Last week's article on Significant Human Rights Instruments raised some questions for discussion pertaining to the International Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (UN Convention on Migrant Workers Rights), 1990. The questions are: how do you establish that Finland has not ratified the UN Convention on Migrant Workers Rights? What would ratification mean for Finland and how would it affect current labour practices in Finland?
To establish that Finland has not ratified the UN Convention on Migrant Workers Rights - you have to take a look at the status of ratification of the Convention. As of today, 8 May, 2010, there are 31 signatories and 41 Parties to the Convention. In other words, 31 countries have signed the Convention and 41 countries have ratified it - and Finland is NOT one of them. Hence, it is clear that Finland has not yet ratified the UN Convention on Migrant Workers Rights.
Now, what would ratification mean for Finland and how would it affect current labour practices?
Ratification would mean that Finland has willingly assumed the obligations laid down in the Convention and can be held liable under international law for failure to fulfill its obligations. Besides the obligation to respect the rights of migrant workers enshrined in the Convention, Finland would be obligated to submit reports to the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (CMW), as stipulated in Article 73 of the Convention. Finland would be expected to report on legislative, judicial, administrative and "other measures" taken to guarantee the rights of migrant workers and members of their families. The Committee would examine the reports and make recommendations to Finland - on what should be done to adequately protect migrant workers within its borders.
Migrant workers in Finland are having a hard time integrating into working life and lack adequate legal protection. Until recently, Finland was not a popular destination for work-related migration. Hence, judicial, administrative and legislative measures that protect workers in Finland do not have provisions that adequately protect the rights of the ever-increasing number of migrant workers. This explains why untold exploitation of migrant workers in Finland goes unpunished.
By ratifying the UN Convention on Migrant Workers Rights, Finland would benefit a great deal from the recommendations and expertise of independent experts that monitor the implementation of the UN Convention on Migrant Workers Rights. The CMW would help Finland develop practices and methods that adequately protect the rights of migrant workers in this Scandinavian country.
All in all, as of today - Finland has not ratified the UN Convention on Migrant Workers Rights. It is my opinion, that ratification of the Convention will positively impact current labour practices in Finland.
Picture by Jyrki Kasvi: Main building of the Parliament of Finland (eduskunta / Riksdagen).