24 October 2011
CR Statement on the Safety and Health of Migrant LabourThe Collegium Ramazzini has just released its 16th statement: "The Safety and Health of Migrant Labour: A Call to the International Community for Action". The abstract of this statement is published below, the full text may be downloaded here.
As part of its core mission to disseminate information to concerned stakeholders, the Collegium regularly releases "Collegium Ramazzini Statements" on topics of particular interest. These statements are used as reference points for governments and international agencies as well as by physicians in occupational medicine. Statements reflect the official orientation of the Collegium on topics of major interest. They are adopted in full independence and are exclusively based on scientific knowledge and ethical principles.
While workers have traveled from their place of residence in search of employment throughout history, labour migration has increased dramatically in the last two decades with recent liberalization of global trade. Today, one-third of the world's population depend on remittances from migrant workers for a significant part of their livelihood. A growing part of this migration is within countries, from rural areas to the burgeoning industrial centers. While the international finance institutions have heralded the benefits of migrancy, much less attention has been given to the health needs that are created by migrancy.
The health and safety needs that arise from migrancy affect workers, workers' families and workers' communities. They come in the form of abuse, malnutrition, transmission of infectious diseases and mental disorders. Female migrant workers and the children of migrant workers are especially vulnerable to health effects. Although poorly quantified, these health effects are a major cause of world-wide morbidity and mortality.
The Collegium Ramazzini calls upon the international community to give special attention to this issue, by urging employers, governments and international organizations to provide migrant workers and their families the safety and health protections that to which they are entitled. Specifically, we urge the WHO and ILO to launch an international movement focused on reducing the health needs that arise from reliance on migrant labour. We also urge the United Nations to adopt a Convention on the Safety and Health of Migrant Labour, in which member nations commit to establishing both domestic and international protections against the abuse of migrant workers and their families.