The Dhaka Principles are a set of human rights based principles to enhance respect for the rights of migrant workers from the moment of recruitment, during overseas employment and through to further employment or safe return to home countries.
Dhaka Principles for Migration with Dignity Core Principle A Core Principle B Dhaka Principle One Dhaka Principle Two Dhaka Principle Three Dhaka Principle Four Dhaka Principle Five Dhaka Principle Six Dhaka Principle Seven Dhaka Principle Eight Dhaka Principle Nine Dhaka Principle Ten

Principles for the responsible recruitment and employment of migrant workers

Core Principle A All workers are treated equally and without discrimination
Migrant workers should be treated no less favourably than other workers performing the same or similar work. Moreover, migrant workers should be protected from any discrimination that would constitute a violation of human rights.
Core Principle B All workers enjoy the protection of employment law
Migrant workers should have a legally recognised employment relationship with an identifiable and legitimate employer in the country where the work is performed.
Principle 1 No fees are charged to workers
The employer should bear the full costs of recruitment and placement. Migrant workers are not charged any fees for recruitment or placement.
Principle 2 All worker contracts are clear and transparent
Migrant workers should be provided with written contracts in a language each worker understands, with all terms and conditions explained clearly, and the worker’s assent obtained without coercion.
Principle 3 Policies and procedures are inclusive
Migrant workers’ rights should be explicitly referred to in employer and migrant recruiter public human rights policy statements, relevant operational policies and procedures addressing human rights responsibilities.
Principle 4 No workers’ passports or identity documents are retained
Migrant workers should have free and complete access to their own passport, identity documents, and residency papers, and enjoy freedom of movement.
Principle 5 Wages are paid regularly, directly and on time
Migrant workers should be paid what they are due on time, regularly and directly.
Principle 6 The right to worker representation is respected
Migrant workers should have the same rights to join and form trade unions and to bargain collectively as other workers.
Principle 7 Working conditions are safe and decent
Migrant workers should enjoy safe and decent conditions of work, free from harassment, any form of intimidation or inhuman treatment. They should receive adequate health and safety provision and training in relevant languages.
Principle 8 Living conditions are safe and decent
Migrant workers should enjoy safe and hygienic living conditions, and safe transport between the workplace and their accommodation. Migrant workers should not be denied freedom of movement, or confined to their living quarters.
Principle 9 Access to remedy is provided
Migrant workers should have access to judicial remedy and to credible grievance mechanisms, without fear of recrimination or dismissal.
Principle 10 Freedom to change employment is respected, and safe, timely return is guaranteed
Migrant workers should be guaranteed provision for return home on contract completion and in exceptional situations. They should not, however, be prevented from seeking or changing employment in the host country on completion of first contract or after two years, whichever is less.

About the Dhaka Principles

The Dhaka Principles for Migration with Dignity are a set of human rights based principles to enhance respect for the rights of migrant workers from the moment of recruitment, during overseas employment and through to further employment or safe return to home countries. They are intended for use by all industry sectors and in any country where workers migrate either inwards or outwards.

They are based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and international labour and human rights standards. The Dhaka Principles provide a roadmap that traces the worker from home to place of employment and back again and provides key principles that employers and migrant recruiters should respect at each stage in the process to ensure migration with dignity.

The Dhaka Principles were officially launched on International Migrants Day, 18th December 2012.

The Dhaka Principles were developed by the Institute for Human Rights and Business in consultation with a range of stakeholders from business, government, trade unions and civil society. The first draft was shared publicly at a migration roundtable in Dhaka, Bangladesh, June 2011. IHRB continues to manage and promote the Dhaka Principles globally.

Institute for Human Rights and Business

The Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) is dedicated to being a global centre of excellence and expertise on the relationship between business and internationally proclaimed human rights standards.

It provides a trusted, impartial space for dialogue and independent analysis to deepen understanding of human rights challenges and issues and the appropriate role of business.

It seeks to address problems where the law may be unclear, where accountability and responsibility may not be well-defined, and where legitimate dispute settlement mechanisms may be non-existent or poorly-administered. IHRB works to raise corporate standards and strengthen public policy to ensure that the activities of companies do not contribute to human rights abuses, and in fact lead to positive outcomes.

Neill Wilkins

Neill Wilkins – Migration Programme Officer, Institute for Human Rights and Business
neill.wilkins@ihrb.org

Please contact Neill for all general enquiries relating to the Dhaka Principles and the IHRB Migration Programme

Read more about the Institute for Human Rights Migration Programme

A multi-stakeholder consultation process

The need by business for a set of overarching principles relating to migrant workers was established during a programme of multi-stakeholder roundtables convened by Institute for Human Rights and Business and other partners in the UK, Mauritius, Bangladesh and Delhi between 2009 and 2012. Input and feedback from all the roundtable participants and beyond have been an important part of their formulation. Roundtable reports Link

In addition the Dhaka Principles draw inspiration and guidance from the related work of:

Business for Social Responsibility

Verité

The final version of the Dhaka Principles were formulated in close consultation with the International Trade Union Confederation.

IHRB are also particularly grateful for the review and specific feedback offered during the consultation process by the following organisations:

Business:
Adidas, Arcadia Group Ltd., BAIRA - Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies, CIETT – International Confederation of Recruitment Agencies, CMT - Compagnie Mauricienne de Textile Ltée, Coca Cola, Jones Group, ManpowerGroup, Next, Nike

Civil Society and Government:
AWAJ, Centre for North East Studies – Jamia Millia Islamia (India), Clean Clothes Campaign, DFID – Department for Foreign Investment and Development (UK), Ethical Trading Initiative, Monitoring Sustainability of Globalisation, ILO – International Labour Organisation, CARD - Overseas Filipino Workers Hong Kong Foundation, PICUM – Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants, RMMRU – Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit.

Statements of Support

"The Dhaka Principles, developed by the Institute for Human Rights and Business, have the strong support of the International Confederation of Private Employment Agencies (CIETT)"

- David Arkless, Vice-President of CIETT

"The International Trade Union Confederation welcomes the Dhaka Principles. They are a good example of how the UN Framework for Business and Human Rights can be used to identify the business responsibility to respect human rights in situations where governments are not meeting their duty to protect the human rights of vulnerable people. These principles can be applied now – they address real human rights abuses taking place today. They provide guidance for both migrant recruiters and for business enterprises that use migrant workers."

- Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, ITUC

"Migrant labor that violates individual human rights is a complex issue that potentially can be found in all supply chains.The Dhaka Principles provided an essential reference point that The Coca-Cola Company relied on to establish its Migrant Worker Human Rights Due Diligence Checklist to identify exploitative migrant labor practices where they exist."

- Ed Potter, Director, Global Workplace Rights, The Coca-Cola Company

"Understanding and addressing migrant labour issues is a key part of global supply chain management. It is a complex area to navigate. Since its launch in December 2012, adidas Group’s has used the Dhaka Principles as an important new reference tool to benchmark and assess the strengths and performance of our human rights due diligence practices in this area."

- William Anderson, VP Social & Environmental Affairs, Asia Pacific at adidas Group

"Effectively managing migrant workers in the supply chain involves not only addressing issues during employment but also engaging with the entire recruitment process. The Dhaka Principles provide key guidance at every stage of the migration process. We believe they are an invaluable tool for any business working with migrant workers."

- Adil Rehman - Next PLC

Low-skilled and low-paid migrant workers are at the sharp end of our flexible and precarious global economy. This can leave them particularly vulnerable to exploitation, forced labour and trafficking. The Dhaka Principles are a reminder to business and policymakers of their responsibilities to respect and protect their rights.

- Aidan McQuade –Director - Anti-Slavery International

"The Dhaka Principles for Migration with Dignity provide the framework and clear guidance needed by business to effectively manage both the recruitment and employment of migrant workers in their supply chains. They are a welcome tool to understand key risks and deliver best practice."

- Carmel Giblin, CEO, SEDEX – Supplier Ethical Data Exchange

"Modern slavery will not be eradicated absent of the most basic protections for migrant workers. The Dhaka Principles distil elemental protections for these highly vulnerable workers and serve as an invaluable guide on the steps companies need to take to ensure they do not become part of the problem."

- Nick Grono, CEO, Walk Free

Translations

We have made every effort to ensure that these translations are as complete and accurate as possible. Please note, however, that in all cases, it is the English language version that should be treated as the original and definitive version in case of inconsistencies between the different linguistic versions of the document.

Arabic Translation of the Dhaka Principles

Arabic

Dhaka Principles for Migration with Dignity - Bahasa Indonesian Translation

Bahasa

Dhaka Principles for Migration with Dignity - Bengali Translation

Bengali

Dhaka Principles for Migration with Dignity - Burmese Translation

Burmese

Dhaka Principles for Migration with Dignity - Simplified Chinese Translation

Chinese

Dhaka Principles for Migration with Dignity - Dutch Translation

Dutch

Dhaka Principles for Migration with Dignity - French Translation

French

Dhaka Principles for Migration with Dignity - German Translation

German

Dhaka Principles for Migration with Dignity - Hindi Translation

Hindi

Dhaka Principles for Migration with Dignity - Nepalese Translation

Nepalese

Dhaka Principles for Migration with Dignity - Polish Translation

Polish

Dhaka Principles for Migration with Dignity - Portuguese Translation

Portuguese

Dhaka Principles for Migration with Dignity - Spanish Translation

Spanish

Dhaka Principles for Migration with Dignity - Russian Translation

Russian

Dhaka Principles for Migration with Dignity - Thai Translation

Thai

Dhaka Principles for Migration with Dignity - Urdu Translation

Urdu

Conventions and Codes

The Dhaka Principles are informed by and complementary to a number of key international conventions and codes:

UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
The Dhaka Principles seek to align business and state practice regarding migrant workers with the UN Guiding Principles For Business (Protect, Respect, Remedy framework) developed by UN Special Representative for Business and Human Rights, Professor John Ruggie and unanimously endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011.

United Nations Office for Human Rights (UNOHR)
UN Convention on the Rights of all Migrant Workers and their families

International Labour Organization (ILO)
ILO Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration

Non-binding principles and guidelines for a rights-based approach to labour migration. Although aimed at policy-makers this framework aims to assist governments, social partners and stakeholders including business in their efforts to manage labour migration and protect migrant workers. The ILO Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration provides a comprehensive set of rights-based guidelines and principles as a global compilation of good practices on labour migration developed by governments and social partners.

The ILO also has a number of conventions around migrant workers. They focus mostly on the establishment of a clear set of principles agreed by ratifying countries. They form a legal baseline for many international standards.

ILO-Conventions

  • ILO Convention 29 - Forced Labour 1930
  • ILO Convention 97 - Migration for Employment (Revised) 1949
  • ILO Convention 105 – Abolition of Forced Labour 1957
  • ILO Convention 143 – Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) 1975
    (Migrations in Abusive Conditions and the Promotion of Equality of Opportunity and Treatment of Migrant Workers)
  • ILO Convention 181 – Private Employment Agencies Convention 1997

The Dhaka Principles also align with 2 key international business codes:

Ethical Trading Initiative
ETI Base Code
The ETI base code is an internationally recognised code of labour practice. It is founded on the conventions of the ILO but presents them in an easily understandable 9 point format. All the recommendations of the base code should apply equally to both migrant and indigenous workers. It is the responsibility of business to undertake effective due diligence to ensure that, despite their enhanced vulnerability to abuse, migrant workers are protected by this code. The code also provides a useful lens through which to view the activities of other parties such as recruitment agencies.

CIETT International Confederation of Private Employment Agencies
CIETT Members Code of Conduct
CIETT are the international body representing private employment agencies in 42 countries worldwide. Their guidelines seek to establish clear standards of professionalism and adherence to ILO conventions and international law. In particular CIETT have a clear policy that no fee should be charged to any worker by any agency for placement and that that cost should be borne by the employer.

Download PDFs

The Dhaka Principles for Migration with Dignity are available for download in long and short versions:

Short Version:

Dhaka Principles for Migration with Dignity - Short Version

Long Version:

Dhaka Principles for Migration with Dignity - Long Version