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Resolution adopted by consensus* by the 118th Assembly
(Cape Town, 18 April 2008)

The 118th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Recalling that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that all humans are born free and equal in dignity and rights, and that all individuals possess the rights and freedoms proclaimed in it,

Reaffirming the obligation of States to guarantee that all individuals, without distinction of any kind, enjoy the rights enumerated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Political Rights of Women, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UNESCO Declaration on Race and Racial Prejudice, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families,

Recalling that the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance sets out global commitments for the total elimination of the scourges of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance,

Bearing in mind the relevant non-binding international instruments, including Principle 12 and Guideline 4 of the Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights and Human Trafficking issued by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,

Recalling that Article 6 of the Declaration on the Right to Development adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in resolution 41/128 states that "All States should cooperate with a view to promoting, encouraging and strengthening universal respect for and observance of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without any distinction as to race, sex, language or religion",

Acknowledging the relevance of other instruments, including the Slavery Convention and ILO Conventions No. 92, on forced labour, and No. 182, on the worst forms of child labour,

Acknowledging the definition of trafficking in human beings set out in the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children,

Acknowledging the definition of people smuggling set out in the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime,

Recognizing that the Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights and Human Trafficking affirm that "States have a responsibility under international law to act with due diligence to prevent trafficking, to investigate and prosecute traffickers and to assist and protect trafficked persons",

Further acknowledging the effort made by the IPU and UNICEF to improve anti-trafficking legislation worldwide by publishing the Handbook for Parliamentarians: Combating Child Trafficking in 2005,

Recognizing that globalization, at the same time as it has given countries a chance to develop, has intensified structural inequality and poverty and has not been accompanied by recognition that human rights are relevant in the design and execution of programmes that address poverty, marginalization and social exclusion,

Recognizing that a growing number of people are presently living and working outside their homeland,

Recognizing that labour rights, legal migration, the flow and mobility of individuals, and the exchange of labour tend to be excluded from free trade arrangements purporting to expand the processes of economic integration and free trade,

Believing in the importance of cultural diversity and economic interaction among the world’s peoples, and that global society should be pluralistic and based on imperatives of cultural diversity, gender equality and racial, ethnic and religious tolerance, while fostering integration and preventing conflict and destruction,

Further believing that the United Nations Millennium Development Goals will not be achieved until States fully and comprehensively recognize that human rights – civil, political, economic, social and cultural – are universal and indivisible, interlinked and interdependent, and mutually reinforce each other,

Convinced that the integration process being carried out in many regions of the world must encompass – in addition to economic integration – the political, social and cultural integration that facilitates migratory flows between peoples, in order to protect the rights of migrants in general and of vulnerable groups such as women and children in particular,

Recalling that the panel discussion on Migration and development held at the 112th IPU Assembly established that the global debate on migration and development must include the "three Ds" – demography, development and democracy – which are the main forces behind migration; also recalling the presentation at the 112th Assembly of the Report of the Global Commission on International Migration, and the panel discussion on Nationality and statelessness organized by the IPU and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on the same occasion,

Affirming that migration can and should be beneficial for both source and destination countries, and, most importantly, for migrants and their families,

Recognizing the economic, social, and cultural contributions that migrants can make to their countries of destination and origin,

Recognizing that gender inequality affects each individual’s opportunity for labour market participation and migration, and that the gendered effects of States’ migration policies make women more vulnerable to human rights violations,

Recognizing that migrant workers and their families, particularly the children of undocumented migrants, are a vulnerable group whose human rights require protection,

Convinced that trafficking in human beings constitutes a serious crime and a human rights violation that must be combatted through cooperation at the international level and action at the national level,

Recognizing that the prohibition of slavery is part of customary international law and constitutes jus cogens, and reminding governments and parliaments of the need to implement their international obligations and to engage in international cooperation to strengthen law enforcement,

Further recognizing that xenophobia, racism, sexism and related intolerance severely damage humanity and threaten the existence of entire populations, and that some immigrants face difficulties integrating into destination societies and new forms of xenophobia and racism have emerged in the wake of 11 September,

Underscoring that the sexual exploitation of women is one of the most common aspects of people trafficking,

Stressing that one of the direct negative consequences of the lack of a broad and comprehensive multilateral approach to migration policy and of restrictions on legitimate migration has been an increase in rejection, abuse, ill-treatment, aggression and marginalization of migrants, resulting in criminal behaviour such as human trafficking and xenophobic hate crimes,

Recognizing that labour migration can leave a gap in the human resource potential of countries of origin and have a negative effect on the stability and functioning of families, particularly when the main carer is absent for extended periods,

Believing that the fulfilment of human rights is a social challenge of global scope, as migration under inappropriate and ineffective migration policies, trafficking in persons and xenophobia all present a threat to basic human rights, freedom and individual welfare,

  1. Calls upon IPU Member Parliaments effectively to promote and protect the fundamental human rights of migrants, in accordance with international instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to disseminate and promote best practices by national parliaments in order to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the problems posed and opportunities presented by migration, and to form specialized committees on migration whose task is to provide effective protection of migrant rights and to find solutions to migration problems and the means to maximize migration benefits, with special emphasis on vulnerable groups such as women and children;

  2. Recommends that migration be systematically included on the agenda for parliamentary dialogue between countries of origin, transit and destination, in order to provide a targeted parliamentary approach that is responsive to the particularities of each migration chain;

  3. Calls upon all United Nations Member States that have not yet done so to consider signing and ratifying or acceding to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families;

  4. Urges the governments of developed countries to recognize the economic importance of migration in free trade agreements and to improve the living conditions of migrants around the world, so as to counter the adverse consequences of trade liberalization and make globalization "a positive force for all the world’s people", as stated in the United Nations Millennium Declaration;

  5. Encourages governments and parliaments to forge partnerships between States, international organizations and civil society in order to manage migration in an equitable, fair and transparent manner and in a spirit of mutual responsibility;

  6. Calls upon the IPU, parliaments and governments to forge a new, broader and more universally inclusive understanding of migration and to conduct further in-depth analyses of the causes and consequences of migration, using to this end data that is sufficiently disaggregated, in particular by gender;

  7. Requests that destination countries coordinate their migration policies with countries of origin and transit regarding measures to be taken to curb migratory flows;

  8. Urges parliaments to be particularly heedful of the situation of migrant women and their vulnerability to double discrimination based on race and sex;

  9. Calls for the development of cross-national sex-disaggregated data and indicators to monitor the enforcement of national laws and international conventions, so that governments can use this evidence base to inform their decision-making;

  10. Urges destination countries to secure the protection of workers' rights in accordance with ILO standards, including the right to organize, and to ensure that women have equal access under the law to social protection and health care; stresses the need to implement programmes that enable women who face exploitation to gain knowledge of their rights;

  11. Urges countries of origin to develop programmes that promote the reintegration of migrant workers seeking to return to their country of origin, particularly women migrant workers, for example by providing housing, capacity‑building and skills development with a view to gainful employment;

  12. Urges effective investigation, prosecution and adjudication of trafficking, including its component acts and related conduct, whether committed by governments or by non-State actors;

  13. Urges parliaments and governments to review existing legislation or enact comprehensive laws concerning trafficking of women and pertaining in particular to prevention, prosecution, protection and rehabilitation; further urges parliaments to allocate funding within the national budget for the effective enforcement of such laws and related programmes;

  14. Underscores the importance of setting up coordination and cooperation mechanisms among law enforcement agencies, the judiciary and civil society organizations involved in protecting the victims of human trafficking;

  15. Encourages governments to ensure adequate training for law enforcement agencies, enhanced investigative powers and technology, and the establishment of anti-trafficking units, paying particular attention to gender issues and women’s rights, and to prepare an action plan for prompt implementation of comprehensive and inclusive anti-trafficking measures;

  16. Reminds governments and parliaments of their obligation under international human rights law to protect victims of trafficking, including through the effective identification of victims and observation of the principle of non-refoulement, with protection from summary deportation and the granting of reflection periods and/or temporary or permanent residence permits;

  17. Recognizes that trafficking victims have the right to voluntary repatriation to their country of origin by virtue of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and to obtain access to diplomatic and consular representatives from their State of nationality;

  18. Stresses that effective investigation of cases of trafficking is a form of redress for victims that includes the right to participate in investigations and judicial processes against traffickers with effective witness protection and assistance;

  19. Recognizes the clear obligation of the competent authorities to provide all necessary measures of protection for victims of trafficking and to ensure that such measures are easily accessible; if there are reasonable grounds to believe that a person is a trafficking victim, to refrain from deporting them until the identification process is complete, and to deport them only if repatriation is appropriate; and if the age of the victim is uncertain, to proceed on the assumption that he or she is a child;

  20. Urges appropriate measures of protection for all victims, including, but not limited to, secure accommodation, access to emergency medical assistance, translation and interpretation services, counselling and provision of information in languages victims understand, assistance during judicial proceedings, vocational training if appropriate, and access to education for children;

  21. Recommends a recovery and reflection period of at least 30 days, backed by renewable residence permits, where there are reasonable grounds to believe that a person is a victim of trafficking, to enable the person to recover from human rights violations, make an informed decision on cooperation with the authorities, and assess his/her personal options;

  22. Emphasizes that protection of victims of trafficking should be incorporated into, and placed at the centre of, States’ legislative frameworks, thereby requiring governments to review immigration laws and policies in the light of their impact on the victims of trafficking and shifting the focus from immigration control to preventing the exploitation of migrants and workers and to the care of victims;

  23. Encourages governments and parliaments to enhance support, including financial aid, for victim service providers;

  24. Invites parliamentarians to use the Handbook for Parliamentarians on Combating Trafficking in Persons,whose publication by the IPU, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking is forthcoming;

  25. Calls upon all IPU Member Parliaments to pass laws prohibiting political parties and public or private organizations that promote racism, sexism, xenophobia or related intolerance, to enact legislation protecting the victims of violence and abuse attributable to racism and xenophobia, especially women, children and migrants, and to develop educational programmes to strengthen solidarity, cultural diversity and tolerance towards people from different ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds;

  26. Calls upon all United Nations Member States that have not already done so to ratify and implement the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, and to align national legislation with international instruments;

  27. Urges all IPU Member Parliaments to enact legislation prohibiting the dissemination of racist, sexist or xenophobic ideologies through the media, to promote research on xenophobia, racism and sexism, to enhance comprehension of these problems and to improve integration in destination countries;

  28. Encourages States to facilitate integration through policies aimed at improving the status of migrant workers, in particular by placing such workers on the labour market, training young people, tackling unemployment and taking effective measures against illegal work;

  29. Calls upon all United Nations Member States that have not yet done so to ratify the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination against Women and its Optional Protocol;

  30. Suggests that national entities develop an educational programme to broaden classroom teaching of human rights, with special emphasis on the equality and freedom of persons, with a view to preventing the rapid spread of feelings of xenophobia;

  31. Urges developed countries to consider moral redress and material compensation (financial donations, debt cancellation, especially for the poorest, programmes and projects for well-being and development) for the peoples of Latin America, Asia and Africa now living in poverty because of marginalization and technological disadvantages resulting in part from colonization;

  32. Calls upon States that have not yet done so to ratify the conventions for the protection of indigenous people’s rights, particularly those of the ILO and UNESCO, and to ensure that national legislation in no way contributes to discrimination, racism and related intolerance against indigenous peoples;

  33. Urges the strengthening of alliances between national parliaments and civil society to promote study programmes and activities to further peace and dialogue among civilizations, the realization of human rights, and the eradication of racism, xenophobia and related intolerance;

  34. Calls upon States to ensure that their migration laws, policies and practices are compatible with their programmes for the prevention of racism, xenophobia and related intolerance, including by removing any racist or xenophobic criteria applying to migrants who enter or stay in their territories;

  35. Urges all States to develop programmes and policies to combat sexual violence against women and children, including those who are involuntary migrants or migrants with irregular migratory status facing a high risk of sexual violence motivated by racial discrimination or xenophobia;

  36. Encourages governments to implement effective counter-trafficking strategies such as awareness-raising, assistance to developing countries for economic development and law enforcement, and lawful managed migration opportunities;

  37. Recommends that a code of conduct be adopted on the activities of national and international relief organizations and humanitarian NGOs in crisis or disaster zones, so as to ensure that these activities do not serve as a smokescreen for the trafficking of persons, especially children, and that sanctions be put in place that act as a deterrent to repeat offenders;

  38. Reaffirms the duty of the States parties to ensure full respect for and observance of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, in particular with regard to the right of all foreign nationals, regardless of their immigration status, to communicate with a consular official of the State of which they are nationals in case of arrest, imprisonment, custody or detention, and the obligation of the receiving State to inform foreign nationals without delay of their rights under the Convention;

  39. Urges developed countries to encourage investment, in countries generally known to be sources of migration and people trafficking, in medium- and long-term projects likely to create jobs for local people who may resort to migration for economic reasons;

  40. Invites the IPU, based on the key role of parliaments in providing a human rights-centred approach to migration and trafficking, to promote an enhanced parliamentary input into international processes such as the Global Forum on Migration and Development.

* Following the adoption of the resolution, Australia expressed a reservation in respect of operative paragraph 25

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