UN urges Argentina to derogate and suspend decree that violates migrant rights

The Committee of the Convention on Migrant Workers (CMW) determined that the decree breaches international treaty ratified by Argentina in 2007.

The CMW urged the Argentine state to “adopt immediate action to derogate decree 70/2017 and ultimately suspend its application”. It also mentioned that the promulgation contradicts the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families ratified by Argentina in 2007. Moreover, the presidential decree was declared unconstitutional and null by the National Court of Appeals Contentious-Administrative and is currently under study by the Supreme Court

The monitoring group is composed of 14 international specialists. Their plea to the Argentine state comes as the final observations on the situation of migrant rights in the South American country.

The UN entity also demanded that the state review all of the expulsion cases since the sanction of 70/2017, effective and pending. In dialog with government authorities, María Landázuri, member of the committee and rapporteur for Argentina, stressed the case of Vanessa Gómez Cuevas and the state’s decision to allow her return to Argentina this month. The mother of three was deceitfully escorted to the airport by police and forced to board a plane back to her native Peru with her youngest child in February this year, leaving her two eldest, also minors, in Argentine soil. Under the new decree she is considered subject to deportation because of a sentence she finished serving in 2014. Under the 70/2017, any foreign person detained in Argentina cannot remain in the country, regardless of whether he or she has a conviction, has been charged or is awaiting trial.

Based on Gómez Cueva’s case, Landázuri asked for the revision of at least 125 cases put forward by the National Public Defenders Office in which the right to family unity is threatened. The rapporteur insisted particularly on the cases of Liz Moreta, a Dominican mother of three who is facing deportation for a crime whose sentence she completed 11 years ago and Jhonny Quiróz, expelled from Argentina earlier this year, leaving an 11year old son behind.

In the context of family-separating deportations, the committee called on the government to guarantee family unity in the case of foreigners with served sentences whose children reside in Argentina. The youths must be taken into account during legal procedure and the state should seek alternative solutions to detention for deportation, to be considered only in last resort.

As for the municipal and federal laws and regulations that were sanctioned since the presidential decree, the committee deems them contrary to the Convention because they restrict migrant workers’ rights and those of their families, namely in access to health care, as can be seen in the northern provinces of Misiones and Jujuy.

The committee also expressed its preoccupation because of the police harassment and violence that afflict Senegalese and Haitian street vendors, members of the LGBTIQ community and textile workers. Access to resources to normalize migratory status is also complicated, rendering the undocumented more vulnerable to institutional abuse.

In this spirit, the entity urged the state to encourage a number of measures to ease the immigration process, such as including autonomous work as criteria to obtain residency, reducing fees and waiting times, and providing access to technology and assistance in immigration offices for online residency applications.

Last but not least, the Committee warned the state of the impending danger of associating migrant persons to crime in the public discourse and in media and asked the government to adopt measures to eliminate derogatory stereotypes on migrants.

The final observations of the Committee compel all state powers -including judicial- to return to a migration policy based on migrant rights, rather than the criminalizing policies brought on by decree 70/2017.

Abogados y abogadas del NOA en Derechos Humanos y Estudios Sociales (ANDHES) 
Agrupación AFRO XANGO/Comisión 8 de Noviembre “Día Nacional de las/os Afroargentinas/os y de la Cultura Afro”
Amnistía Internacional
Asociación Yanapacuna
ATE Capital
Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS)
Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional (CEJIL)
Colectivo para la Diversidad (COPADI)
Comisión Argentina para Refugiados y Migrantes (CAREF)
Facultad de Ciencias Sociales de la UBA
Instituto Argentino para la Igualdad, Diversidad e Integración (IARPIDI)
Instituto de Justicia y Derechos Humanos (UNLa)
Migrantes x Migrantes
Migrar No es Delito
Red de Migrantes y Refugiadxs