2020 Resolution on violence against women migrant workers

74th UNGA
10 Jan 2020

Analysis of precedential value

This res­o­lu­tion was adopted by the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly (UNGA)–the pre­em­i­nent gov­ern­ing body of the UN sys­tem and con­sists of all 193 UN Mem­ber States–in Decem­ber 2019 and dis­trib­uted pub­licly in Jan­u­ary 2020.

The scope of the UNGA’s func­tions are, to put it sim­ply, gen­eral and encom­pass both human rights and global health. Rel­e­vant high-level prece­dent can be drawn from Gen­eral Assem­bly doc­u­ments includ­ing polit­i­cal dec­la­ra­tions, out­come doc­u­ments, and other res­o­lu­tions. Due to its uni­ver­sal mem­ber­ship, the Gen­eral Assem­bly pro­duces among the most author­i­ta­tive prece­dents.

This res­o­lu­tion was based on a report by the UNGA’s Social, Human­i­tar­ian and Cul­tural Com­mit­tee, led by its Rap­por­teur Mr. Firas Has­san Jab­bar (Iraq). A fol­low-up report dis­cussing the imple­men­ta­tion of this Res­o­lu­tion was dis­trib­uted in July 2021.

Used as precedent

gender equality, human rights

Calls upon all Gov­ern­ments to incor­po­rate a human rights, gen­der-respon­sive and peo­ple-cen­tred per­spec­tive in leg­is­la­tion, poli­cies and pro­grammes on inter­na­tional migra­tion and on labour and employ­ment, con­sis­tent with their human rights oblig­a­tions and com­mit­ments under human rights instru­ments, for the pre­ven­tion of and pro­tec­tion of migrant women against vio­lence and dis­crimin ation, traf­fick­ing in per­sons, exploita­tion and abuse, to take effec­tive mea­sures to ensure that such migra­tion and labour poli­cies do not rein­force dis­crim­i­na­tion, and, where nec­es­sary, to con­duct impact assess­ment stud­ies of such leg­is­la­tion, poli­cies and pro­grammes, and to take into account the need for effec­tive and mean­ing­ful par­tic­i­pa­tion of women migrant work­ers and rel­e­vant civil soci­ety orga­ni­za­tions, as appro­pri­ate, in the for­mu­la­tion of such poli­cies and pro­grammes.Calls upon Gov­ern­ments to adopt or strengthen mea­sures to pro­tect the human rights of women migrant work­ers, includ­ing domes­tic work­ers, regard­less of their migra­tory sta­tus, includ­ing in poli­cies that reg­u­late the recruit­ment and deploy­ment of women migrant work­ers, to con­sider expand­ing dia­logue among States on devis­ing inno­v­a­tive meth­ods to pro­mote legal chan­nels of migra­tion in order to deter irreg­u­lar migra­tion, to con­sider incor­po­rat­ing a gen­der per­spec­tive into immi­gra­tion laws in order to pre­vent dis­crim­i­na­tion and vio­lence against women, includ­ing in inde­pen­dent, cir­cu­lar and tem­po­rary migra­tion, and to con­sider per­mit­ting, in accor­dance with national leg­is­la­tion, women migrant work­ers who are vic­tims of vio­lence, traf­fick­ing in per­sons or other forms of exploita­tion or abuse to apply for res­i­dency per­mits inde­pen­dently of abu­sive employ­ers or spouses, and to elim­i­nate abu­sive spon­sor­ship sys­tems.Urges Gov­ern­ments to enhance bilat­eral, regional, inter­re­gional and inter­na­tional coop­er­a­tion to address vio­lence against women migrant work­ers, fully respect­ing inter­na­tional law, includ­ing inter­na­tional human rights law, as well as to strengthen efforts to reduce the vul­ner­a­bil­ity of women migrant work­ers by pro­mot­ing decent work, by, inter alia, adopt­ing min­i­mum wage poli­cies and employ­ment con­tracts in accor­dance with applic­a­ble laws and reg­u­la­tions, facil­i­tat­ing effec­tive access to jus­tice and effec­tive action in the areas of law enforce­ment, pros­e­cu­tion, pre­ven­tion, capac­ity-build­ing and vic­tim pro­tec­tion and sup­port, exchang­ing infor­ma­tion and good prac­tices in com­bat­ing vio­lence and dis­crim­i­na­tion against women migrant work­ers and fos­ter­ing sus­tain­able devel­op­ment alter­na­tives to migra­tion in coun­tries of ori­gin.Fur­ther urges Gov­ern­ments to strongly encour­age all stake­hold­ers, espe­cially the pri­vate sec­tor, includ­ing employ­ment agen­cies involved in recruit­ing women migrant work­ers, to strengthen the focus on and fund­ing sup­port for the pre­ven­tion of vio­lence against women migrant work­ers, in par­tic­u­lar by pro­mot­ing the access of women to mean­ing­ful and gen­der-sen­si­tive infor­ma­tion and edu­ca­tion on, inter alia, the costs and ben­e­fits of migra­tion, rights and ben­e­fits to which they are enti­tled in the coun­tries of ori­gin and employ­ment, over­all con­di­tions in coun­tries of employ­ment and pro­ce­dures for legal migra­tion, as well as to ensure that laws and poli­cies gov­ern­ing recruiters, employ­ers and inter­me­di­aries pro­mote adher­ence to and respect for the human rights and, where applic­a­ble, labour rights of migrant work­ers, par­tic­u­larly women.Urges States to adopt national gen­der-respon­sive migra­tion poli­cies and leg­is­la­tion, in line with rel­e­vant oblig­a­tions under inter­na­tional law, to pro­tect the human rights of all migrant women and girls, regard­less of migra­tion sta­tus; rec­og­nize the skills and edu­ca­tion of women migrant work­ers to pro­mote their eco­nomic empow­er­ment in all sec­tors and, as appro­pri­ate, facil­i­tate their pro­duc­tive employ­ment, decent work and inte­gra­tion into the labour force, includ­ing in the fields of edu­ca­tion and sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy; rec­og­nize the impor­tance of pro­tect­ing labour rights and a safe envi­ron­ment for women migrant work­ers and those in pre­car­i­ous employ­ment, includ­ing pre­vent­ing and address­ing abuse and exploita­tion, pro­tect­ing women migrant work­ers in all sec­tors and pro­mot­ing labour mobil­ity; pro­vide newly arrived migrant women with tar­geted, gen­der-respon­sive, child-sen­si­tive, acces­si­ble and com­pre­hen­sive infor­ma­tion and legal guid­ance on their rights and oblig­a­tions, includ­ing on com­pli­ance with national and local laws, obtain­ing work and res­i­dent per­mits, sta­tus adjust­ments, reg­is­tra­tion with author­i­ties, access to jus­tice to file com­plaints about rights vio­la­tions, as well as access to basic ser­vices; encour­age coop­er­a­tion among var­i­ous stake­hold­ers, includ­ing coun­tries of ori­gin, tran­sit and des­ti­na­tion, in ensur­ing that migrant women and girls have ade­quate iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and the pro­vi­sion of rel­e­vant doc­u­ments to facil­i­tate access to social pro­tec­tion mech­a­nisms; and facil­i­tate the sus­tain­able rein­te­gra­tion of return­ing migrant women and girls by pro­vid­ing them with equal access to social pro­tec­tion and ser­vices.

gender equality

Urges States to adopt or develop and imple­ment leg­is­la­tion and poli­cies, in accor­dance with their com­mit­ments and oblig­a­tions under inter­na­tional law, to pre­vent and respond to gen­der-related killing of women and girls, includ­ing femi­cide, while tak­ing into account the par­tic­u­lar dif­fi­cul­ties faced by women migrant work­ers in access­ing jus­tice.Also urges Gov­ern­ments to take into account the best inter­ests of the child by adopt­ing or strength­en­ing mea­sures to respect, pro­mote and pro­tect the human rights of migrant chil­dren, espe­cially girls, includ­ing unac­com­pa­nied girls, regard­less of their migra­tory sta­tus, so as to pre­vent traf­fick­ing in per­sons, labour and eco­nomic exploita­tion, dis­crim­i­na­tion, all forms of sex­ual exploita­tion, sex­ual harass­ment, vio­lence and sex­ual abuse of migrant chil­dren, includ­ing in online and dig­i­tal con­text.Calls upon States to address the struc­tural and under­ly­ing causes of vio­lence against women migrant work­ers, includ­ing through edu­ca­tion and dis­sem­i­na­tion of infor­ma­tion and by rais­ing aware­ness of gen­der-equal­ity issues, pro­mot­ing their eco­nomic empow­er­ment and access to decent work and, where rel­e­vant, their inte­gra­tion into the for­mal econ­omy, in par­tic­u­lar in eco­nomic deci­sion-mak­ing, and pro­mot­ing their par­tic­i­pa­tion in pub­lic life, as appro­pri­ate.

human rights, stigma and discrimination

Also calls upon Gov­ern­ments to rec­og­nize the right of women migrant work­ers and their accom­pa­ny­ing chil­dren, regard­less of their migra­tory sta­tus, to have access with­out dis­crim­i­na­tion to emer­gency health care, includ­ing in times of human­i­tar­ian crises, nat­ural dis­as­ters and other emer­gency sit­u­a­tions, and in this regard to ensure that women migrant work­ers are not dis­crim­i­nated against on the grounds of preg­nancy and child­birth and, in accor­dance with national leg­is­la­tion, to address the vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties to HIV expe­ri­enced by migrant pop­u­la­tions and sup­port their access to HIV pre­ven­tion, treat­ment, care and sup­port.

reproductive rights

Encour­ages Gov­ern­ments to ensure the appro­pri­ate use of vol­un­tary and con­fi­den­tial HIV test­ing and preg­nancy test­ing to pre­vent unwar­ranted bar­ri­ers prior to and dur­ing migra­tion.

key population and community leadership

Urges States to rec­og­nize the sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions and lead­er­ship of women in migrant com­mu­ni­ties and to take appro­pri­ate steps to pro­mote their full, equal and mean­ing­ful par­tic­i­pa­tion in the devel­op­ment of local solu­tions and oppor­tu­ni­ties, and to rec­og­nize the impor­tance of pro­tect­ing labour rights and a safe envi­ron­ment for women migrant work­ers in all sec­tors, includ­ing those in infor­mal employ­ment, includ­ing through fair and eth­i­cal recruit­ment and the pre­ven­tion of exploita­tion, and to ensure safe, orderly and reg­u­lar migra­tion, as well as labour mobil­ity.

gender equality, positive legal determinants

Urges States that have not yet done so to adopt and imple­ment leg­is­la­tion and poli­cies that pro­tect all women migrant work­ers, includ­ing those in domes­tic work, to include therein, and improve where nec­es­sary, rel­e­vant mon­i­tor­ing and inspec­tion mea­sures, in line with applic­a­ble Inter­na­tional Labour Orga­ni­za­tion con­ven­tions and other instru­ments to ensure com­pli­ance with inter­na­tional oblig­a­tions and to grant women migrant work­ers in domes­tic ser­vice access to gen­der-sen­si­tive, trans­par­ent mech­a­nisms for bring­ing com­plaints against recruit­ment agen­cies and employ­ers, includ­ing ter­mi­nat­ing their con­tracts in the event of labour and eco­nomic exploita­tion, dis­crim­i­na­tion, sex­ual harass­ment, vio­lence and sex­ual abuse in the work­place, while stress­ing that such instru­ments should not pun­ish women migrant work­ers, and calls upon States to promptly inves­ti­gate and pun­ish all vio­la­tions of their rights.

human rights

Encour­ages States to con­sider ensur­ing that all women migrant work­ers, regard­less of their migra­tion sta­tus, can exer­cise their human rights through safe access to basic ser­vices, notwith­stand­ing that nation­als and reg­u­lar migrants may be enti­tled to more com­pre­hen­sive ser­vice pro­vi­sion, while ensur­ing that any dif­fer­en­tial treat­ment must be based on law, be pro­por­tion­ate and pur­sue a legit­i­mate aim, in accor­dance with inter­na­tional human rights law.

key and vulnerable populations

Urges Gov­ern­ments to sup­port enhanced recep­tion and rein­te­gra­tion assis­tance for those who return, with par­tic­u­lar atten­tion to the needs of vic­tims of traf­fick­ing in per­sons and of migrants in vul­ner­a­ble sit­u­a­tions, inter alia, chil­dren, older women and women with dis­abil­i­ties.


Encour­ages States, as appro­pri­ate, to address prac­ti­cal bar­ri­ers, includ­ing lan­guage bar­ri­ers, that women migrant work­ers may encounter in coun­tries of des­ti­na­tion, and pro­vide them with ade­quate infor­ma­tion about their rights, includ­ing to con­sular assis­tance, prior to their depar­ture from their coun­tries of ori­gin.

positive legal determinants

Calls upon Gov­ern­ments to ensure that leg­isla­tive pro­vi­sions and judi­cial processes are in place to pro­vide women migrant work­ers access to jus­tice, to enhance, develop or main­tain legal frame­works and spe­cific gen­der-respon­sive poli­cies to explic­itly meet their needs and rights and, where nec­es­sary, to take appro­pri­ate steps to reform exist­ing leg­is­la­tion and poli­cies to cap­ture their needs and pro­tect their rights.Also calls upon Gov­ern­ments, in par­tic­u­lar those of the coun­tries of ori­gin and des­ti­na­tion, to put in place penal and crim­i­nal sanc­tions, in order to pun­ish per­pe­tra­tors of vio­lence against women migrant work­ers and inter­me­di­aries, and gen­der-sen­si­tive redress and jus­tice mech­a­nisms that vic­tims can access effec­tively and that allow their views and con­cerns to be pre­sented and con­sid­ered at appro­pri­ate stages of pro­ceed­ings, includ­ing other mea­sures that will allow vic­tims to be present dur­ing the judi­cial process, when pos­si­ble, and to pro­tect women migrant work­ers who are vic­tims of vio­lence from revic­tim­iza­tion, includ­ing by author­i­ties.Urges all States to adopt and imple­ment effec­tive mea­sures to put an end to the arbi­trary arrest and deten­tion of women migrant work­ers and to take action to pre­vent and pun­ish any form of ille­gal depri­va­tion of the lib­erty of women migrant work­ers by indi­vid­u­als or groups.

key population and community leadership, positive legal determinants

Encour­ages Gov­ern­ments, in accor­dance with their applic­a­ble legal oblig­a­tions, to for­mu­late national poli­cies con­cern­ing women migrant work­ers that are based on up-to-date, rel­e­vant sex-dis­ag­gre­gated data and analy­sis, in close con­sul­ta­tion with women migrant work­ers and rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers through­out the pol­icy process, and also encour­ages Gov­ern­ments to ensure that this process is ade­quately resourced and that the result­ing poli­cies have mea­sur­able tar­gets and indi­ca­tors, timeta­bles and mon­i­tor­ing and account­abil­ity mea­sures, in par­tic­u­lar for employ­ment agen­cies, employ­ers and pub­lic offi­cials, and pro­vide for impact assess­ments and ensure multi-sec­tor coor­di­na­tion within and between coun­tries of ori­gin, tran­sit and des­ti­na­tion through appro­pri­ate mech­a­nisms.