Statement Transnational Migrant Platform Europe at the OEIGWG UNHRC

On  the occasion of the Second Session of the OEIGWG mandated to develop “an international legally binding instrument for TNCs and other business enterprises with respect of human rights” 26/9 June 2014

I am Nonoi Hacbang and I speak on behalf of the Transnational Migrant Platform Europe – a network that is a convergence of many migrant communities from all global regions but especially from Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Madame Chair, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, we extend our congratulations to you as the Chair of the OEIGWG, to your team and to the governments and who have brought this process successfully to this 2nd Session.

From the perspective of the Transnational Migrant Platform Europe (TMP Europe), we make this contribution in relation to Transnational Corporations and the issue of Migrant Labour in the Global supply chain.

In particular, we think that that the legally binding instrument must include provisions that address the violations of TNCs in the deployment of migrant labour.

We locate the current major mobility of migrant labour at the core of the neoliberal paradigm which demands massive global mobile labour. From the perspective of Capital, this mobile migrant labour should have restricted access to labour rights, human rights and social rights. And in many national contexts today, the restrictive migration policy reduces many thousands of workers globally to being the so called “undocumented persons” – or the sans papiers. We see this in particular in relation to the United States and Europe. This also applies to refugees who are refused asylum and become undocumented.

It is important to acknowledge the role of the corporate driven economic paradigm as a major driver of out-migration. For example, in this context and accelerated by the policies of the International Financial Institutions (IMF & World Bank), Structural adjustment and debt, as well as the WTO & the FTAs & Investment Agreements – there has been the relentless industrialisation of corporate agriculture and fishing which has resulted in the erosion if not the collapse in many countries and regions of the world of livelihoods from family agriculture or small/family fishing.

Taken together with an export and corporate led economic model with Free Trade Zones, Mining of raw materials, this has also led to widespread unemployment, underemployment, and migration. And more recently the reality of climate change and extreme weather conditions has become a new driver of migration. The continuing war in the Middle East, mainly driven by a policy of securing oil and fossil fuel resources has resulted in millions of refugees being driven from their homes and homelands.

The TNCs leading the export economic model therefore benefit from the profits generated by industrialised agriculture and fishing as well as from the exploitative wage and working conditions very often of women workers in the Free Trade Zones and manufacturing supply chains. At the same time, it is the Corporate giants that benefit from the mobile, often highly skilled, migrant labour as we see with Mexican and Central American labour in the corporate farms of the US; with African and Asian workers in the International Construction Corporations; Filipinos in the giant shipping corporations transporting goods globally; and migrant women being deployed globally to undertake care work and domestic work across the world.

Cases like the Bangladesh migrant contrucuction workers in Quatar, forced to work in slave like conditions and dying of exposure to the sun brought world attention to this reality of the commodifiction of migant workers and denial of their fundamental human rights.

But these violations of human rights and labour rights are widespread across the spectrum of TNC operations in Construction, Shipping and Farm work. Another major concern is the huge growth of the Corporate industry in the militarisation and externalisation of borders and of the Corporations such as the G4S (one of the largest corporate employers with operations in 120 countries) in the detention, and deportation of migrants and refugees.

In this context we propose for the attention of the IGWG that:

The Treaty needs to guarantee the primacy and superiority of the overall framework of human rights in relation to all dimensions of labour, including the various sectors of migrant labour in the global supply chains.

The Treaty must make provisions to address the impunity of Corporaitons in the global supply chains, including in the migrant sector.

The Treaty needs to assert the State’s responsibilty to take the private sector and corporations out of the governance of migration and refugee issues.

In the context of this Treaty, we see the protection of migrant labour rights as integral to and related to the Rights of affected people and communities by TNC operations.

These proposals are respectfully submitted for your consideration in the task of Building the Binding Treaty to guarentee the implementation and fulfillment of human rights and migrant rights in relation to the operations of Transnational Corporations.

Thank You.

Nonoi Hacbang

Transnational Migrant Platform Europe

Submitted at the OEIGWG UNHRC in the ECOSOC framework of the Transnational Institute

October 28th, 2016

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