UN Committee on the Rights of Migrant Workers recommended Azerbaijan to protect its citizens working abroad

Upon consideration of the state report of Azerbaijan at the 80th session, the UN Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (CMW) issued its important recommendations.  

The Committee noted with regret insufficient representation of civil society in the dialogue with the UN (the ADC Memorial’s report was the only alternative material published for the 80th session of the CMW) and recommended Azerbaijan to revise the legislation restricting the independent activities of civil society organizations, including migrant and diaspora organizations in the country and abroad in order to ensure their effectively participation in the preparation and evaluation of the national report and in monitoring the implementation of the provisions of the Convention.

In its report, ADC Memorial raised the problem of Azerbaijan’s insufficient involvement into protecting the rights of its citizens working abroad. In particular, in Russia, migrants from Azerbaijan often become victims of hate crimes, profiling by law enforcement officers, an accusatory bias of justice; migrant children are often excluded from school education. As a result of tough migration policy in Russia, many migrants are sentenced to expulsion and often end up in immigration detention centers for months or even years, without judicial control over the reasons and term of detention.

The Committee called Azerbaijan to cooperate more actively and effectively with countries that have not ratified the Convention, but accept a large number of migrant workers. With some of these countries, Azerbaijan has concluded bilateral agreements in the field of labor (for example, with Russia – in 2003), but they no longer reflect the current situation and do not adequately protect labor migrants, especially those who have not been able to regulate their status.

The Committee recommended Azerbaijan to guarantee, in the implementation of any bilateral or multilateral agreements, the rights of all migrant workers and members of their families in full compliance with the Convention, General Comment No. 1 (2011) on migrant domestic workers, No. 2 (2013) on the rights of migrant workers in an irregular situation and members of their families, and joint general comments No. 3 and No. 4 (2017) of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families and No. 22 and No. 23 (2017) of the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

The other important recommendations of the Committee include a complete ban on immigration detention, especially for children; ensuring birth registration of children of migrants; guarantees of the rights of migrant children to education, including those in an irregular situation; combating exploitation and human trafficking. The relevance of the latter problem is shown by the recent decision of the ECHR (Zoletic and Others v. Azerbaijan – 20116/12), with the awarded compensation to 33 undocumented migrants from Bosnia and Herzegovina who worked at state construction sites in Baku.