March 7, 2013
February 27, 2013
By Maria Suelzu, International Advocacy Officer, Migration Team, Caritas Internationalis On 15 February I attended an event organised by Vatican Radio. It was a reading of some excerpts from the books written by women migrants who had taken part in the literary competition “Lingua Madre” (Mother Tongue) in Italy. I was moved by the stories of these migrant women and by the quality of their writing. My role was that of presenting the activities of the Caritas Confederation for women migrants. Below you will find the text of my speech.
January 14, 2013
Caritas India says capital punishment is not a deterent against crimes of sexual violence, but improved protection for women and a national school curriculum that tackle these issues will help. Last month, a 23-year-old student died of her injuries after being raped in the capital Delhi. Five men have been charged with her murder and are facing trial. If convicted, they face the death penalty. In recommendations to the Justice J.S. Verma Committee, formed by the government to recommend safety measures for women, Caritas India urged for curriculums from school levels onwards to tackle the issue of violenece and abuse agaisnt women and girls. “The need of the hour is to revolutionize our thinking through education,” said Patrick Hansda, a young public relations officer at Caritas India. The Verma committee’s recommendations in less than a month from now will be considered in amending laws for speedier justice and punishment in sexual assault cases [...]
November 30, 2012
Across the world, vulnerable people—particularly women—are exploited when they go abroad as domestic workers. With no laws to protect them, housemaids suffer abuse, withheld wages and more. Caritas Internationalis has participated in an international advocacy campaign for the adoption of an ILO Convention regulating domestic work. The Convention (No. 189) with an attached recommendation (No. 201) was adopted on 16 June 2011 during the International Labour Conference in Geneva. It was a major breakthrough and the recognition of domestic work as real work. Caritas has joined with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) to promote the ratification and implementation of Convention No. 189. The ITUC has launched the “12 by 12” worldwide campaign to have 12 countries, as a start, ratify Convention No. 189 by the end of 2012.
The 12 December 2012 is a worldwide day of action in support of decent working conditions for domestic workers, both adults and minors. Caritas has joined up with the International Trade Union Federation in asking 12 governments to ratify International Labour Organisation (ILO) ‘Convention 189’ by this date. Five countries, Uruguay, Philippines, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Bolivia, have so far ratified the convention. Ratification means that domestic workers have real access to redress mechanisms, when their contracts or their rights in general are not respected. It’s also a deterrent for employment agencies and employers who do not play by the rules. On 12.12.2012 we want added pressure on those government who have not ratified to do so and ensure millions domestic workers worldwide can now look forward to being treated with the respect they deserve. Caritas members in Latin America for example are urging all people who employ a domestic worker or who [...]
October 30, 2012
Caritas urges governments to fight the exploitation of migrants by offering decent work, social protection and greater opportunities for human development. In a statement for the Global Forum on Migration and Development, Caritas warns that the economic crisis which has led to cuts in public spending, unemployment and the tightening of borders to restrict migrant entry have had a major impact on migrants and their ability to contribute to local development. “Migrants the world over, but most of all women, are vulnerable to abuse,” says Martina Liebsch director of policy at Caritas Internationalis. “Migrants have the same rights as everyone to life, liberty, security, education, medical care and decent work. We urge governments to make protecting migrants a priority.” More specifically, Caritas asks the Global Forum to consider the following issues: Protection and promotion of the contribution of migrant women to human development. Women are often the primary breadwinner in their families and increasingly [...]
September 26, 2012
“I never dreamed we would have our own home again,” says Vadivaperumal Letchumi, putting the finishing touches to her new house, built with support of Caritas Sri Lanka. The 42-year-old widow lives in the north east of the country with her two children. It’s a region emerging from a three decade long civil war that ended in 2009. Her previous home was destroyed in that conflict and her family had to flee the fighting. Three years later, she is back and is looking forward to a more secure life with her son and daughter. The family is poor and some days can be tough, but she believes things are improving.“We’re at last living without fear,” said Vadivaperumal. “My daughter can finally go outside to play without me worrying.” As she and her daughter prepare the evening meal, her 18-year-old son returns home from his work as a fisherman. Her husband did not [...]
The UN International Labour Organization (ILO) has announced that a second country, the Philippines, has just ratified Convention 189/2011 for Decent Work for Domestic Workers. Uruguay was the first country to ratify this Convention last June. This is the second breakthrough after adoption by ILO members in June 2010. Caritas says it is now very important to keep international attention up on these set of rules, so that more countries who are ILO member States also ratify it. Ratification means also that domestic workers have real access to redress mechanisms, when their contracts or their rights in general are not respected. It’s also a deterrent for employment agencies and employers who do not play by the rules. In 2009, Caritas Internationalis started a campaign for migrant domestic workers’ rights. Many Caritas members provide services to domestic workers and had expressed their concern about the abuses such workers had to suffer. The campaign contributed [...]
August 31, 2012
Nepal’s August 2012 ban preventing women under 30 from working in Gulf countries is well-meaning but misguided, according to Caritas migration experts. The ban is intended to protect young women from suffering abuse while they work as maids in private homes. For years, Caritas has worked with survivors of such abuse. “We appreciate the government of Nepal’s concern for migrant domestic workers,” says Rupa Rai of Caritas Nepal. “But the problems women face in Gulf countries will not decrease because of this age bar.” Each year, hundreds of thousands of women leave Asian countries like Nepal, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines to work in Gulf countries such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Some are treated well, but others work long hours without being paid, often suffering beatings and sexual abuse. Instead of banning migration outright, countries should develop “better strategies to provide both safety and decent work for women,” says Rai. [...]