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Belize no-show at UN migrant workers’ rights hearing

FeaturesBelize no-show at UN migrant workers’ rights hearing

BELIZE CITY–The United Nations Committee on Migrant Workers is reporting that it has had to consider the Belize situation in the face of a no-show by the Government and its failure to submit a report to the Committee for consideration on Tuesday, September 2, on the country’s implementation of the International Convention on the Protection of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.

We are aware that the Government of Belize had intended to launch a campaign for migrant worker rights this August, but it has been postponed to Monday, September 15, 2014.

A statement issued by the UN Committee on Migrant Workers said, “The Committee members decried the lack of a report, given that Belize had acceded to the Convention in 2001. The dearth of any data was also making the work of the Committee more difficult.”

The Committee said it is concerned about Belize’s migrant legislation and it alleges that “some groups, such as homosexuals or blind people, fell into the ‘undesired migration’ category.”

“A Committee Expert said the Committee was dealing with a unique situation as there was nobody present on behalf of Belize to answer questions,” the statement added.
Pablo Ceriani Cernadas, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur for Belize, said at the Belize session on Tuesday that there was a large level of control, especially against what was known as the “undesired migration” category.

“There were some clauses regarding the health state of migrants, prohibiting, for example entry into the country of homosexuals, blind, deaf and mentally disabled people. People of Chinese origin had also frequently been prevented from coming into Belize,” the rapporteur added.

Cernadas also said that the lack of convictions of people perpetrating violence and offences against migrants was a significant problem.

During this morning’s committee session on Belize, it was alleged that “the United Kingdom had important influence over Belize, and … the British Head of State was the Head of State in Belize. The United Kingdom had a well-known negative attitude towards the Convention.”

Jose S. Brillantes, another Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur for Belize, stated that the fact that Belize had accepted the Convention should be seen as a plus for the State party.

“The Committee should look into how Belize had reacted to concluding observations issued by other committees in the absence of a report. The Committee should be very careful in crafting its concluding observations,” he advised.

The committee said that if Belize were to present a report in the coming months, it should be viewed as a periodic report.

Replies to a Facebook post by the UN Commission on the Belize review called instead for freedom for Gaza.

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