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July 3, 2006

Over the past year, Global Workers has leveraged opportunities to promote the issue of portable justice in the United Nations processes concerning migration.

No one entity within the UN system is responsible for migrants. Perhaps as a consequence there is a gap in protection and attention to migrant issues. The UN Secretary General has shown increasing concern for migrants and has generated important discussions around the issue. As part of this developing process, for the first time ever, the UN General Assembly will hold a “High-level Dialogue” in September 2006 to discuss the nexus between migration and development.

In preparation for the High-level Dialogue, entities involved with migration and the UN have been holding various activities. Global Workers has become increasingly active in the process.

In December 2005, Cathleen Caron, representing Global Workers, attended the United Nations Committee on the Protection of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (Migrant Worker Committee) Day of General Discussion in Geneva. The Migrant Worker Committee oversees the state parties’ compliance with the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (Migrant Worker Convention). The purpose of the meeting was to ask NGOs for input about the nexus between migrants and development in preparation for the High-level Dialogue. Global Workers attended to raise awareness about the importance of portability of justice, the term which characterizes the challenges migrants face in achieving transnational access to justice. Committee Members responded positively to the intervention and several pledged to raise the issue with Member States. Prior to the meeting, Global Workers submitted a report to the Migrant Worker Committee entitled “Global Workers Require Global Justice: The Portability of Justice Challenge for Migrants in the USA” (available on the publications page).

In May, the Secretary General issued a report on Migration and Development to frame the discussion at the High-level dialogue. Global Workers recently submitted comments on the report (available on the publications page).

Global Workers will next participate in Informal Interactive Hearings on July 12 at United Nations headquarters in New York. The objective of the hearings is for NGOs (non-governmental organizations), civil society and the private sector to interact with UN Member States and offer input for the September High-level Dialogue. This will also be an important opportunity to discuss transnational labor rights with NGOs and migrant groups from around the world.

The next blog entry will examine what is missing from the migration debate: transnational justice for migrants.

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