Violence against women migrant workers: Report of Secretary-General (A/74/235) [EN/AR/RU]

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Seventy-fourth session
Item 26 (a) of the provisional agenda*
Advancement of women: advancement of women


The present report, submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution 72/149, outlines the current context with respect to the problem of violence against women migrant workers. It provides information on the measures taken by Member States and activities undertaken within the United Nations system to address this issue and ensure the protection of migrant women’s human rights. The report concludes with recommendations for future action.

I. Introduction

  1. In its resolution 72/149 on violence against women migrant workers, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to provide a comprehensive, analytical and thematic report to the Assembly at its seventy-fourth session on the problem of violence against women migrant workers, especially domestic workers, and on the implementation of the resolution, taking into account updated information from Member States, the organizations of the United Nations system, in particular the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), as well as the reports of special rapporteurs that refer to the situation of women migrant workers and other relevant sources, including non-governmental organizations. The Assembly called upon States to adopt or strengthen measures to protect the human rights of women migrant workers, including domestic workers, regardless of their migratory status, including in policies that regulate the recruitment and deployment of women migrant workers, to consider expanding dialogue among States on devising innovative methods to promote legal channels of migration in order to deter irregular migration, and to consider incorporating a gender perspective into immigration laws in order to prevent discrimination and violence against women. The present report covers the period from July 2017 to June 2019.

  2. Since the finalization of the previous report (A/72/215), the General Assembly adopted the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration at an intergovernmental conference held in Marrakech, Morocco, in December 2018. The Global Compact is a framework that fosters international cooperation among all relevant actors on migration. The Global Compact includes a gender-responsive approach as one of the overarching guiding principles, and the issue o f eliminating violence against migrants is addressed in objectives 6, 7 and 17. Objective 6 contains a specific commitment to review relevant national labour laws, employment policies and programmes to ensure that they include considerations of the specifi c needs and contributions of women migrant workers, especially in domestic work and lowerskilled occupations, and to adopt specific measures to prevent, report, address and provide effective remedy for all forms of exploitation and abuse, including sexual and gender-based violence.

  3. The Beijing Platform for Action articulated a vision for women to live their lives free from violence. Migrant women, including women migrant workers, are noted as being particularly vulnerable to violence and other forms of abuse. The year 2020 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and is therefore a pivotal year for the accelerated realization of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls and for ending violence against them.

  4. In 2017, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women introduced a general recommendation on gender-based violence against women (No. 35), in which it highlighted that women in the context of migration often face a heightened risk of violence.

  5. In June 2019, the International Labour Conference adopted a new convention (No. 190) and an associated recommendation (No. 206) concerning the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work. The convention recognizes the right of everyone to a world of work free from violence and harassment, while the recommendation requires members to take legislative or other measures to protect all migrant workers, in particular women migrant workers, regardless of migration status, in origin, transit and destination countries, from violence and harassment in the world of work.

  6. In the agreed conclusions adopted at its sixty-third session (see E/2019/27-E/CN.6/2019/19), the Commission on the Status of Women underscored the importance of protecting labour rights and a safe environment for women migrant workers, noting that migrant women, in particular those who are employed in the informal economy and in less skilled work, are especially vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Furthermore, it was acknowledged that social protection systems can make a critical contribution to the fulfilment of human rights for all, in particular for those who are marginalized or in vulnerable situations, and that measures should be taken to assist women migrant workers at all skills levels to have access to social protection.

  7. The present report incorporates submissions from 25 Member States, 1 one intergovernmental organization2 and six United Nations entities3 relating to violence against women migrant workers in all public and private spheres. It draws on concluding observations, general recommendations and comments of human rights treaty bodies, and reports by special procedures mandate holders of the Human Rights Council.