UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS Council

Director: Fatima Shahbaz

Topic: The rights of Migrant Workers

With increasing ease of transportation and globalization, the world is seeing more migrant laborers today than ever before. As of now, there are approximately 164 million migrant laborers, a 9% increase from 2013, with some making up nearly 18.5 percent of the workforce in high-income countries. Migrant workers are imperative to the economies of both their host and home countries, with millions each year sent back home in the form of remittances. Unfortunately, despite their value, migrant workers are often times extremely vulnerable to exploitation and abuse in their host countries and offered minimal legal or social protections. Many migrant laborers face predatory subcontracting schemes, unsafe work practices, and have their legal documents confiscated upon arrival, leaving them hostage to the goodwill of their employers. Others are physically abused and have their wages withheld, trapping them in cycles of inescapable debt.

In the Human Rights Council at HMUN Dubai 2020, delegates will be forced to grapple with finding a common ground between allowing the free movement of labor in and out of a country, individual country’s labor laws, and global shared standards for workers’ welfare and justice. The situation that migrant workers face is one that is especially precarious and difficult to address, considering the involvement of nefarious “middle-men” in the recruitment process that many host governments remain unaware of and do little to counteract their predatory debt measures. Moreover, delegates must grapple with the difficulty of enforcing both the creation and enforcement of standards for migrant workers that are respected by both home and host countries.

- FS