGOs, lawyers and other professionals, as well as tradeunions and the consular services of the countries from where migrants were expelled. AMEconducts also advocacy work at national, regional and international levels, promoting the right offree movement and the principle of justice without borders.66

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processSpecific provisions should be foreseen for somevulnerable categories of returnees. With regard tothe return of unaccompanied/separated children,for example, the appointment of a guardian in thehost country, consultations with a guardian or alegal representative in the country of origin, as wellas family reunification or placement in foster carein the country of origin need to be arranged prior toreturn. Trafficked persons found not to be in needof international protection may continue to requiremedical and psychological attention and specificreintegration support to ensure that they are not retrafficked.The “Beyond Irregularity” Project research hashighlighted that some Nigerians who were traffickedwere referred to support that was inappropriatefor them. Some interviewees were afraid to bereunited with their family, yet support assumedfamily reintegration to be the final point – even whenpeople had suffered abuse from their family or whenplacing them back with their original communitywould accentuate their loss of social networks andthe shame they studyCombating stereotypes about returnee migrant womenBased in Bolivia, the Grupo de mujeres migrantes ran a series of theatre workshops developedas part of a self-esteem program for Bolivian women who returned home after living and workingabroad. “We’re Back!” enabled women to prepare and present their testimonies of migrationand return in public spaces, working through their experiences and affirming their identitiesas women and migrants. The public performance element seeks to break down barriers andprejudices which returnees face in their family environment and the broader community.By acting out lived experiences and giving undocumented women control of their representationand narrative drama, theatre, and film can also be a powerful educational tool for both participantsand the audience. It has emerged as a popular means and process to enable undocumentedwomen to come together and challenge their conditions 49 .49 Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM), “Strategies to End Double-Violence AgainstUndocumented Women – Protecting Rights and Ensuring Justice”, PICUM 2013.67

Beyond IrregularityOften main difficulties result from the lack ofcooperation between the destination and theorigin countries. The “Beyond Irregularity” Projectresearch identified that the lack of joined up and ongoingwork around supporting returnees left gaps inIPPR “Homecoming: Return and Reintegrationof Irregular Migrants from Nigeria”The phone just rings and rings. We don’t knowif anyone’s there. And we don’t know anythingabout who these organizations are, theircapacity to support or what they’ll do with ourservice users when they meet them … or ifthey’ll meet them. But often it’s the only optionbecause they’re told they’ll be removed and it’sup to us to find someone, anyone who can helpthem even to leave the airport.- UK Stakeholderthe response. The fact that no systematic referralprocess exists between destination countries andagencies in the countries of origin, means that manyreturnees remain unidentified and not referred to thesupport that is eventually available to them.There is generally a lack of a smooth transitionbetween destination countries and countries oforigin. Assisted voluntary return and reintegrationprogrammes tend to be designed and administeredby the countries of destination or internationalinstitutions rather than local governments in thecountry of origin, so there may be gaps in support thatcan only be identified by users and other providerswho attend to the same demographic. There mayalso be nuances in reintegration needs – for example,between victims of trafficking and irregular migrants– which can only be distinguished through speakingwith returnees about their studyLinking pre-departure with reintegrationThe European Reintegration Support Organisations (ERSO) is a network of non-governmentalreturn counselling and reintegration support organisations working and closely cooperating inthe field of migration and development. ERSO is active in Pakistan, Iraq, Mongolia, Cameroon,Senegal, Togo, Morocco and Sierra Leone.ERSO network members believe that migration entails a potential of having a positive impacton the development of countries of origin/return (CoO) which can be unlocked and fostered byimproving the reintegration of returnees in the local community of their countries of origin.Therefore ERSO’s focus is on the improvement of the social and professional reintegration ofreturnees and the involvement of the local society in that process (community-based approach).The ERSO Network does not intend to promote voluntary return and persuade migrants to leavethe EU, but to offer them support to take a free and self-determined decision on return and – ifthey decide in favour of the return – to help them to fully reintegrate in their local society. ERSONetwork members strongly distance themselves from providing assistance to forced returninitiatives. Nevertheless this category of returnees is also in urgent need of reintegration supportand cannot be ignored. Therefore ERSO Network members still provide these returnees withsupport and assistance after their return where possible.…68

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration process…Specific activities implemented by ERSO include:• impartial counseling and/or assistance to unsuccessful asylum seekers and migrants in anirregular situation regarding their voluntary return and reintegration;• reintegration measures after return in partnership with civil societies in countries of origin; inorder to contribute to the development of the local society the migrant returns to, tailor madereintegration packages are designed applying a community based approach;• capacity building measures such as information and awareness raising campaigns aiming atinforming potential migrants about migration laws and policies and implications of irregularmigration.In Latin America a similar initiative called LATAM developed anetwork providing assistance from the identification of beneficiariesin countries of destination to their endurable reintegration incountries of origin. It pretends to reinforce and support LatinAmerican civil society organisations with additional tools to respond to this phenomenon as wellas to create links with European civil society organisations and networks.Activities carried out by the Latam II project include:• the creation of a virtual platform linking the organisations’ network: it will be used at institutionallevel as well as a tool for people willing to return;• and the definition of a common methodological protocol on the process of voluntary return andreintegration.Sustainable return will not be effective unlesssupported by a strong network of service providersin the country of origin. Moreover, independentmonitoring during the post-return phase ensuresthat returnees are not subject to protection risksupon return to their countries of origin and thatthey can access reintegration services. Protectionconcerns can relate to the security and/orreintegration prospects of returnees, particularlywhere the overall situation in the country or thecircumstances for specific individuals and groups(e.g. ethnic minorities, unaccompanied and/orseparated children, and trafficked persons) remainsfragile. Monitoring activities build confidence amongreturnees and encourage voluntary return. They canalso help identify and address shortcomings in thereturn process.ConclusionWhile there is a growing awareness in destinationcountries about the human rights abused faced byirregular migrants in detention as well as courtcases of unlawful deportations for which States hadbeen found guilty, 50 there is less awareness as wellas redress for migrants who are returned to theircountries of origin. A guiding principle on assessingsustainable return could encompass a number ofrights (i.e. civil and political rights, access to publicand social services, to property, protection againstviolence, etc.) but social factors must be incorporatedin evaluations of sustainability and reintegrationprogramming. This includes work to help peopleto rebuild networks as well as work to break downstigma and expectations.50 Platform for the International Cooperation on UndocumentedMigrants, Bulletin on the El Dridi case and other judgments of the EUCourt of Justice, 22 January 2013.69

Beyond IrregularityjTOOLS & TIPS• Promote voluntary and sustainable return, and develop informationcampaigns and awareness-raising strategies to inform potentialreturnees of all available options, as well as circumstances incountries of origin.• Foster partnerships with key actors, and create appropriatereferral mechanisms in the countries of origin linking with localorganizations working in the community where the migrantoriginally came from.• Train authorities and civil society actors on how to ensure humaneand dignified returns in accordance with human rights standards.• Monitor the situation of migrant detainees to ensure accountabilityand transparency in their treatment.• Engage in return counseling, tailor responses to meet specificneeds of returnees during and after the return process, andprovide post-return monitoring.• Encourage the participation of returnees in reintegration plans,and monitor reintegration activities that benefit the individual andthe community in the country of origin.• Promote cooperation between destination countries and countriesof origin with regard to return and reintegration.70

A resource guide for civil society organizations in Nigeria advocating for undocumented migrants’ rights throughout the migration processConclusionThis guide has aimed at identifying practical solutionsthat address the human rights concerns of migrantsat various stages in the migration process.Human rights play a crucial role in the decisions tomigrate and many migrants have all suffered somekind of constraint on their rights in their countryof origin. Violence and fatalities are increasinglyappearing as a common feature of internationalmigration movement. Discrimination, criminalization,isolation, marginalization, destitution, andsometimes full exclusion from society are part ofthe realities faced by undocumented migrants oncethey reach their country of destination. During theprocess of return, detention and deportation aremost likely to occur if the return is forced, and thisclearly undermines the reintegration process in thefamily or community of origin.The examples illustrated in this guide have triedto challenge laws, policies and practices whichviolate migrants’ rights and thus contain toolsand information that undocumented migrantsas well as their advocates can use to seek justiceand compensation. The examples cited show howhuman rights protection starts in the country oforigin, well before the migration process begins.Informing migrants about their rights, conductingresearch and collecting evidence, building alliancesand transnational cooperation, undertaking politicallobbying and strategic advocacy, developingcommunication skills and campaigning, andmobilizing and empowering migrants are allmethods that should be used by a wide range ofactors to promote a much broader acceptance aswell as realisation of undocumented migrants’human rights.Beyond policies that prioritize irregular migrationprevention and restrain the human rights of migrants,numerous initiatives undertaken by CSOs as wellas governmental actors integrate a human rightsapproach, facilitating safe migration and ensuringmigrants’ protection. This is a significant challengethat has rarely been adequately addressed, butpractice on the ground has the potential to betterinform the decision making process and stimulatepolicy change.71

Beyond Irregularity72

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