Migrant Forum in Asia
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CEDAW approves General Recommendation on women migrant workers

The UN Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Committee, affirming that migrant women, like all women, should not be discriminated against in any sphere of their life, decided at its 32nd Session in January 2005 to issue a General Recommendation on some categories of women migrant workers who may be at risk of abuse and discrimination. The General Recommendation 27, also known as GR 27, aims to elaborate the circumstances that contribute to the specific vulnerability of many women migrant workers and their experiences of sex- and gender-based discrimination as a cause and consequence of the violations of their human rights.

Recognizing that migrant women may be classified into various categories and that these categories remain fluid and overlapping, the scope of the general recommendation is limited to addressing the situations of migrant women who, as workers, are in low-paid jobs, may be at high risk of abuse and discrimination and who may never acquire eligibility for permanent stay or citizenship, unlike professional migrant workers in the country of employment. These categories of migrant women are: (a) women migrant workers who migrate independently; (b) women migrant workers who join their spouses or other members of their families who are also workers; and undocumented women migrant workers who may fall into any of the above categories.

CEDAW is an international treaty that can also be invoked to address women migrants’ issues. With 178 ratifications by countries of origin, transit and destination, CEDAW is one of the most widely ratified of conventions, ranking second only to the Convention on the rights of the Child.

The CEDAW Committee approved on 5th November 2008 the General Recommendation on Women Migrant Workers.  Since GR 26 was not approved, 27 has been moved up and will now be known as GR 26.

The full text of the GR 26 is available at http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/comments.htm.


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MFA is a regional network of non-government organizations (NGOs), associations and trade unions of migrant workers, and individual advocates in Asia who are committed to protect and promote the rights and welfare of migrant workers.

It is guided by a vision of an alternative world system based on respect for human rights and dignity, social justice, and gender equity, particularly for migrant workers.

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