1.       One of the first activities conducted by the Special Rapporteur on “Migrant Workers and their Families in the Hemisphere” was that of elaborating two questionnaires for the purpose of collecting information on the situation of migrant workers and their families. One of the questionnaires was sent to each member state of the OAS, and the other was sent to nongovernmental organizations dedicated to the issue of migrant workers in the region. The aim sought through sending out such questionnaires is to have a broader vision concerning the characteristics, practices and legislation in existence in each state with respect to the phenomena of migrant workers and their families. [95]


2.       In the 1998 Annual Report of the IACHR, the Special Rappourtership reproduced the responses given by States who had responded before the publication of the Annual Report. [96]


3.       The IACHR, with the objective to gather more information decided to reiterate the questionnaire to those states that have not responded it. The new answers are reproduced in the present report, received when the IACHR reiterated the questionnaire, as well as the responses received following the publication by the Commission of its 1998 Annual Report.


4.       This Second Progress Report of the Special Rapporteurship has eight new responses: Bolivia, Belize, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay and Peru.




5.       Hereafter, the Commission will publish the responses of the member States to the questionnaire.  These will refer to the rights examined in the questionnaire grouped thematically to permit a clearer appreciation.: [97]  

1.       Xenophobia


1.        Does xenophobia or racism with respect to migrant workers exist in your country? How is it manifested? Are there any types of law that punish such acts against migrant workers?


2.        Is there xenophobia or racism that affects the migrant workers of your country in the countries of employment or transit? How is it manifested? Are there any laws to sanction such acts?




1.       There is no xenophobia or racism against immigrant workers in Bolivia; Article 156 of the Bolivian Constitution stipulates that work is a duty and a right, constitutes the basis of social and economic order, and thus deserves the protection of the State.


2.       Yes; migrant workers from our country are affected by xenophobia and/or racism, in Argentina. This can be seen in how complex it is for them to sort out their irregular situations and obtain legal status; they are also denied the opportunity to secure jobs on an equal footing and they are harassed by the police.


The Argentine-Bolivian Bilateral Agreement of February 16, 1998, says that the two countries must work to sort out those issues, but this is ignored by Argentina.




1.       No.


2.       No.




1.       Regrettably, there have been some isolated cases of xenophobic behavior and racism against foreigners, particularly those of Nicaraguan origin. For further information, see the following articles:


Doris Sosa S. et al., Percepción de la población costarricense sobre los nicaragüenses que viven entre nosotros, IDESPO, UNA, Heredia, January 1997.


Patricia Alvarenga Venotulo, Conflictiva convivencia: los nicaragüenses en Costa Rica, Cuaderno de Ciencia Social, Nº 1, FLACSO, San José, 1997.


There is no legislation that specifically punishes racism against migrant workers; however, if such attitudes are displayed in actions that undermine public order, they can be punished under common criminal law.


2.       No information.




1.       Migrant workers in Jamaica are not subject to racism or xenophobia. The Jamaican Constitution protects every person in Jamaica from discrimination on the grounds of race, place of origin, political opinions, color or creed. The Constitution makes an exception for laws that make provisions with respect to persons who are not citizens of Jamaica that may be discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.


2.       There is no racism or xenophobia that affects migrant workers from Jamaica in other countries of employment or transit. Jamaican migrant workers are not affected by racism or xenophobia in their countries of employment or transit.




1.       All foreign citizens may enter the country, provided they meet the requirements set by the Nicaraguan State; they may settle in the country provided they meet the regulations that govern paid work in the country.


2.       No reply.




1 y 2. .No. In our country there is no xenophobia, no racism, and no discrimination of any kind against foreigners or Panamanian nationals.




1.       No cases of xenophobia have been reported in the country.

2.       Paraguay’s Constitution guarantees equality for all citizens.




1.       In accordance with the terms of the International Labor Organization’s Convention Nº 111, dealing with discrimination in employment and occupation, which was ratified by Peru by Legislative Resolution Nº 17687 of August 10, 1970, we can state that there is no xenophobia or racism with respect to migrant workers.


All forms of discriminatory behavior are expressly forbidden by our Constitution; hence, no provision can justify the disparate treatment of equals, and certainly not on the grounds of such natural conditions as sex, race, language, beliefs, etc.


Under our laws, defense of the person and respect for human dignity is the maximum goal of society and the state (Article 1); thus:


Article 2: All individuals shall have the following rights:


To equality before the law. No person shall be discriminated against for reasons of origin, race, sex, language, religion, beliefs, economic status, or any other cause.


Article 26: In labor relations, the following principles shall be observed:


Equal opportunities without discrimination.


We also have Law Nº 26772, which provides that offers of employment and of access to educational programs may not contain requirements constituting discrimination or an undermining of equal opportunities or equal treatment.


Discrimination or the undermining of equal opportunities or equal treatment is taken as meaning personnel or educational requirements that are not covered by law and that imply distinct treatment lacking an objective and reasonable cause, based on reasons of race, color, sex, religion, opinion, national origin or social standing, economic or political status, marital status, age, or any other factor.


This provision has been regulated by Supreme Decree No. 002-98-TR, which establishes that the Administrative Labor Authority will be responsible for taking action once the investigation of incidents constituting discrimination under Article 1 of Law Nº 26772 has been requested; moreover, and on an exceptional basis, in the event of a notorious or blatant violation, the competent authority is granted ex officio powers, as set forth in Article 7:


If the complaint is declared grounded, or if the reply in an ex officio procedure is dismissed, the sanction imposed by the Authority shall be a fine equal to one Tax Assessment Unit (UIT). Said fine shall apply to hiring employers, centers of education, and employment agencies and other entities that act as intermediaries in connection with job offers, depending on who placed the corresponding advertisement. Repeat offenses shall be punishable by a fine of five UITs. A repeat offender is an individual who publishes or disseminates offers of employment or of access to centers of education that have already been punished by the Administrative Labor Authority or when the second offer involves similar facts, circumstances, or characteristics.


This was the backdrop against which the law was enacted. It stipulates that offers of employment or of access to education may not contain requirements that discriminate, cancel, or undermine. The discrimination law criminalizes all forms of discrimination on racial, ethnic, religious, and sexual grounds, punishing it by community service of between 60 and 120 working days and disqualification for a period of three years. It also stipulates that the determination of administrative liability will be made by the Ministry of Labor and Social Provision or by the Ministry of Education, depending on whether the offense relates to employment or to education. It also empowers the criminal judge to order the temporary closure of the establishment in question (Law Nº 27270).


2.       It does not exist; legislation against all forms of discrimination is contained in our laws, as described in the above paragraph.


2.       Equal Protection before the law


1.       Is there any discrimination against immigrant workers in your country? How is it manifested? Are there any laws to punish such acts?


2.       Is there any discrimination against emigrant workers from your country in the countries of employment or the countries of transit? How is it manifested?


3.       Are there cases in your country of illegal immigrant workers who have less favorable working conditions than those of your citizens and are these persons exploited or performing forced labor? If so, could you give any cases? Are there mechanisms or procedures to make sure that such situations do not occur? What are they?


4.       Are immigrants workers, especially undocumented or irregular workers, employed at wages below the minimum wage in effect for citizens of your country? If so, could you give the reasons for this and the consequences?


5.       Do you know whether any emigrant workers from your country are employed in the countries of transit or employment under working or wage conditions that are below the minimum applied or paid to the citizens of those countries? If so, could you indicate the country or countries where this occurs, the reasons and the consequences?


6.       Does your country have any type of inspection or criminal, civil or other type of penalties to prevent employers from hiring irregular migrant workers?



1.       Immigrant workers do not suffer discrimination; their opportunities depend directly on their ability to perform within the national economy.


2.       According to reports presented by individuals and the media to the Ministry of Labor and Microbusiness, in Argentina discrimination can be seen in the wages received by Bolivian migrant workers, which are less generous than those earned by Argentine nationals; in addition, their working days are longer than allowed by law.


3.       It does not exist. The General Labor Law, through the Foreigners’ Working Regulations, governs and controls the activities of foreigners and companies; labor conflict records at the Ministry of Labor and Microbusiness for the last ten years contain no information about migrant workers who have been exploited or compelled to perform forced labor.


4.       The records of the Ministry of Labor and Microbusiness contain no complaints or cases of immigrant workers being contracted at wage levels below the national minimum.


5.       Yes. In the USA and Argentina, irregular migrant workers are usually hired under lower labor standards than those countries’ nationals. The consequences of this are margination, inability to secure education for their children, and no access to health care and social security. If a migrant worker reports this situation, he runs the risk of being deported because he is unable to legalize his status and put his papers in order.


6.       Article 27 of the Foreigners’ Working Regulations states that companies that hire immigrant workers who do not meet legal requirements are subject to the sanctions set by the Ministry of Labor and Microbusiness.




1.       No.


2.       No.


3.       No.


4.       No.


5.       No.


6.       No.





1.       Regrettably, there have been some isolated cases of discrimination against migrant workers, particularly in labor matters. There is no legislation that specifically punishes discrimination against migrant workers; however, actions that undermine public order that also entail discrimination can be punished under the regular criminal and labor laws.


2.       No information.


3.       Regrettably, migrant workers do receive less favorable treatment than Costa Rican nationals. Although Article 92 of the General Migration and Nationality Law prohibits the hiring of foreigners who are residing illegally in the country, in practice such hirings do take place. Nevertheless, violation of this provision does not exempt employers from the obligation, set forth in Article 100 thereof, of providing their workers with the payment and social guarantees stipulated by law.


In practice, employers of illegal migrant workers frequently pay them less than the legal minimum wage and do not comply with such social guarantees as sickness and disability insurance, pensions, death benefits, industrial accident coverage, Christmas bonuses, vacations, unemployment, and proper notice.


The mechanism for controlling and correcting situations of this kind involves labor inspections, carried out by officials from the Ministry of Labor and Security, and the inspections that the General Migration Directorate is entitled to conduct under Article 97 of the General Migration and Nationality Law in places where migrants live and work. Violations must be reported to the judicial authorities so a fine can be imposed in accordance with commercial legislation and the General Migration and Nationality Law (Arts. 96 and 101).


4.       Yes, some unscrupulous employers take advantage of migrant workers’ situations and the ample labor supply available by failing to pay the legally required social levies and minimum wages; they are able to do this because of the material need and relative defenselessness of those workers. This practice leads to unemployment among Costa Rican workers; the avoidance of contributions weakens the social security regime; and fresh illegal workers are encouraged to come into the country, thereby endangering the national health service.


The immigration amnesty currently in force is intended to become an instrument for the juridical security of migrant workers: once their papers are in order, they will be able to appeal to administrative and judicial bodies to assert their labor rights, without fearing any potential repercussions.


5.       No information.


6.       Yes. See answer to question 3.




1.       There is no discrimination against immigrant workers in Jamaica. (Please see answer to question 17.)


2.       There is no discrimination against emigrant workers from Jamaica in the countries of employment or the countries of transit.


3.       The government is not aware that there are illegal migrant workers in Jamaica.


4.       Immigrant workers, whether undocumented or irregular, are not employed at wages below the minimum wage of the country.


5.       Emigrant workers from Jamaica are not employed in the countries of transit or employment under wage conditions that are below the minimum applied or paid to the citizens of those countries. In fact special wage rates have been worked out with the United States and Canada and these rates are often higher than the countries’ minimum wages.


6.       If in this question “irregular” is defined as “illegal” immigrants or immigrants who have come entered Jamaica without the authorization to work but who do so anyway, then the Foreign Nations and Commonwealth Citizens (Employment) Act makes it a crime for any employer to have in his employ a foreign national or Commonwealth Citizen without there being in force a valid work permit in relation to that employee.




1.       No reply.


2.       Discrimination against illegal Nicaraguan migrant workers abroad occurs most particularly in the workplace in the receiving countries, and it takes the shape of reduced opportunities, lower pay for services rendered, and low-quality services.


3.       Article 48 of the Nationality Law states that illegal migrant workers may not work or carry out remunerated or lucrative endeavors, either on their own behalf or for others, and with or without a relationship of dependence; in the event that [answer truncated].


4.       No reply.


5.       No reply.


6.       No reply.




1 y 2. No. In our country there is no xenophobia, no racism, and no discrimination of any kind against foreigners or Panamanian nationals.


3.       No reply.


4.       No reply.


5.       No reply.


6.       No reply.




1.       There are no official records of any kind of discrimination against migrant workers in the country.


2.       Occasional news reports describe discrimination against this country’s migrant workers in the nations where they find employment or through which they travel.


3.       When illegal migrant workers perform paid work, they invariably face the risk of being exploited by their employers as regards their wages; thus, to prevent such situations, it is recommended that illegal migrants straighten out their status in the country.


4.       Regular migrant workers have the same labor rights and obligations as Paraguayan workers.


Irregular migrants cannot carry out paid work in the country.


5.       No firm information about this is available.


6.       Law Nº 978/96, “On Migrations,” and the Criminal Code.




1.       There is no discrimination of any kind against migrant workers in our country. The relevant legislation can be found in Law Nº 26772, which provides that offers of employment and of access to education may not contain requirements that constitute discrimination, cancellation, or undermining of equal opportunities or equal treatment; this is regulated by Supreme Decree Nº 002-98-TR and Law Nº 27270, which establishes administrative responsibility and the punishment of temporary closure for instances of discrimination as described in Law Nº 26772.


2.       No reply.


3.       Article 23 of our Constitution stipulates that work, under its different guises, is a matter for the state’s priority attention; it further says that no labor relation may restrict enjoyment of constitutional rights or ignore or undermine the workers’ dignity, and it also provides that no person may be obliged to work without remuneration or without freely consenting thereto. Thus, the Peruvian government does not oblige any immigrant to carry out forced labor or to work under conditions of exploitation, since that is expressly forbidden by our Constitution.


Irrespective of the above, we must note that it is important for foreign workers to observe the formalities set forth in current legislation upon entering the country; thus, a worker must come into the country with a business visa and not a tourist visa, since the latter forbids work activities and does not allow the tourist status to be changed.


The foreigner must sign the labor contract, which, after approval by the Ministry of Labor, must be presented with due certification from the Peruvian consular service in the place where it was issued and duly legalized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


After obtaining a residence visa and the corresponding foreigners’ ID card, the foreigner may be named as a worker on the company’s personnel lists; in other words, until that time he must have performed no work.


It should be stressed that foreign workers enjoy the same rights and benefits as Peruvian workers; however, because of the amounts they are paid, it is common practice to agree on an overall payment on an annual basis, including bonuses, seniority rewards, etc., and when the worker has secured a residence visa he can begin negotiations with the immigration authorities for residence visas to be given to his parents, spouse, and minor children.


If the hiring period has expired, the company must request an extension. Failing to do so is punishable by the labor authorities as regards labor obligations and by the immigration authorities as regards the visa granted to the worker in question.


All workers have the same rights and obligations by law; however, irregular migratory status will lead to the imposition of sanctions by the immigration authorities. Problems arise in cases involving undocumented migrants and the immigration authorities; however, the problem of paying their wages arises from the fact that they do not have employment contracts.


In this regard it should be noted that the contracts of foreign workers included in the percentage quotas and of workers exempt from those quotas are governed by special regulations as regards their duration, their approval, and certain additional obligations on the part of the employer.


Employment contracts shall be for a fixed period of no more than three years and may be subsequently extended for periods of no more than three years. In granting the visas, the competent authority shall take into account the duration of the contract, in accordance with the Nationality Law, residence visas shall cover a period of up to one year and shall be renewable.


In addition, it should be pointed out that the immigrants who come to work in our country have employment contracts that have been duly authorized and approved by the Subdirectorate of Records; from this it can be deduced that business-owners who need to hire such employees should take the necessary steps and precautions to ensure that the worker in question is not affected by problems that would arise from his illegal presence on our soil.


Regarding infractions by employers, these are punishable by fines, irrespective of any other legal provisions that may apply if they have been breached. Thus:  

  •          Failure to secure approval of the foreign worker’s contract as provided for by law.

  •          Fraud in the sworn statement or in the accompanying documents used to secure approval of the employment contract.

  •         Failure to comply with the terms of employment contracts.

  •          Pursuit of goals other than those stated.

  •         Failure to meet the obligation of providing staff training.

  •          Failure to comply with any other obligation established in the law or its regulations, which takes place after the given time limit, a nonextendable period of 90 days following its coming into force.  

As regards inspections, the Administrative Labor Authority is responsible for approval procedures and for conducting regular selective inspections. The authority will check if the employer has incurred in any of the listed infractions; if so, it will require the contract situation to be put in order, within the following month, irrespective of any fines and judicial actions that could arise from such infractions.


If the situation is not sorted out in the specified time, the fine will be imposed and, if compliance is not forthcoming, a double fine will be imposed. An appeal may be filed against the first-instance resolution no later than three days after notice of the resolution was given.


During inspection visits, the labor inspectors shall pay particular attention to checking that workers have the requisite migratory status. If a worker is found working without the necessary migratory status, the administrative authority shall notify the corresponding immigration authority.


4.       No reply.


5.       No reply.


6.       No reply.




3.       Illegal traffic of migrant workers


1.        Are there private agencies or individuals working in your country engaged in hiring migrant workers for forwarding to other countries? If so, are there any laws regulating such agencies or individuals? Could you describe those laws?


2.        Do you know if there is any illegal or clandestine traffic of irregular migrant workers in your country, either by individuals, corporations or national or foreign organizations that conduct such activities? If so, how do these persons or organizations work to develop the illegal or clandestine traffic of migrant workers?


3.        Has your country taken measures to prevent, eliminate or punish legally (civil or criminal) any persons, organizations or companies that organize, assist, participate or work in the illegal or clandestine traffic of migrant workers? If so, could you describe what these measures or penalties consist of? Could you reveal any court or administrative proceedings carried out for this purpose?




1.       In the Bolivian State there are no private agencies or individuals that legally recruit migrant workers for other countries.


2.       Unknown.


3.       Individuals, organizations, and companies that organize or participate in illegal trafficking or that break the legal provisions as currently in force are subject to the sanctions provided for by law.




1.       No.


2.       Yes.


3.       Yes.  The Immigration Act was amended to impose penalties on public carriers for bringing illegal immigrants to Belize, contrary to the entry requirements.




1.       No information on the existence of such companies exists; however, legislation to regulate them is on the statute books. Article 134 of the General Migration and Nationality Law stipulates that:


Article 134: The recruiting of immigrants not expressly authorized by the competent national authorities within the territory of the nation is forbidden, as is the establishment of any kind of private emigration agency or agency dealing therein and all advertising or publicity materials requesting national labor for work abroad for which the corresponding authorization does not exist.


2.       Regrettably, illegal trafficking in migrant workers has arisen because of the economic situation in Nicaragua.


On the one hand, immigrants are brought into Costa Rica, especially by traffickers who help them cross the country’s northern border illegally. The Interior Ministry has also conducted inspections in nightclubs and has discovered foreigners with tourist cards working as prostitutes.


Recent studies by social research centers and investigative reports in the country’s leading newspapers have revealed some evidence of illegal migrant workers being trafficked into other countries, with the added problem that they generally enter Costa Rican territory legally.


Additionally, there have been some as yet unsubstantiated reports of trafficking in Costa Rican women.


3.       Costa Rica’s Criminal Code specifically addresses the crime of trafficking in women and children. Thus, Article 172 reads as follows:


Anyone who encourages or facilitates the entry into the country or egress therefrom of women or minor-aged children of either sex for the purpose of prostitution shall be punished by a prison terms of between five and ten years.


This term shall rise to between eight and ten years if any of the circumstances listed in Article 170 are involved.


The article lists three circumstances in which the punishment is increased: if the victim was under the age of 18; if deceit, violence, or any form of intimidation or coercion was involved; or if the perpetrator was the victim’s progenitor, descendant, other relative, or legal guardian.


While the crime of illegally trafficking in migrant workers is not textually provided for, Article 372 of the Criminal Code regulates what are known as crimes of an international nature. The article reads as follows:


A prison term of ten to fifteen years shall be imposed on the leaders and members of international criminal organizations that traffic in slaves, women, children, or narcotic drugs, or that carry out acts of terrorism, or that violate the provisions of human rights treaties entered into by Costa Rica.


Clearly, the lack of clear legal coverage of the crime of illegal trafficking in workers leads to defenselessness for hundreds of people who leave their home countries in search of a better future. In light of this legal vacuum, the General Directorate of Immigration and Nationality has proposed draft legislation to deal with such crimes.




1.       There are private agencies and individuals that are engaged in hiring migrant workers for employment overseas. The “Employment Agency Regulation” Act, empowers the Minister of Labor, Social Security and Sport to issue licenses to individuals and agencies pursuant to which they may recruit nationals for local as well as overseas employment.


2.       We have no knowledge of such organizations.


3.       There is no organization that specifically addresses alien smuggling.




1.       The law that regulates all these activities is the Labor Code, Article 16 of which deals with the regulation and operation of the private agencies or individuals who are paid to act as intermediaries between workers and employers.


2.       Nicaragua is highly affected by its geographical position; it is an obligatory transit point for migrants as they move north; trafficking in irregular migrants takes place through a network of individuals who operate by land, sea, and — to a lesser extent  — air. This network of traffickers exploits migrants by charging vast sums of money, and to take them through our country, they undertake illegal activities such as forging and doctoring documents, falsifying identities, bribing, etc.


3.       The General Directorate of Immigration and Nationality, the Interior Ministry, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs jointly coordinate administrative measures to prevent the illegal trafficking of people; these include, for example, the visa consultation system for nationals of certain countries where such crimes are more common. In addition, our country is a member of the Regional Conference on Migration, which comprises the nations of Central America, the USA, and Mexico.


In 1996, Nicaragua enacted Law Nº 240, “Law against the Trafficking of Illegal Migrants,” which defines the crimes of illegally trafficking in migrants and illegally entering the country.


Our Migration Code has been amended to increase the fines and punishments applicable to those who traffic in human lives; it also provides for harsher sanctions for public officials who abuse their authority vis-à-vis crimes of this kind.




1.       No reply.


2.       On occasions, our country is used as a conduit for illegal trafficking in human lives. However, we do not know whether the people in question are migrant workers.


3.       Yes. In this connection, by means of Law Nº 53 of December 12, 1995, the Republic of Panama added Article 310-A to Article 310 of its Criminal Code; the new provision reads as follows:


Any person involved in any way with trafficking in human lives, with the consent of the individuals in question, and who in any way avoids or evades the immigration controls established in the continental territory of the Republic, shall be punished with a prison term of between five and ten years.


Note that this law is for general application; that is, it does not specify the (labor) status of the trafficked migrant.




1.       There are no reports of its existence in our country.


2.       No such reports have been made.


3.       The Migrations Law provides as follows in Article 108, paragraphs:


1.       Foreigners who enter the country by presenting falsified or adulterated papers or documents issued to another person, or who make use of the same during their stay in the country.


2.       Anyone who helps a foreigner enter the territory of the nation in violation of this law and its regulations, or anyone who hides such a foreigner once in the country.


3.       Foreigners expelled from the territory of the nation and who reenter it without prior authorization from the General Directorate of Migrations.


4.       Anyone who obstructs the execution of a legally issued expulsion or deportation order. If said person is a public official, the applicable punishment shall be supplemented with a ban from public employment for a period of between one and two years.




1.       No reply.


2.       No reply.


3.       On November 8, 1999, Peru enacted Law Nº 27202, “Law incorporating crimes against migratory law into the Criminal Code.” This measure added Article 303-A to the aforesaid code, providing that:


Anyone who illicitly and in order to secure material gain, for himself or for another, carries out, promotes, favors, or facilities entry into or egress from the country by third parties shall be punished by a prison term of between one and four years, with a fine of between 180 and 375 day-equivalents, and disqualification for between two and four years, under Article 36, paragraphs 2, 4, and 8, when:


1.       The agent is a public official or civil servant charged with migratory administration or control or with preventing or investigating any crimes, or is responsible for enforcing sanctions and monitoring their execution.


2.       The conditions in which such persons are transported seriously endanger their person or mental balance.


4.       Violence, abuses against migrant workers


1.       Have there been any cases in your country in the last ten years where immigrant workers or their family members have been the targets of violence, abuse or mistreatment, either by employers or other persons, groups or organizations? What are the inspection and penalty mechanisms to prevent and condemn such violence and abuse? How many court or administrative proceedings have been started for this reason? Could you discuss any?


2.       Have there been any cases in your country in the last ten years of abuse of authority, violence, torture or death of immigrant workers and their family members as a consequence of the activities of the police or migration officials? Have any court or administrative proceedings been started or completed in this area, and what have the results been?


3.       Do you have any background information on cases in which migrant workers from your country or members of their families have been the targets of violence, abuse, mistreatment, torture or death either by employers, groups or organizations, immigration police or other state employees in the countries of employment or transit? Could you give any cases?




1.       No such complaints have been filed.


2.       No such complaints have been filed.


3.       There are no reports of this.




1.       No.


2.       No.


3.       No.




1.       Statistics indicate that to date, the People’s Defender, Costa Rica’s ombudsman, has dealt with 36 complaints from the migrant population since 1996. The most frequent complaints and questions from such individuals were the following:


i.         Violations of personal integrity and the right of free transit.


Abuses of authority during arrests in mass deportations and expulsions.


Denial of the administrative and legal remedies available for proving their legal presence in the country.


Prolonged stays of up to three days in detention centers prior to deportation.


ii.        Violation of the right to nationality.


Refusals to register the birth of children born to undocumented foreigners outside hospital facilities.


iii.       Violation of the right to health.


Refusals by employers and business-owners to insure their undocumented workers; refusals by hospitals and clinics to provide health care and medication.


iv.       Violation of the right to education.


Refusals to enroll children at schools and to enroll older people in high-school equivalency programs.


v.       Violation of the right to housing.


Costa Rican nationals are preferred over resident foreigners as beneficiaries of state-financed housing programs.


vi.       Violation of labor rights.


Precarious working conditions are encountered by migrants who work in the agricultural and construction industries in different rural areas, particularly on sugar-cane, citrus fruit, and melon farms in the north and on banana plantations in the Atlantic region.


vii.       Unfair wages for these workers.


Significantly, complaints filed by migrants have been decreasing in number. Thus, the latest report from the nongovernmental organization CODEHUCA (Commission for the Defense of Human Rights in Central America), dated October 1998, indicates that Nicaraguans living in Costa Rica are treated well because the violations that occurred in the past have been eliminated.


Among those infractions was the authorities’ practice of gathering together all the Nicaraguans from a given place and taking them to the Nicaraguan border, without allowing them to collect their belongings. As has already been said, such actions are a thing of the past.


As said above, if a violent incident does occur, the individual may file a complaint with the ombudsman or with CODEHUCA, or he may take it directly to the courts.


The records of the Constitutional Chamber contain no cases of amparo relief remedies filed against private individuals for violence in the workplace. Cases of abuse occur sporadically, particularly at the hands of police officers in the Atlantic and northern regions, but they are considered isolated occurrences. International organizations and the Nicaraguan authorities themselves have acknowledged the interest and efforts of the Costa Rican authorities in improving the legal situation of those inside the country illegally.


2.       Particularly in the country’s border region (north and Atlantic). At present these are isolated cases that are being examined by Costa Rica’s ombudsman. Thus, the ombudsman’s office has issued a number of recommendations for correcting certain institutional irregularities that are harmful to migrants.


3.       No information.




1.       There have been no cases in Jamaica over the last ten years where immigrant workers and their family members have been the targets of violence, abuse, mistreatment, torture or death either by employers, groups or organizations, immigration or police officials or other state employees.


2.       There have been no cases in Jamaica over the last ten years where immigrant workers and their family members have been the targets of violence, abuse, mistreatment, torture or death either by employers, groups or organizations, immigration or police officials or other state employees.


3.       N/A. See answer above.




1.       No cases of violence, abuse, or mistreatment against migrant workers and their families have been reported. Our Labor Code establishes punishments for employers who break labor laws.


2.       No reply.


3.       No reply.




1.       No reply.


2.       No reply.


3.       No reply.




1.       No cases have been recorded.


2.       Except for some isolated cases of Brazilian migrants being harassed-in Alto Paraná Department, at the hands of organized Paraguayan peasants who claimed the lands they occupied-no other such cases have been reported.


The Paraguayan government, by means of a presidential decree, set up an interinstitutional working group charged with studying the problems faced by the Brazilian migrants and putting their migratory status in order.


3.       No such case has been reported.



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