On The Road To Success blog: Finland has not ratified the UN Convention of Migrant Workers Rights

by , under All categories, Enrique

Our friend Zuzeeko of On The Road To Success blog has published an interesting rticle on the impact of Finland not ratifying the UN Convention on Migrant Workers Rights and how this may affect immigrant workers in the country.

Writes Zuzeeko: Ratification would mean that Finland has willingly assumed the obligations laid down in the Convention and can be held liable under international law for failure to fulfill its obligations. Besides the obligation to respect the rights of migrant workers enshrined in the Convention, Finland would be obligated to submit reports to the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (CMW), as stipulated in Article 73 of the Convention. Finland would be expected to report on legislative, judicial, administrative and “other measures” taken to guarantee the rights of migrant workers and members of their families. The Committee would examine the reports and make recommendations to Finland – on what should be done to adequately protect migrant workers within its borders.

In other words, and as Zuzeeko states that signing such an agreement by Finland will have a positive impact, could explain the reason by some of the problems that immigrants face in the Finnish labor market.

Thank you Zuzeeko for another eye-opening article!

  1. hannu

    You failed to check what countries have signed/ratified that…

    Usa, no
    Canada, no
    Australia, no
    Any western country, no.
    Well.. Lesotho, Rwanda and fellows have…

    • Enrique

      –You failed to check what countries have signed/ratified that…

      Let’s see what Zuzeeko has to say about that.

  2. OnTheRoadToSuccess

    First and foremost – thanks Enrique for creating awareness on the many problems immigrants face in Finland and what could be done to remedy the situation.

    Hannu, I anticipated your response and would have been shocked if this did not come up: “You failed to check what countries have signed/ratified that…

    Usa, no
    Canada, no
    Australia, no
    Any western country, no.
    Well.. Lesotho, Rwanda and fellows have…”

    Why do you major in the minor, Hannu? Why do you focus on what other countries have not yet done, instead on what should be done to make Finland a better place for everyone – not only you?

    If the U.S. tortures individuals and violates the territorial integrity of less powerful states, should Finland do the same? Is Canada, France, Belgium, impose a complete ban on face veils and violate the right to privacy and religious freedom of many [Muslim] women, should Finland do the same? If there is massive discrimination against indigenous people in Australia, should Finland do the same?

    My point is – let us refrain from making unnecessary comparisons, in a bid to justify why Finland has not ratified a Convention that would protect a group of people living in peril within its borders.

    Make no mistake about it – the UN Convention on Migrant Workers Rights is a relatively new convention, adopted in 1990 and entered into force only recently – 2003. I am confident that many countries will ratify this important convention.

    RECOMMENDATION: Finland should ratify the UN Convention on Migrant Workers Rights.

  3. JusticeDemon

    As far as I can tell, there are no longer any significant obstacles to ratifying the European Convention on the Legal Status of Migrant Workers. This Council of Europe instrument dating from 1977 seems a bit more relevant to the developed economies of Western Europe than the UN Convention. The last time I checked, there were only a few relatively minor problems concerning pre-departure provision of information to migrant workers (Article 6), but the Internet has gone a long way towards resolving this issue.

    On a more general note, it’s not clear that much is achieved through individual signature and ratification of UN instruments by Member States of the European Union, especially as the Lisbon Treaty has conferred legal personality on the EU as a whole. It is in many ways far more desirable to get the EU to sign up to these instruments and to incorporate their standards into Community law.

  4. OnTheRoadToSuccess

    JusticeDemon, that’s an interesting input. However, I can’t help but wonder how an instrument drafted in 1977 can be considered more relevant than an intrument drafted thirteen years later. The UN Convention on Migrant Workers Rights takes recent migration trends into consideration and provides better protection – not only to migrant workers, but to members of their families as well.

    I must add that human rights instruments are not drafted to be “relevant” to economies; they’re drafted to adequately guarantee the rights of individuals.

    I am not an expert in European Affairs, but I don’t think the EU is a “SOVEREIGN STATE” under international law. Hence, the EU cannot be party to a UN Convention, as you suggest. The European Parliament, however, can play a major role to ensure that provisions of the UN Convention on Migrant Workers Rights are incorporated into community migration law.

    It’s my opinion that the European Convention on the Legal Status of Migrant Workers is a distraction to the ratification of the much more global and protective UN Convention on Migrant Workers Rights. EU Member States should cooperate with the UN to protect migrant workers.

  5. JusticeDemon

    My understanding is that one of the main motivations for conferring legal personality on the European Union under the Lisbon Treaty was precisely so that the Union would be able to sign up to international obligations for and on behalf of its Member States. I recall some discussion as to whether ECHR might be one such collective ratification. Of course I might be wrong about this, and I haven’t had time to check what was eventually achieved under the Treaty.

    To decide which instrument is more global and protective, we would have to compare them point by point. There is also the respective practical track record of CE and UN instruments in securing concrete improvements. Finland has a mixed record in delivering on its UN treaty commitments.

    I assume you agree that ECHR is a far more effective instrument than CCPR, and this is not only because the enforcement mechanism of the former is better resourced.

    A significant share of the guarantees given by these instruments are resource-dependent. The most obvious examples of this concern pre-departure information. The member States of the Council of Europe are, on the whole, sufficiently resourced to deliver substantial commitments. The same cannot be said of the UN.

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