Submission from International Centre of
Trade Union Rights (ICTUR)
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
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 yearsand in some cases
longer that thisMoroccan 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
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.
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
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.
Prompted by the ICTUR letter, the Guardian conducted its
own investigation, which largely coincided with our concerns.
According to the local media, there is now an "international
spotlight on the plight of Gibraltar's `second class' citizens".
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.
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".
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".
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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".
Any such extension of the franchise would of courseas a
matter of principleapply 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.
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,
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.
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
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.
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 "unpredictablethey 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 workersor, I should say, Gibraltarians
of Moroccan originsare 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 upor not,
as is often the case. And all so that they can visit families
that are not allowed to join them on the Rock.
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".
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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 orderfor
exampleto 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
The economy is boomingchief
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.
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
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.
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.
Professor K D Ewing
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
For an earlier account, see D Blackburn, Disgrace on the Rock
(2009) (2) International Union Rights 22. Back
D Blackburn, K Ewing and J Jeffries, Gibraltar's Treatment
of Migrant Workers, The Guardian, 12 March 2009. Back
See G Tremlett, Rock and a Hard Place, The Guardian,
28 March 2009. Back
Vox Online, 9 April 2009. Back
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
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
See A W Bradley and K D Ewing, Constitutional and Administrative
Law (14th ed, 2007), ch 9. Back
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
Vox Online, 9 April 2009. Back
Gibraltar Chronicle, 6 April 2009. Back
Gibraltar Chronicle, 30 March 2009. Back
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
See G Tremlett, Rock and a Hard Place, The Guardian,
28 March 2009. Back
Gibraltar Chronicle, 30 March 2009. Back
G Tremlett, Gibraltar is Swimming Ahead of the Tide, The
Guardian, 24 March 2009. Back
Gibraltar Chronicle, 30 March 2009. Back