Human Rights Annual Report 2008 - Foreign Affairs Committee Contents


Submission from International Centre of Trade Union Rights (ICTUR)

INTRODUCTION

  1.   For many decades now Gibraltar has been largely dependent upon the services of a large number of migrant workers in order to support industries associated with the military dockyards. Prior to 1969 the majority of these migrant workers were Spanish citizens, who crossed into Gibraltar on a daily basis from Southern Spain. In 1969 the Spanish authorities closed the border leaving a strategic military facility facing a severe crisis with shortages of several thousand workers who could not be replaced locally.

2.  In desperation, the Gibraltarian state and the British government turned to the Kingdom of Morocco, just a few miles across the Straits. Thousands of Moroccan workers were recruited and encouraged to travel to Gibraltar and to take up employment with the Public Services Agency which managed construction, property and service operations around the naval dockyard. Within nine months of the 1969 border closure the Moroccan migrant workforce consisted of at least three thousand workers.

3.  For almost 40 years—and in some cases longer that this—Moroccan migrant workers have played an essential role in supporting the economy of Gibraltar by maintaining the dockyards. During the height of the cold war, funding from the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence represented 60 percent of Gibraltar's GDP. Now that the strategic importance of the Rock no longer requires a significant military presence, a reduced number of Moroccan workers are now engaged in a wide range of other activities, typically of a civilian nature.

  4.  In late 2008 the Gibraltar District Office of Unite contacted ICTUR to express concern at the continuing allegations of discrimination and arbitrary treatment of Moroccan migrant workers.[49] Following a series of meetings between ICTUR staff and officials from the Gibraltar District Office of Unite, it was agreed that ICTUR would carry out a research and fact-finding mission. Although our work is on-going, we welcome this opportunity to share our preliminary findings with the Committee. But this is very much work in progress, and it is work which may continue for some time.[50]

  5.  In February 2009 a delegation from ICTUR travelled to Gibraltar. The District Office of Unite provided every facility to support ICTUR's visit and organised an itinerary of meetings with the Moroccan Workers' Association, the Moroccan Community Association, Unite officials and representatives of the GGCA trade union, as well as arranging a series of invaluable meetings with political leaders. Unite also organised a public meeting to which members of the Moroccan community were invited to express their views. The participation in this meeting of some 500 members of the Moroccan community demonstrated the immense level of dissatisfaction felt by the community about the current situation.

  6.  The local press showed considerable interest in the issue, with the Gibraltar Chronicle covering both the visit of the ICTUR delegation and the public meeting called by Unite and the migrant workers' associations in articles appearing on 14 and 21 February and again on 16 March, the last reporting the contents of an ICTUR letter published in the Guardian newspaper.[51] Prompted by the ICTUR letter, the Guardian conducted its own investigation, which largely coincided with our concerns.[52] According to the local media, there is now an "international spotlight on the plight of Gibraltar's `second class' citizens".[53] Since then the matter has been considered intermittently in the Gibraltar press, and it will be discussed at the ICTUR Administrative Council meeting in Geneva on 13 June 2009.

THE TREATMENT OF MOROCCAN WORKERS

  7.  It is important to emphasise, that the discrimination against Moroccan workers that we encountered is not a problem in the private sector, in employment, in the street, or in social interactions; rather it is a problem stemming directly from the public authorities. The problems we identified include (i) allegations about slow, arbitrary, and discriminatory processing of applications for citizenship; (ii) denial of the right to vote to people who have been living, working, and paying taxes in Gibraltar for up to 40 years; (iii) discriminatory provision of public housing; (iv) separation of families; and (v) ineligibility for certain welfare benefits. We note that a senior Gibraltar government spokesman is quoted on the Guardian website as acknowledging that `one or two public services (for example, government "council" housing) are available only to British nationals', while disputing that this amounts to "racism".[54] A Gibraltar government spokesman is quoted elsewhere as saying that "There is absolutely no discrimination in Gibraltar based on race"', which "in any case", it was said, is "unlawful under our Constitution".[55]

Naturalisation

8.  Moroccan migrant workers resident in Gibraltar for long periods of time (including some resident for 40 years or more) have often struggled to obtain naturalisation. The people we spoke to complained of slow, arbitrary and discriminatory application processes for citizenship. Most of those we spoke to were aware of the allegation about arbitrary, unpublished and unofficial policies that are applied to applications. English language skills have recently introduced a new obstacle, as English may be the Moroccans' third or fourth language, and is not the language commonly used in their workplaces where even Gibraltarians often use Spanish or Llanito.

9.  In an interview with the Moroccan Workers' Association, we were told that there are "no clear rules in Gibraltar", but that "there is an unwritten policy, a whim". They believe that in addition to the "whim" of the authorities the rules require "roughly 20 years residency in Gibraltar, good knowledge of English, currently in employment, and have good conduct". The Association confirmed that the Moroccans living in Gibraltar overwhelmingly want to become naturalised. Of the thousands who have lived and worked in Gibraltar over the past four decades, the Association was aware of "perhaps 100-150 people" who have successfully obtained naturalisation. The application process, they told us, is "slow and mysterious".

  10.  In a separate interview with the Moroccan Community Association, we were told that many of the Moroccans living in Gibraltar have been resident for 30-40 years. Older, retired workers are leaving and no new workers are arriving. They were of the opinion that in some cases naturalisation could be a fast process, particularly for men without children. The process might be achieved for these applicants within two years of making an application. But these cases were the exception. The Association complained that children of Moroccan migrant workers are not entitled to a passport until they are 10 years old. They did not know, however, whether passports were provided to the children of naturalised Moroccans or Gibraltarians at an earlier age.

  11.  We should note that since returning to London, our attention has been drawn to Gibraltar media reports which appear to have been stimulated by our visit. Some of the coverage suggests that there has been a significant spike in the number of Moroccans who have been naturalised in recent years.

    —  From 1999 to 2005, the annual figures were said to be two (1999), four (2000), three (2001), one (2002), seven (2003), eight (2004), and two (2005);

    —  In 2006, however, the figures rose to 26, and remained stable at 21 and 28 in 2007 and 2008 respectively. Figures so far for 2009 were only two.

  Although the increase is to be welcome, it does not answer the questions about the process, but simply invites more such questions. Nor does it overcome the sense of grievance felt by some who still feel that there is undue delay, as in the case of one of the people we spoke to. He applied for naturalisation in 2002 and has heard nothing since, not even an acknowledgement of his application, believing that the reason for his poor treatment is that he has young children in Morocco. These children would be entitled to join their father in Gibraltar were his application to be granted.

Political Rights

  12.  Long-term residents have paid taxes and contributed to society over extraordinary periods of time: in some cases their entire working lives. As non-EU nationals throughout this period they have been denied the right to vote in Gibraltar. Many migrant workers have attempted to register but have had their applications turned down on the basis of nationality. Both the MWA and the MCA presented ICTUR with copies of written claims for registration on the electoral roll which had been presented by workers and tax-payers who had been resident in Gibraltar for periods of 31 years; 35 years; 36 years; and 40 years respectively. The Electoral Office Registration Officer replied in each case: "I intend to disallow your application... on the following grounds... you are a Moroccan national".

13.  We regard this position to be especially unfortunate in light of:

    —  The decision of the European Court of Human Rights in Matthews v United Kingdom (1998) 28 EHRR 361, where a complaint was lodged that a Gibraltar resident had been denied any opportunity to express her opinion in the choice of members of the European Parliament, despite the fact that legislation that emanated from the European Community formed part of the legislation in Gibraltar and the applicant was directly affected by it. This was held by the Court to breach Article 3 of the First Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights.[56] Gibraltarians may now vote in European Parliament elections, as some of them will do on 4 June 2009.

    —  The decision of the European Court of Justice in Case C-145/04, Kingdom of Spain v United Kingdom, where it was held that Community law does "not exclude, therefore, a person who is not a citizen of the Union, such as a [Qualified Commonwealth Citizen] resident in Gibraltar, from being entitled to the right to vote and stand for election" (para 70). Later in the same decision the ECJ made clear that "in the current state of Community law, the definition of the persons entitled to vote and to stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament falls within the competence of each Member State in compliance with Community law, and that Articles 189 EC, 190 EC, 17 EC and 19 EC do not preclude the Member States from granting that right to vote and to stand as a candidate to certain persons who have close links to them, other than their own nationals or citizens of the Union resident in their territory" (para 78).

  14.  The satisfactory resolution of the naturalisation complaints would go a long way towards addressing the problem relating to political rights, in the sense that once naturalised a migrant worker would be entitled to be registered to vote. We see no reason, however, why a migrant worker with a sufficiently close connection to Gibraltar should not be entitled to register to vote without the need for naturalisation. To this end we fully endorse the principle which we heard in Gibraltar from several sources that there should be "no taxation without representation", a principle which in our view is as compelling in the 21st century as it was in the 18th. We also note that the compelling arguments that won Gibraltarians the franchise in European elections are just as compelling when applied to Moroccan workers resident in Gibraltar.

  15.  It is true that the practice of many countries is to restrict the franchise only to citizens. In the United Kingdom, however, the right to vote in parliamentary elections is extended to British and Irish nationals and to Commonwealth citizens, with an even wider franchise for local government and European elections.[57] There are thus always exceptions, and in our view the position of migrant workers in Gibraltar is quite exceptional. It is exceptional not only because of the length of time many of the workers in question have spent there, but also because of the unequivocal commitment they have made to the community and its economy. So far as we understand, there would be no obstacle in either the ECHR or in EU law to the granting of such rights to workers who qualified on the basis of a prescribed period of residency, regardless of whether or not they are naturalised.

  16.  To this end, we would draw attention to the ILO's Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration. This is a set of non-binding principles and guidelines for a rights -based approach to labour migration adopted by the Governing Body of the ILO in 2006. The instrument "invites governments of States Members of the ILO, employers and workers' organisations, as well as relevant international organizations, to promote and respect its contents". So far as immediately relevant, the Framework encourages States to allow "migrant workers to participate in political activities after a period of legal residence in the country, in accordance with national conditions".[58] Any such extension of the franchise would of course—as a matter of principle—apply to all migrant workers (not only Moroccans) in Gibraltar who satisfied the prescribed residency requirements, though it is likely that the Moroccan workers would form the bulk of any such extended franchise.

Housing

  17.  Moroccan workers complain of discriminatory access to public housing. The Moroccan Community Association in a document passed to our delegation complained that "we are unable to include ourselves on the Government housing list". We have been told that the Government of Gibraltar Housing Allocation Scheme restricts eligibility for government housing to Gibraltarians, British nationals, and Commonwealth citizens. We have also been told that the eligibility rules serve to bar the Moroccan migrant worker community from access to or even from applying for access to the government housing. The Moroccan workers are thus denied access to affordable public housing, which is subsidised and occupied by Gibraltarians, and must as a result find accommodation in the private sector or in the government run Buena Vista hostel.

18.  In December 2004, Sussex University Migration Briefing commented on the high proportion of Moroccans in private rented accommodation and reported that "almost all [Moroccans] live in the oldest part of town, west of Main Street, the area of lowest quality housing". During our visit to Gibraltar, we were told by the Moroccan Community Association that there was a shortage of private rental accommodation at affordable prices. There appear also to be serious questions about the quality of the private sector accommodation, as the following passage from the Guardian report makes clear:

    From the two shabby tenement rooms he shares with four others, Ahmed Taheri can see the luxury harbourside developments where wealthy foreigners, the "high net worth individuals" who buy residency in Gibraltar, live.

    Caruana boasts that if Gibraltar were a sovereign state it would have the world's 13th highest GDP per capita. You wouldn't know from Kavanagh Court, where Taheri and his room-mates share an outside bathroom with other Moroccans living in rooms off a staircase and two ramshackle courtyards. Now a security company is threatening to evict them because tenants in other rooms are behind on rent.

  19.  Unfortunately, this report was followed by an eviction of Mr Taheri and six other Moroccan nationals, in what the local press source referred to as an act of retaliation for the Guardian report,[59] though it does appear that a court order was obtained prior to the eviction. A statement by Mr Charles Sisarello, District Officer of Unite was reproduced in the Gibraltar Chronicle as follows:

    At 3.30pm Security Guards from Detective and Security International, and police officers evicted seven Moroccan nationals from their "flat" at Kavanagh's Court in Prince Edward's Road. Only one Moroccan was in the flat at the time since the others were working.

    "A sick 70-year old man was taken out in pyjamas and slippers, and had to remain outside in the cold weather. The others when they arrived home found their door padlocked, and were not given an opportunity to collect their belongings. Another of the Moroccans who suffers from diabetes was not allowed to go inside the flat to get his insulin."

    Mr Sisarello said they had to take this man to hospital for treatment as not having his injections could have had fatal consequences.

    "We called the police and explained the problem. They said we should contact the Social Services who informed us, that the policy of the government, `was that they would not provide alternative accommodation unless children are involved,' neither would they pay any expenses in relation to accommodation".

    Mr Sisarello said the evicted persons found themselves out in the street in the middle of the night without any money or any of their belongings. A collection of money by friends was organised so that they could stay the night at the Emile Hostel.

    "This state of affairs has happened not in a Third World or a poor country, but in Gibraltar in the 21st Century. Had it not been for the TGWU intervention, these human beings would have had to sleep in the street", added Mr Sisarello.[60]

  20.  Turning to the aptly named Buena Vista hostel, there were 50 people living in cramped conditions when we visited. The hostel was dirty, paint was peeling from the walls, there were dozens of cockroaches and cobwebs. The tiny cubicles that represented the private space for each of the men were crammed together and represented a fire hazard: bare, untreated wooden walls and sheets of fabric hung as rough "doors". In the public areas we observed fire extinguishers, but several of them were difficult to reach behind tables. Several residents complained of poor access to medical facilities for older residents and pointed out the obvious health risks, particularly for older residents, facing people living in such close, crowded and dirty conditions. Apart from the physical conditions, some of the residents we met observed that the rents paid, at £10 per week for two square metres of floor space, were considerably more expensive per square foot than government housing.

  21.  In 2007 human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell visited the Buena Vista hostel He reported that "It is decaying, cramped, dirty, infested, badly maintained and with poor amenities". Mr Tatchell continued:

    The rooms are tiny and cramped; half the showers and toilets are broken and unusable; sections of tiling have fallen off the walls in the bathrooms; the bare rough concrete floors in the toilets and showers are unhygienic; damp and mould affect many of the walls and ceilings; half the rings on the kitchen cookers do not work; only one sink per 13 residents; no heating in winter; laundry facilities are non-existent; much of the premises are infested with cockroaches; the hostel is poorly facilitated.

  22.  The ICTUR team observed a similar catalogue of deprivation in its March 2009 visit to Buena Vista. Any changes or improvements since Mr Tatchell's visit in October 2007 were not obviously apparent to us. Nor it seems to Giles Tremlett when he wrote in the Guardian on 28 March 2009 that:

    At the government-owned Buena Vista workers' hostel in a former barracks overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar, music blares from a radio station broadcasting from Morocco, just eight miles away.

    Many here pay no rent, but conditions are grim. Up to 16 men share cockroach-infested kitchens and communal bathrooms. Each immigrant gets a curtained-off, ceiling-less cubicle measuring just 8ft by 6ft. There is room only for a bed, a cupboard and about one foot of space between them.

    Omar Sidda, aged 64, and his friend El Amine Bukkali, aged 73, each live in one tiny cubicle. "There is no room for anything here," says Sidda. "I worked for 35 years. Why does no one help us? Everyone has rights, except for us".

  We respectfully invite the Committee to travel to Gibraltar to inspect the hostel for themselves. They may wish to use the opportunity to answer Mr Sidda's question, and to explain to men of extraordinary dignity why such conditions continue to exist in one of the richest places in the world.

Family re-unification

  23.  Moroccan representatives from the two migrant workers' associations told us that Moroccan workers faced great difficulties in seeing their families on a regular basis. There are two major problems. The first relates to the difficulty in having families visit workers on the Rock. Visiting rights for families to come to Gibraltar are tightly controlled and, we were told, extend to just one annual visit of one month's duration during the summer. These visits are open to immediate family (wife and children), but are not available for children over the age of 18. When a woman visits her husband under these arrangements, her passport will be confiscated and held for the duration of her visit by the Gibraltar immigration authorities. This is a practice that in all of its aspects causes very great offence and deep anxiety, and no one was able to explain to us why it is carried out.

24.  The second problem relates to the ability of workers to return home to visit their families, which can now be only on a Friday night by means of a ferry which travels from Gibraltar to Tangier. Both the Moroccan Workers' Association and the Moroccan Community Association complained that the ferry service that had previously operated on a semi-regular basis had now been reduced to this irregular and unpredictable weekly crossing, which made it difficult for its members to visit their families in Morocco. Moroccans at a public meeting told us that the ferry was "too expensive" and "unpredictable—they cancel it whenever they want". They told us that they have to "wait for hours on the floor of the jetty in the baking sun with no proper facilities". It is, they told us, "degrading" and they called for a waiting room to be provided.

  25.  Some confirmation of these reports is provided by an albeit anonymous posting on the Guardian website, following the publication of Giles Tremlett's report on 28 March 2009. There it is written that:

    Last summer I witnessed the sharp contrast between the embarkation of many wealthy visitors to the Rock as they returned to their cruise ship laden with perfume and electronic goods, while Moroccan workers were herded onto a rusty old ferry, laden with food and basic goods for their families across the sea. That was a powerful, visual confirmation of how things stand here, and how Moroccan workers—or, I should say, Gibraltarians of Moroccan origins—are treated.

    But it is worse than that. While tourists languish in luxury, Gibraltar's hardest and poorest workers might sit around for hours, many with very young children, waiting for this unreliable ferry service. At night, the terminal is closed, leaving a large number of people, with very young children, to wait around in the dark, sometimes in very inclement weather, with no toilet or refreshment facilities, while the ferry turns up—or not, as is often the case. And all so that they can visit families that are not allowed to join them on the Rock.[61]

  26.  It is important to emphasise that apart from general considerations about the frequency of the ferry and the apparent indifference to the dignity to the people directly affected by these arrangements, we also heard individual cases of real hardship which the situation causes. These include the cases of the men who work at the weekends, and so may be cut off from their families for long periods, unable to leave Gibraltar; and the workers who may have to return to Morocco for urgent family reasons (such as a bereavement), though in this latter case our attention has been drawn to the reported comments of the President of the Moroccan Workers' Association expressing "his gratitude to the Spanish authorities for their help in allowing Moroccans through when emergency situations arise".[62] It is not clear to us why sensible arrangements could not be made in all cases to enable Moroccan workers to move freely between Gibraltar and Morocco, at their own convenience, as is the practice for other people.[63]

Public services and welfare benefits

  27.  A final complaint related to allegations that Moroccan migrant workers and their families are denied access to some public services in Gibraltar. The Moroccan Workers' Association told us that Moroccan workers now have five-yearly renewable residency permits if they are in work. If they lose their jobs they may remain under a six month residency permit.

28.  The Moroccan Community Association complained that despite contributing to society and paying taxes and social insurance, in some cases over a period of decades, Moroccan workers have limited rights to unemployment benefit, claiming that "once the basic 13 weeks expires we do not get supplementary benefits or any other type of income or support". Unequal access to welfare benefits was also identified as an issue by the Guardian:

    Sometimes I look around and say to myself, "I built this and I built that, too", says Harrak. Construction is slowing down, however. "My employer might start laying people off", he worries. If sacked, he will get 13 weeks of unemployment benefit. Despite 30 years paying the same taxes as Gibraltarians, he will not get the welfare payments they receive after that.

  29.  We understand that so-called supplementary welfare benefits are provided only through Community Care, a private social security charitable company. According to information we have been given, Community Care Ltd pays out a Household Cost Allowance (£816 per quarter for married couples except where the spouse is under the age of 60 and is in employment, in which case the single rate of £544 per quarter applies). There is also a Community Officer's wage (£424 per month between the ages of 60 and 65 for those who are not in gainful employment elsewhere) in return for social or community oriented work. In order to qualify for payment applicants must be resident in Gibraltar and be in receipt of an old age pension or an elder person allowance (between 60-65). The charity depends on funds from the Ministry of Social Security.

  30.  Apart from entitlement to social security, the Moroccan Community Association also emphasised the barriers faced by migrant workers and their families in accessing health care as a key concern. It was claimed that when their families are with them during the visiting period, the families do not have full access to health services, despite the fact that the migrant worker is a lawfully resident long-term worker and taxpayer. We also heard claims reproduced in the Guardian that

    Moroccans also have reduced health cover. While Gibraltarians fly to Britain for serious illnesses that cannot be treated here, they have no such rights. Their taxes, they complain, pay for services reserved for others.[64]

  We understand that Moroccan workers in some cases may have access to Spain for medical attention. We were told by the Moroccan Community Association, however, that a hospital card allowed migrants access to Cadiz hospital in Spain in only "very serious" cases, and in less serious cases there would be a "10 day wait for permission" to enter Spain for medical attention. It is unclear to us whether it would be necessary to visit the United Kingdom to collect a Spanish visa for this purpose, though we note the statement made by the Gibraltar government that:

    EU law requires Moroccans to be in possession of a Visa to enter the Schengen territory (even to nip over to Algeciras to catch a ferry). Spain will only issue such visas in London, and now requires the physical presence of the applicant, thus making it impractical and costly.[65]

CONCLUSION

  31.  ICTUR believes that these complaints raise a number of concerns that ought urgently to be addressed. We understand that not all of the problems we encountered are the responsibility of the Gibraltar and United Kingdom governments alone, and that the Kingdom of Spain also has an important role to play. For example, some of the migrant workers' concerns would be eased if Spain were to open her borders to facilitate the temporary transit of Moroccan workers and their families in order—for example—to access Spanish ferry services. The current state of affairs can hardly be said to be defensible, or to comport with common decency.

32.  Nevertheless, we re-assert the view we previously expressed in the Guardian that Gibraltar operates a "shabby" legal regime of discrimination against Moroccan workers who originally travelled there at the invitation of the British government to deal with a labour crisis at a particularly sensitive time for the British armed forces. Although the position has unquestionably improved, there is still much room for other improvements. We have identified five key areas of concern, which we believe ought to be addressed by the British and Gibraltar governments: naturalisation, political rights, housing rights, family re-unification and access to welfare benefits.

  33.  As already indicated, we have no doubt that despite our concerns, the position for Moroccan workers today is better than it was (especially before 1996). For example, women are no longer deported to Morocco because they are pregnant. Nevertheless, there is still some way to go to ensure equal treatment, consistently with the opportunities provided by a prosperous economy. Whatever the reasons for the continuing discriminatory treatment of Moroccan workers in Gibraltar it is clear that a weak economy is not one of them. Among the issues identified by Guardian journalist Giles Tremlett during his recent visit to Gibraltar were the following:

    —  Gibraltar is actively trying to attract "high net-worth individuals" to take up residency;

    —  Sleek new high-rise apartment blocks for "rich foreigners" line the harbour, with demand still rising;

    —  The economy is booming—chief minister Peter Caruana claimed: "If we were a sovereign state we would be 13th in the world in GDP per capita";

    —  According to Mr Caruana, this would put Gibraltar above Canada and Switzerland;

    —  Gibraltar is empowered by EC law to set its own tax rates. As a result, corporate tax is expected to tumble, attracting more business.[66]

  On the question of extending full citizenship rights to Moroccan workers, the Gibraltar government nevertheless takes the view that "Gibraltar simply has not got the space and financial resources to cope with any such policy, which would include access to such things as Government housing, social security benefits, health and social services, elderly care services and education. Apart from its unaffordability, there would be a massive degradation in the quantity and quality of such services to everyone else".[67]

  34.  As already indicated, we believe that the Committee should visit Gibraltar so that members can see for themselves the living conditions of some Moroccan migrant workers in what boasts to be the world's 13th largest GDP per capita economy. Otherwise, we invite the Committee to consider the extent to which the problems we have identified are consistent with the United Kingdom's obligations under international human rights law, which the Gibraltar government claims are fully respected.[68] We also invite the Committee to consider whether the institutional discrimination by the State against a generation of workers can now be said to be justifiable in any circumstances. The Moroccan-born population has served both the United Kingdom and Gibraltar well; it now deserves better, whatever may or may not be required by international human rights law. It should not require litigation to persuade governments to do the right thing.

Daniel Blackburn

Director

Professor K D Ewing

Vice President

Jonathan Jeffries

Member of Delegation

2 June 2009






49   ICTUR was established in 1987 to promote and defend the rights of workers and carries out its activities in the spirit of the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Labour Organisation Conventions and Recommendations and other appropriate international treaties. Based in London, ICTUR has since developed a global network of expertise on international labour rights, and is now widely regarded as an internationally recognised centre of excellence on international labour standards and human rights. In 1993 ICTUR was granted accredited status with both the UN and the ILO. More than 50 national trade unions are affiliated to ICTUR, its global membership also including human rights organisations, research institutes and lawyers' associations. The ICTUR president is Sharan Burrow, President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, and also President of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). Vice Presidents are Mordy Bromberg SC, Australian lawyer; Professor Keith Ewing, British lawyer; Dr Fathi El-Fadl, Sudan Trade Union Alliance; John Hendy QC, British lawyer; Jeffrey Sack QC, Canadian lawyer; Jitendra Sharma, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India; and Hassan Sunmonu, General Secretary, Organisation for African Trade Union Unity. Back

50   For an earlier account, see D Blackburn, Disgrace on the Rock (2009) (2) International Union Rights 22. Back

51   D Blackburn, K Ewing and J Jeffries, Gibraltar's Treatment of Migrant Workers, The Guardian, 12 March 2009. Back

52   See G Tremlett, Rock and a Hard Place, The Guardian, 28 March 2009. Back

53   Vox Online, 9 April 2009. Back

54   http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2009/mar/28/work-discrimination-gibraltar-morroco Back

55   Gibraltar Chronicle, 30 March 2009, reporting the Government's response to earlier claims made by ICTUR (Guardian, 12 March 2009), and the Guardian (28 March 2009). Back

56   Article 3 provides that "The High Contracting Parties undertake to hold free elections at reasonable intervals by secret ballot, under conditions which will ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature". Back

57   See A W Bradley and K D Ewing, Constitutional and Administrative Law (14th ed, 2007), ch 9. Back

58   An example of what the ILO considers "good practice" in this area is provided by South Africa, which according to the ILO "granted migrant workers voting rights in local elections", after consultation with the National Union of Mine Workers. Back

59   Vox Online, 9 April 2009. Back

60   Gibraltar Chronicle, 6 April 2009. Back

61   http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2009/mar/28/work-discrimination-gibraltar-morroco Back

62   Gibraltar Chronicle, 30 March 2009. Back

63   Although it is not directly applicable, we commend the principles in the European Social Charter 1961, whereby the Contracting Parties undertake "to adopt appropriate measures within their own jurisdiction to facilitate the departure, journey and reception of such workers and their families" (article 19(3)). Back

64   See G Tremlett, Rock and a Hard Place, The Guardian, 28 March 2009. Back

65   Gibraltar Chronicle, 30 March 2009. Back

66   G Tremlett, Gibraltar is Swimming Ahead of the Tide, The Guardian, 24 March 2009. Back

67   Gibraltar Chronicle, 30 March 2009. Back

68   IbidBack


 
previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2009
Prepared 9 August 2009