The Human Rights Clinic undertakes a range of cases and projects that seek to advance the rights of migrant workers in Asia and Australia.
International Obligations Concerning Migrant Workers: A Guide for Countries of Origin
The UNSW Human Rights Clinic is producing the first global guide on international obligations concerning migrant workers for countries of origin. The Guide is an accessible and practical resource and tool for all stakeholders involved with migrant workers – including legal and policy makers, government (particularly consular officials), and civil society. The Guide applies the rights of migrant workers and the obligations on States to all aspects of the migrant worker journey from pre-departure, working abroad and returning home. Drawing together major human rights, labour rights and other international instruments, it can be used as a basis for monitoring and assessing programs, treaty body and UPR reporting, benchmarks for policy or domestic legislation, and as a resource for domestic and transnational advocacy and capacity building.
Indonesia's International Obligations Concerning Migrant Workers
Guided by the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UNSW Human Rights Clinic produced a Guide to International Obligations regarding Migrant Workers for Indonesian government officials and civil society advocates. The extensive guide, to be published in Bahasa Indonesia, can be used by the Ministry to train its diplomats and officials, and as an aid to treaty body reporting and domestic law and policy reform. It may also be used by diplomats as a basis for advocacy and negotiation on behalf of migrant workers in their country of employment. This will be the first comprehensive guide on Indonesia's international obligations to its migrant workers, and will provide civil society organisations with a new platform for training, advocacy, reporting and law reform initiatives, as well as for transnational advocacy in Indonesian migrant workers’ countries of employment.
Issues Paper: Temporary Migrant Workers in Australia
In October 2015, the Clinic published the first overview of temporary migrant labour in Australia for a general audience. The Issues Paper, Temporary Migrant Workers in Australia, summarises the situation of temporary skilled migrants (457 visa holders), international students, working holiday-makers, seasonal workers, and other temporary migrant workers in Australia, including migrants in an irregular status. It explains the factors that make these workers vulnerable to mistreatment, and analyses the range of harms that temporary migrants encounter in connection with their employment. The paper also sets out the international and domestic laws in place to protect migrant workers in Australia, and related institutional frameworks.
The Clinic also released a second Issues Paper, Xenophobic Acts and Speech toward Migrants in Australia which examines the nature and scope of xenophobic acts and speech towards migrants in Australia and provides an overview of laws prohibiting racial discrimination and racial vilification. The issues papers were originally prepared as briefing papers for the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants.
UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants' Country Visit to Australia
The UNSW Human Rights Clinic produced two key briefing papers for the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, François Crépeau, in preparation for his anticipated visit to Australia in October 2015. During the visit, which was subsequently postponed to 2016, the Clinic provided the UN Special Rapporteur with a briefing on issues concerning migrant workers in Australia. When the Special Rapporteur’s visit was postponed, clinic students published an opinion piece, 'Australia’s Human Rights Doublethink' in The Diplomat, explaining to a global audience the significance of the Special Rapporteur’s decision to postpone his trip and the consequences for Australia’s international human rights reputation.
Policy on Labour Migration for Cambodia 2015-2018: An Analysis of Compatibility with the Migrant Workers Convention
At the request of the peak NGO coalition Migrant Forum in Asia, the UNSW Human Rights Clinic drafted The Policy on Labour Migration for Cambodia 2015-2018: An Analysis of Compatibility with the Migrant Workers Convention as a platform for civil society advocacy for ratification of Migrant Worker Convention.
Letters of Advice and Video Primers on Indonesia’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers
The UNSW Human Rights Clinic produced Letters of Advice on Indonesia’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers to the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and to the People’s Alliance for the Ratification of the Migrant Worker Convention (“AARAK”). The Advice to AARAK is accompanied by explanatory video presentations for civil society organisations in English and Bahasa Indonesia, highlighting the obligations of countries of origin under the Migrant Workers Convention.
Migrant Domestic Workers’ Access to Redress in Malaysia: Report with Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
In collaboration with Law students at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), the UNSW Human Rights Clinic released a report on Migrant Domestic Workers’ Access to Redress in Malaysia to assist Malaysian NGOs in identifying opportunities for policy and legislative reform.
In 2013 the Clinic undertook its first collaborative venture with Law students at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM). Students worked on two projects, the Migrant Worker Project and the Unaccompanied Minor Asylum Seekers Project.
Migrant Worker Project Students from UKM and the UNSW Human Rights Clinic produced a report intended to enhance the realization of the rights of migrant domestic workers in Malaysia. It assisted Malaysian NGOs in identifying opportunities for policy and legislative reform regarding Malaysia’s implementation of its obligations as a migrant worker receiving country. The report, along with an invitation for dialogue and potential opportunities for collaboration, was sent to the following NGO’s in Malaysia:
- Amnesty International Malaysia
- Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia (SUHAKAM)
- Suara Inisiatif Berhad (SUARAM)
- MTUC - Malaysian Trade Union Congress
- All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
- Women's Aid Organisation - Pertubuhan Pertolongan Wanita
- Report: “Abused and Alone: Legal Redress For Migrant Domestic Workers in Malaysia”
Migrant Worker Project: Nicole Mekler, Amritha Thiyagarajan
Manual on the Indonesian Migrant Worker Insurance Scheme
In consultation with various civil society organisations in Indoensia, the UNSW Human Rights Clinic drafted the first manual for Indonesian migrant worker NGOs on assisting migrant workers to access justice through the Indonesian Migrant Worker Insurance Scheme.
Advice to Nepalese NGO on Rights of Women Migrant Workers
At the request of leading Nepalese NGO Advocacy Forum, the Human Rights Clinic provided an advisory brief on domestic implementation of Nepal’s obligations to its women migrant workers under the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)