New York City, New York - October 4, 2013

United Nation’s High Level Dialogue  – Day Two
The UNHLD final day included Roundtable 4: Labor Mobility.  Executive Director, Cathleen Caron was selected as one of the ten civil society members to speak from the floor, but in the end only one civil society representative spoke from the floor due to time restrictions. The challenge for non-government participation in roundtable two was twofold. 1) Many governments wanted to make statements, and 2) The Russian co-chair made it clear-off the record that he did not see the need for civil society participation and accordingly did not allot time.  Indeed, he initially refused space for the U.S. union representative from the AFL-CIO to be a panel speaker, in preference for a recruiter, though he later reversed that decision after considerable pressure.
Global Workers' undelivered floor statement urged the states to endorse Civil Society’s Five Year Action Plan and elaborated on two points of that plan. Point 7 of the Five Year Action Plan calls for the regulation of the migrant labor recruitment industry. To achieve this, Global Workers recommends the following:
  • Transparency in the Recruitment Supply Chain - Without knowing who the legitimate recruiters are, workers have no tools to distinguish between human trafficking, fraud, or a legitimate job offer.
  • Prohibition of Cost Shifting to Recruited Workers - When employers are permitted to shift the cost of international recruitment to the worker, the worker is deeply disadvantaged and vulnerable. Working in debt severely compromises workers ability to speak out if contract conditions are not met. 
Point 8 of the Five Year Action Plan calls for mechanisms to guarantee labor rights for migrant workers.  To achieve this, Global Workers recommends:
  • Realization of Portable Justice - Portable justice is the right and ability of transnational migrant workers to access justice in the countries of employment even after they have departed for their home countries. Temporary worker visa programs require workers to go home when the contract ends.  But the right to seek redress for labor exploitation cannot end when the contract ends.  To realize portable justice, we must create mechanisms to receive worker complaints in the countries of origin in order to win justice in the countries of employment. 
After two days of listening to the government speeches, two themes emerged.  One was the call to include migration markers in the post-2015 Development Agenda. There was consensus that if it is not included, it will be much harder to hold governments accountable for making progress in this area.  As to what aspects of migration they wanted to measure, it was unclear.  Another consensus was the governments overall satisfaction with the Global Forum on Migration and Development, the annual non-binding, government forum that developed after the first UNHLD. The future of a High Level Dialogue at the UN was also very unclear. The next global discussion space will be the GFMD in Sweden in May 2013 and Global Workers and Defender Network representatives hope to be there to push forward our portable justice agenda and be heard.
After the roundtable, Cathleen and Global Workers Defender, Miriam Ramirez met with Guatemalan government representatives. The primary focus was to press the government for a commitment to follow-up on the Global Workers report, which exposed H-2B recruiter’s confiscation of property titles to ensure that Guatemalan H-2B visa holders working in the U.S. would not complain about their conditions or talk to legal services.  Though no commitment was forthcoming, the meeting successfully established a relationship to be built upon.  The government was especially interested in verifying work conditions on Canadian farms and capacity building around temporary worker programs to protect their migrants abroad.

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"Tribunal canadiense ordena a empresa indemnizar a trabajadoras mexicanas" (fuente: La Jornada)

COMUNICADO DE PRENSA: Guatemala, Guatemala - Hoy Global Workers Justice Alliance, la Pastoral de Movilidad Humana de la Conferencia Episcopal de Guatemala y La Oficina de Derechos Humanos del Arzobispado de Guatemala hacer saber al publico nacional e internacional de la apropiación irregular de títulos de propiedad por parte de reclutadores de trabajadores migrantes temporales, con el informe "Confiscación de Títulos de Propiedad en Guatemala por parte de reclutadores en Programas de Trabajadores Temporales con Visas H-2B". Sigue el enlace para acceder el comunicado completo:

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