Unfortunately comparative little information is available on
the conditions faced by detained migrant workers and members of their
families in the Americas. Press articles and NGO reports are the only
source of information. Among the latter, Human Rights Watch published
a report in 1998 on the conditions facing asylum seekers and migrant
workers detained in the United States.
Recently, the Regional Network of Civil Organizations for
Migrations (RNCOM) published a comprehensive report on the migration
situation in North and Central America with a wealth of information
comparing detention conditions in 11 countries.
The Seminar on Minimum Standards and Procedures for the
Protection of the Human Rights of Migrants in Situations of Arrest,
Detention, Deportation and Reception, held in Guatemala during the
year 2000, generated similarly valuable information. In that meeting,
the Group Sin Fronteras distributed
a questionnaire to country representatives with the purpose of
gathering information on the conditions that detained migrant workers
face in the countries of Central and North America. This section of
our report is based on information contained in the above-mentioned
We should start out by indicating that the country responses to
the Sin Fronteras
questionnaire lead to the conclusion that detention conditions of
migrants are extremely deficient in most countries. This is
underscored by the fact that countries admit that many migrants are
held in regular prisons where deplorable conditions reign, with the
exception of Canada and to a lesser extent the United States. Reliable
information on South America is not available and our comments here
refer only to the situation of migrant detainees in Central and North
America and the Dominican Republic.
Migrant workers and members of their families may find
themselves detained in countries of destination or transit for
breaking the law, for trying to enter with false documents, or for
As a general rule, the detention of migrant workers puts
the authorities in a predicament, as the extra burden it places on the
legal system simply cannot be borne by many countries.
The situation faced by migrant workers who have broken the law
is usually similar to that of the rest of the population in prison for
criminal offenses (although at times it may be worse due to
discrimination directed against them by the other inmates and by
prison authorities). The most serious situation, however, is that
faced by migrants detained for irregular status. Unlike those who have
broken the law, these migrants are detained for administrative and not
criminal reasons. In other words, the authorities do not arrest them
to bring charges of alleged criminal activity or to make them serve
out a sentence, but in order to resolve their immigration status. This
means that after detaining them, the authorities either officially
classify them as immigrants and provide them with the appropriate
documentation, or deport them to their country of origin or to a third
country that is willing to accept them. In some cases, however,
migrant workers without proper authorization remain under detention.
This may be due to various factors, such as: (a) an appeal against
deportation may have been filed; (b) consular officials may not have
been able to verify the nationality of the detainee; (c) the country
of origin may have refused acceptance, or (d) the receiving country
may not have the means to finance the deportation.
There is scant information on the number of migrant workers
detained annually in the Americas, although one can assume that the
number is quite high. US authorities, for example, report that they
carry out some 1.6 million arrests every year. Since many individuals
are arrested two, three or more times trying to enter the United
States, it is difficult to come up with the exact number of
As a point of reference, according to the United States
Committee for Refugees (USCR) the INS detained 200,000 people last
At any rate, most of the countries in our hemisphere, including
the wealthiest ones, simply do not have sufficient resources,
infrastructure or personnel to efficiently process the hundreds of
thousands of cases of migrant workers detained for lack of
documentation. But although scant resources are an impediment, perhaps
the real problem is the criminalization of unauthorized migrants. It
is regrettable, but governments often intentionally treat undocumented
migrant workers as criminals because they want to discourage
foreigners from entering the country. The logic followed by many
countries of destination and transit is that any leniency towards
people trying to enter without adequate documentation would only
encourage others to do the same. Thus, they conclude that a hard-line,
inflexible response will discourage and scare off potential
Such a mindset manifests itself from the very moment that an
unauthorized migrant is detained. This means that in North America,
Central America and the Dominican Republic, migrant workers are
arrested with a display of roughness and at times even of violence. At
times they are struck, insulted and/or handcuffed. Often the
authorities do not read them their rights or tell them why they are
being arrested. Moreover, it is all too common that officials with no
express power or authority to do so carry out arrests, often with the
sole goal of extorting money. Furthermore, authorities do not always
follow specific criteria in intercepting persons suspected of having
crossed the border without the required documentation. Much to the
contrary, all too often they stop people on the basis of appearance,
clothing, language or even smell, which quite obviously shows an
alarming degree of discrimination.
Once arrested, migrants are handcuffed and taken to a police
station or a temporary detention center where they are booked. Most
are then sent to regular jails. Detainees are almost always separated
from their families and their personal effects are often confiscated
or even stolen by abusive officials.
It is important to indicate that Confronted with the problem of
having to detain a large number of persons when prisons are already
overcrowded and no special centers exist, states often resort to the
use of substandard facilities. Undocument migrant workers are held in
a variety of settings, including special detention centers, migration
offices, sports stadiums, gymnasiums and hotels. Most migrant workers,
however, are put into a jail of one kind or another. In 1998, Human
Rights Watch reported that 60% of all immigrants detained for
administrative reasons in the United States, the richest country of
the Americas, were sent to regular prisons.
No reliable information is available on the situation in
It is our opinion that, even in the worst cases, undocumented
immigrants do nothing more than transgress administrative regulations.
They are not criminals nor are they suspected of any crime. They
should be held in detention centers and not in regular prisons.
Migrant workers and their families should be kept together in
relatively open facilities and not in cells. They should have access
to libraries, recreation and health care. They should have the right
to go outside at least one hour per day. Such detention centers should
also make available legal manuals in various languages with
information on the legal situation facing the detainees and a list of
names and telephone numbers of legal counsel and organizations that
they can contact for assistance, if they so desire.
However, the situation described above is far from being the
norm. Migrant workers are usually sent to jails with substandard
conditions where their health and even lives may be at risk. This
office is greatly concerned to see that all too often immigration
authorities, who are ultimately responsible for the welfare of migrant
workers, do not even monitor detention centers to ensure that
conditions are adequate. There are even examples of gross negligence
when immigration authorities lose track of certain detainees, who then
end up being held for extensive periods of time while their cases are
left pending. Here we see how immigration authorities wrongly shift
responsibility for the welfare of detained migrant workers to prison
authorities. It must be pointed out that the latter do not usually
receive any training in human rights or the rights of migrants, and do
not know how to deal with persons under administrative detention.
Once interned in a penitentiary, migrant workers are subjected
to endless abuse at the hands of prison authorities. Guards often rob,
hit and subject them to cruel punishment. This is all the more true
with foreigners who do not speak the language and thus find it
difficult to grasp prison rules or communicate with authorities. In
open violation of their rights, undocumented migrant workers are
housed with common criminals, many of whom are serving time for
serious crimes such as homicide, rape or armed robbery. Minors often
suffer the same fate, held in prisons for adults. Inside such prisons,
convicts are commonly organized into gangs that extort, rob, beat and
at times even murder migrant workers.
In addition to abuse at the hands of authorities and inmates
alike, migrant worker detainees must also put up with deplorable
physical conditions. Like other inmates, they are packed into small
cells without adequate lighting or ventilation. Conditions may be so
bad as to pose a health risk. Human beings share cells with mice and
bugs, bathrooms are never properly disinfected and poor handling of
food spreads infection and illness. Migrant workers are not allotted
clothing, toiletries or bedding. More serious is the fact that
detainees often have no access to health care services. In a large
number of prisons there is no doctor or infirmary and inmates are not
provided with medication. In many penitentiaries, inmates with
contagious diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis or hepatitis are not
isolated from other prisoners.
Migrant workers are not given the opportunity to exercise or
partake in recreational activities. They encounter difficulties in
communicating with their families or legal counsel. Visitation
requests are often denied, telephones not available and severe
restrictions on sending and receiving correspondence enforced.
Furthermore, migrant detainees may be transferred often and
without warning, causing them to lose contact with family and legal
The above-mentioned conditions endured by migrant workers and
members of their families are an indication that countries are
systematically violating basic human rights norms. As we have pointed
out, the detention of migrants comes under administrative law. This
means that it is civil in nature and should never be seen as
punishment. It is indeed unfortunate that a large majority of American
states have no clear standards on the detention of migrant workers and
The Office of the Special Rapporteur would like to point
out that the United States recently adopted standard rules on the
detention of such persons. We think that is a positive development
that deserves to be emulated elsewhere.
There are general international instruments that extend
protection to migrant workers and other irregular migrants when
detained. Article 10(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights states, “All persons deprived of their liberty
shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent
dignity of the human person.”
Along the same lines, the Convention against Torture and
Other Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading Treatment or Punishment prohibits
persons deprived of liberty from being subjected to torture or cruel
and degrading treatment.
Moreover, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the
American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man and the American
Convention on Human Rights all prohibit any violation of the human
rights of persons deprived of their liberty.
Furthermore, there are various specific norms setting minimum
standards for the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty.
These include the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of
Prisoners and the Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners.
The latter agreement has earned near universal recognition
as it contains principles made binding by human rights treaties. In
regard to the treatment of detainees, some of the main rules set out
in the Standard Minimum Rules are: (a) separation by sex, age and
criminal record; (b) the right to be informed of all rights in a
language the detainee understands; (c) the right to communicate with
and receive visits from consular representatives, legal counsel and
family; (d) access to medical treatment in case of illness; (e) the
right to one hour of exercise in the open air per day; (f) prohibition
on the use of handcuffs, chains, irons and strait-jackets. These
principles were reinforced in 1988 with the UN General Assembly’s
approval of the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons
under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment.
In summary we can say that, in spite of a scarcity of
information, it is possible to say that the conditions faced by
detained migrant workers in Central America, North America and the
Dominican Republic give rise to concern. Migrant workers are subjected
to abuse and are kept in deplorable physical conditions. This is
especially true when they are kept in regular prisons, which is
incompatible with their legal situation. This office notes with
concern that the general situation faced by migrant workers and
members of their families when detained is critically substandard. And
this is so in spite of the fact that some countries have signed
international agreements on, or recognized the validity of universal
rules for, the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty.
In order to present a comprehensive picture of the conditions
faced by migrant workers and their families in detention, this office
will send out a new questionnaire to governments of the region. In it
we will request information on the number of migrant workers detained
and how they are treated in detention. Special attention will be given
to obtaining information from the countries of South America, as that
is the information currently most lacking. We are especially
interested to learn of the existence and effectiveness of any
government measures for the monitoring of prison conditions and how
they are applied to persons detained due to their immigration status.
With more information in hand, we would be in a better position to
make practical recommendations. The Office of the Special Rapporteur
will also look into the possibility of gathering information from
organizations active in the field, such as churches and human rights
COUNTRY RESPONSES TO THE QUESTIONNAIRE SENT OUT BY THE OFFICE
120. Two years ago we sent out a comprehensive questionnaire
to all OAS members states with the purpose of gathering information on
the situation of migrant workers and members of their families in the
Americas. The questions covered various areas, including demographic
trends, xenophobia, equality before the law, illegal trafficking,
judicial guarantees and due process, payment of taxes and access to
social services. Of the 35 states to which the questionnaire was sent,
only 15 responded (Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Ecuador,
Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru,
Trinidad and Tobago, United States and Venezuela). Chile, Grenada and
St. Lucia also returned the questionnaire but without answering all of
This report presents, for the first time a preliminary
analysis of the responses.
121. Although we still lack information from some countries,
the responses received do allow for an initial understanding of the
trends taken by the countries regarding the human rights of migrant
workers and members of their families. As we stated in our
introduction, countries of destination, transit and origin have
varying interests. Worried by growing numbers, countries of
destination (or reception) tend to stress the need to rationalize
immigration, especially that of undocumented persons. Countries of
transit likewise feel uneasy with the growth in migratory flows and
join in the call for discussion on ways to treat the problem.
Countries of origin, however, protest violations of the human rights
of their nationals in countries of destination and call for discussion
on how to combat such abuse.
122. One impression that immediately emerges is that countries
have extremely limited knowledge of the real magnitude of migratory
flows, especially flows of undocumented persons. The United States and
Canada are exceptions to a certain degree, but most states have little
information on undocumented persons who enter and remain in the
country. This is in effect an admission that their knowledge is
limited. The Office of the Special Rapporteur must welcome the
announcement made at the last RCM of a project to gather statistical
data on migration in Central America,
to be carried out in conjunction with the IOM and ECLAC/CELADE.
123. In regard to the content of responses, certain ideas are
shared in spite of countervailing interests. Most countries are
concerned by the growing presence of criminal organizations
trafficking in human beings. A significant number of respondents
(Canada, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and United States)
reports that such organizations currently operate in their territory.
Since such groups contribute to increasing the magnitude of the
problem and often are a direct threat to the physical integrity of
migrant workers and members of their families, countries agree that
urgent measures against them are needed. This shared concern, however,
seems to derive from the desire that many governments have to include
migration as a subject to be discussed under public security and not
under national human rights policy.
124. A large number of countries also express concern that a
growing number of people are using their territory as a place of
transit. The governments of Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia,
Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico and the United States report that persons
from other countries of the Americas and from elsewhere cross their
borders with the intention of continuing on to another country of
125. There is near unanimity in recognizing that unscrupulous
businessmen take advantage of vulnerable migrant workers, especially
the undocumented, for their own profit, exploiting them to the point
of openly breaking labor law. A large majority report that national
legislation is in place to punish employers that defraud or exploit
migrant workers, but the reality would seem to indicate that such
provisions are not effective.
126. Another clear trend can be seen in regard to legislation
on migrant workers. Most countries in our hemisphere have modern and
rather generous laws in place, at least formally. Many countries
report that by law they provide judicial guarantees and due process
for all migrant workers whatever their legal status. Moreover, many
also say that migrant workers, including the undocumented, have access
to social welfare benefits such as emergency health care and schooling
for their children. Nevertheless, personal testimony and dozens of
reports from diverse organizations indicate otherwise. The end result
is a picture of fairly advanced legislation for the protection of the
basic rights of migrant workers and members of their families existing
side by side with systematic and serious violations of the rights of
this group of people.
127. One characteristic that clearly stands out is related to
discrimination and xenophobia against migrant workers and members of
their families. The majority of the countries reporting emphatically
deny that there are any manifestations of intolerance against migrant
workers in their territory. Many
of these same countries, however, report that their citizens suffer
from discrimination in other countries. In other words, while many
governments say that their nationals are discriminated against
elsewhere, they deny that any incidents of discrimination, racism and
xenophobia occur in their own countries, in spite of accusations
lodged by human rights organizations or even by other governments. The
Office of the Special Rapporteur considers this contradictory attitude
to be negative and problematic. It would be a positive step forward if
governments could condemn discriminatory practices occurring in their
own territory with the same fervor that they rightly protest abuses
against their citizens committed elsewhere. Recognition on the part of
governments that there is discrimination and/or acts of racism and
xenophobia against migrant workers in their countries is an
unavoidable prerequisite to treating the problem.
128. In summary, responses to the questionnaire on the human
rights situation of migrant workers and members of their families show
that beyond certain differing views, the countries of the Americas
coincide on the need to attack trafficking in migrant workers and the
actions of unscrupulous employers. They also agree that the large and
growing number of migrants, from the Americas and elsewhere, in
transit poses a problem. The Office of the Special Rapporteur notes
with grave concern that the legislation in place in most countries is
not effective in extending real protection to migrant workers and
members of their families, a group that faces structural vulnerability
and needs government to contribute to preventing abuses against them.
We are especially concerned by the fact that many governments do not
recognize that violations of due process and alarming incidents of
discrimination, racism and xenophobia against migrant workers and
members of their family are occurring throughout the region.
129. To bring this annual report to the OAS General Assembly
to a close, the Office of the Special Rapporteur would like to express
its belief that the problems that led to its creation are becoming
even more serious. It should be pointed out that the difficulties and
challenges posed by migration in the Americas are not isolated events.
They affect all parts of the world today. One conclusion of the
research and debate carried out in the period covered by this report
is that the phenomenon of migration in our hemisphere should continue
to be a matter of deep concern to member states, the political bodies
of the OAS and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. It has
also become clear that the analyses and scientific research carried
out to date, although at times rigorously done and of great value,
have not been commensurate with the real demands of the situation.
Thus, our first recommendation is that the General Assembly
renew the mandate it gave to the Commission for the creation of the
Office of the Special Rapporteur for Migrant Workers. Such an
extension should be accompanied by a real effort to contribute to the
corresponding voluntary fund in order to make it possible for the
Commission to carry out more in-depth studies and respond positively
to the numerous requests it receives to carry out field
investigations. Furthermore, it is imperative that the Office of the
Special Rapporteur be provided with the means to remain in close
contact with immigration and border authorities in order to gain a
better understanding of the real difficulties involved.
This office should also maintain closer contact and
coordination with other intergovernmental organizations in the field
of migration. It is of vital importance for us to have closer ties to
the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrant Workers and
with the UN Working Group of Intergovernmental Experts on the Human
Rights of Migrant Workers. We intend to continue to work with and
support regional forums such as the Regional Conference on Migration
and the South American Conference on Migration. For our next annual
report, we will examine the possibility of carrying out a study of
these initiatives with a view to gauging the impact they have on the
human rights of migrant workers.
It is also necessary that our office have closer contacts with
the numerous civil society groups that work with migrant workers and
their families and help defend their rights. With this in mind, we
will carry out relevant consultations on the possibility of holding a
training seminar on human rights and migration open to all government
employees, intergovernmental agencies and civil society
representatives. We would welcome suggestions and proposals from all
interested governments and organizations.
We would also like to join the General Assembly in calling on
member states to give serious consideration to signing the
International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all
Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. Although ratification
has encountered obstacles, this instrument is the most complete and
comprehensive attempt that already exists to set out binding rights
and duties in this area.
Without detriment to the foregoing, we also think consultations
should be undertaken on the idea of drafting a similar instrument for
our region, either a declaration or a multilateral treaty. Consensus
building would be a prerequisite to ensure that countries of origin,
transit and destination join together in signing such an instrument.
With that in mind, it would not be a good idea to approach such an
instrument as a response to the concerns of just one set of countries.
Illegal trafficking is an ignominious exploitation of human
beings. We therefore suggest that agreements on monitoring,
cooperation, and transfer of evidence for use in criminal proceedings
be studied and developed. Many countries, moreover, need to adjust
their criminal codes to take organized crime of this nature into
account, defining concepts and criminal activities not previously
contemplated in domestic law. We would recommend that all countries
give serious consideration to signing and ratifying the Convention for
the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of
the Prostitution of Others. We also recommend the signing and
ratification of the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime,
already signed by 120 countries, and the two protocols additional to
it-the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in
Persons, Especially in Women and Children, and the Protocol on
Smuggling of Migrants Workers by Land, Sea and Air.
However, an approach that focuses exclusively on suppression
could actually aggravate the situation of the true victims, the
migrant workers themselves. Persecution may make these “services”
more expensive, and worse yet, make them more perilous to the health
and lives of the victims. Moreover, emphasis on suppression should not
and must not end up targeting the victims of trafficking. We thus
recommend that all actions aimed at monitoring and controlling
migration be accompanied by measures to attend to and safeguard
victims. When the latter must appear as witnesses, their dignity
should be respected at all times and a way found to facilitate their
participation in the case without detaining them.
Following these same ideas, we would like to express our
concern about some coordinated suppression exercises that, at first
glance, would seem not to be aimed at eliminating trafficking in
persons, but at facilitating the collective deportation of
undocumented immigrants, especially of those found on the high seas.
We would like to stress that all the human rights principles covered
in this report must be respected whenever migrant workers come into
contact with the jurisdictional authorities of a country of which they
are not citizens.
Without prejudice to the right of the states under
international law to decide their migration policy, the threat of
prolonged and arbitrary detention cannot be used as a threat to
discourage migration. Detention must be used exclusively as a tool of
short duration and to facilitate return to the country of origin,
however, it is not justified a general matter while the migratory
status of a individual is being determined. In such cases it is
necessary to find ways to guarantee that the person will appear before
the authorities while leaving him in liberty. Furthermore, mechanisms
to ensure that detention is used only when strictly necessary are
needed, as are measures to improve the extremely substandard
conditions in which migrant workers are held in the Americas.
To this end, we believe that governments must be committed to
providing detained migrant workers with optimum safeguards and to
treating them in accordance with the provisions of international law.
Access to consular officials should be facilitated for any
detained immigrant requesting it. When criminal charges are pending,
the state has the duty to inform the defendant of this right under the
Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and Advisory Opinion OC-16.
All the principles provided for in agreements covering the
Americas should be respected in any exclusion, expulsion or
deportation case. The possibility of further developing the principle
of due process and adapting it to the special needs of this area
merits attention. We recommend that the possibility of establishing
minimum standards of due process be studied, and we offer the services
of the Office of the Special Rapporteur and of the Commission in
discussing and drafting such standards.
States must do more to combat xenophobia, racism and other
manifestations of intolerance against migrant workers in the Americas.
In this regard, we believe that concrete measures to foster tolerance
are in order, including a comprehensive review of school curricula and
the promotion of precautionary measures to prevent groups from
disseminating xenophobic or racist messages. Moreover, we think that
control mechanisms are needed to assure that public officials dealing
with migrant workers do not discriminate in any way.
On the subject of authorities, states must implement safeguards
to prevent officials from abusing their authority. We are convinced
that a decisive element contributing to violation of the human rights
of migrant workers and members of their families is the absence of
stricter controls on the behavior of authorities. Therefore, it is our
opinion that closer monitoring of the actual behavior of immigration
officers would reduce the number of violations of the basic rights of
migrant workers in the Americas.
We would underline that undocumented migrant workers from
outside our region are also entitled to humane and respectful
treatment. Such persons must be assured access to due process and they
must not be subjected to any discrimination.
Watch. Locked Away:
Immigration Detainees in Jails in the United States, 1998.
Azar e Inequidad: Informe Sobre los Derechos Humanos de los
Migrantes en Situación de Intercepción, Detención, Deportación y
Recepción en los Países Miembros de la Conferencia Regional Sobre
Migración. Presented at the Regional Conference on Migration,
San José (Costa Rica), March 2001.
countries, asylum seekers are similarly detained until their claims
can be verified and a decision made on whether or not to grant
Watch. op. cit., pp. 4-5; RROCM. op. cit., p. 25.
Watch. op. cit., p. 4; IOM, op. cit., p. 13.
were held in detention for varying amounts of time. USCR. “The INS
Issues Detention Standards Governing the Treatment of Detained
Immigrants and Asylum Seekers,” 2001. USCR Website: http://www.refugees.org/world/articles/developments_rr01_02.cfm
Watch, op. cit., pp. 4-5; RROCM, op. cit., p. 23; USCR (2001), op.
USCR 2001, op.
General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI), 1966.
General Assembly resolution 39/46, 1984.
General Assembly resolution 217 A (III), 1948; American Declaration
of the Rights and Duties of Man, Bogotá (Colombia), 1948; American
Convention on Human Rights, San José (Costa Rica), 1969.
Economic and Social Council resolution 663 C (XXIV), 1957; General
Assembly resolution 45/111, 1990.
General Assembly resolution 43/173, 1988.
Colombia, Chile, Dominica, Ecuador, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras,
Mexico, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, United States and Venezuela
sent in responses two years ago. Costa Rica, Jamaica, Nicaragua,
Panama, Paraguay and Peru did so last year.
Information System on Migration in Central America.
Working Group of Intergovernmental Experts on the Human Rights of
Migrants, Report E/CN.4/s1998/76, paragraphs 37-39.
to the questionnaire were published in the 1998 Annual Report.
The questionnaire contained two types of questions.
The first group of questions were of a general and
demographic character (1-14) and the other group referred to
specific rights (questions 15-59).
The question devised had a double perspective: both has recipients of migrant workers and as net providers
of migrant workers; these latter are aimed at evoking information
regarding the perception of the State with respect to its nationals
working in another country.
The States who
responded were Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Dominica, Ecuador,
United States, Guatemala, Grenada, Honduras, Mexico, Saint Lucia,
Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela.
To define migrant worker and other terms used in this
questionnaire, the IACHR has followed the definitions used by the
International Convention for the Protection of the Rights of Migrant
Workers and the Members of Their Families, of the United Nations.
Accordingly, the IACHR wishes to clarify the scope of the following
terms used in the questionnaire:
Migrant worker: Any person who is going to be engaged, is engaged or
has been engaged in a remunerated activity in a country of which he
is not a native.
Border migrant worker: Any migrant worker who retains his normal
residence in a neighboring country to which he usually returns every
day or at least once per week.
Seasonal worker: Any migrant worker whose labor, by its nature,
depends on seasonal conditions and is performed only during a
certain time of the year.
Family members of the migrant worker: These are any person married
to the migrant worker or any person who in accordance with related
law have equivalent effects to that of marriage, as well as their
dependent children and other dependent persons who are recognized as
members of their family by the applicable law or bilateral or
multilateral treaties between the countries.
Country of origin: This means the country to which the person
referred to is a native.
Country of employment: This means the country where the migrant
worker is going to be engaged, is engaged or has been engaged in a
Country of transit: This refers to the country through which the
person in question travels on any trip to the country of employment
or from the country of employment to the country of origin, or to
the country of habitual residence.