ADC Memorial submitted a list of issues to the UN CMW on Kyrgyzstan’s observance of the rights of migrant workers

At the 34th session of the UN Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, a List of Issues will be formed to be addressed to the Kyrgyzstan authorities. ADC Memorial drew the Committee’s attention to the need for additional efforts of the Kyrgyzstan authorities on the protection of migrants working abroad (mainly in Russia, which has not ratified the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families). Among the issues raised by ADC Memorial, there are the protection of the rights of women and girls in migration, the need to reform legislation on the repatriation of children, guarantees of free work of human rights organizations.

The Committee’s experts asked for additional information about cases of racism and xenophobia against Kyrgyzstan citizens abroad and about the activities of consular offices, as well as about migrants’ access to the election process and opportunities for money transfers from abroad.

When preparing the List of Issues, ADC Memorial is based on human rights reports created in cooperation with partners from Central Asia: the Human Rights Movement Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan, the Kyrgyz Family Planning Alliance, the International Legal Initiative (Kazakhstan).

Statement of Anti-Discrimination Centre Memorial

28 March 2022, 34th Session of the UN CMW

Dear Committee Members,

Speaking about the rights of migrant workers from Kyrgyzstan, we first of all have to talk about external migration, and mainly in Russia which is a destination country for 95% of Kyrgyzstan’s migrants in a number of more than one million people. Kyrgyzstan’s economy is extremely dependent on their work and their money transfers.

Having overcome the hardest phase of the pandemic, with economic decrease and lockdown, in 2022, migrant workers faced a new challenge. The Russia’s war against Ukraine caused a catastrophic economic crisis in the whole region, the risks of martial law and again border closures. Russia’s military propaganda provokes chauvinistic and xenophobic sentiments, which creates risks for labor migrants from Central Asia.

In this situation, it is extremely important, including for the promotion of the Convention in the world, that Kyrgyzstan would insists on respecting the rights of its citizens even in the countries who have not ratified the Convention.

We ask the Committee to address the following questions for the government of Kyrgyzstan:

  • What has been done and planned in order to strengthen the protection of the rights of migrants abroad, in particular: demand for general improvement of migration policies and legislation in the destination countries; demand for decriminalizing the HIV-positive status of migrants in the destination countries; demand for effective investigation of cases of police and judicial arbitrariness and hate crimes against migrant workers abroad; for strengthening consular assistance abroad?
  • What lessons have the Kyrgyzstan authorities learned from the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of preparedness for similar situations in the future (safe and rapid repatriation of citizens from countries in a state of emergency, measures of economic support in the country, measures taken in order to re-orient the economy and minimize dependence on migrant labor)? What has been done in order to prevent involvement of migrant workers from Kyrgyzstan in the military aggression of Russia against Ukraine?
  • What measures is the Kyrgyzstan government taking for protection of migrant women from discrimination abroad and stigmatization at home? What measures are being taken to reduce the health risks of migrant women in the context of their labor migration? Are gender-sensitive provisions being introduced into migration legislation and practices, including on reintegration of women after their migration? What is being done for protection of the rights of girls forced to work abroad, including their right to education?
  • Does the Kyrgyzstan government intend to bring legislation and practices on the repatriation of children in line with modern international human rights standards and replace the outdated Chisinau Agreement with modern bilateral agreements on the repatriation of children, completely eliminating immigration detention of children and police involvement in the repatriation process?
  • Finally, having in mind that during the previous reporting cycle there were obstacles to the cooperation of NGOs with the Committee, what has been done to create proper conditions for independent and effective work of Human Rights organizations and their cooperation with the UN in the framework of the Convention?