Evolving Regional Standards on the Rights of Labour Migrants: Perspectives from the EAC and the SADC

Authors Juliana Masabo

ISSN: 2026-8556
Affiliations: Lecturer, University of Dar es Salaam School of Law
Source: SADC Law Journal, The, 2013, p. 182 – 211


Labour migration is a fundamental element in fostering African economic integration process. Yet, issues related to intra-regional mobility and regional citizenship continue to be severely constricted. Intra-regional labour mobility is heavily balanced against the competing and conflicting political and economic interests of individual states. Most of countries in the region do not subscribe to the existing international instruments on labour migration and their record in this area is generally poor. Marginalisation of migrants is widespread in most African countries. The East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), being among the sub-regions with higher proportions of intra-regional labour mobility, have responded by formulating new policies and legal instruments. These are aimed to facilitate regularised movements of people across the borders and thereby maximise the potential economic benefits flowing from these movements. This contribution examines the extent to which the human rights of migrants are perceived and integrated in the EAC and SADC legal and policy framework. The relevant instruments are analysed in the context of the prevailing socio-economic situation thereby identifying the critical legal issues and gaps and the implementation challenges. It is argued that, although some positive strides in protecting the rights of migrants in the EAC and the SADC have been achieved, there are several outstanding challenges which require urgent action.