Advocates for migrant workers will now have access to a powerful new web-app after the Diplomacy Training Program (DTP) today launches its Migrant Worker International Law Reference Tool, developed in partnership with Australia’s leading independent law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth.
The new legal tool will allow advocates of vulnerable migrant workers to quickly identify sources of international law relevant to more than 65 migrant worker issues across 19 source and destination countries, making UN standards and mechanisms more accessible and potentially eliminating hours of legal research.
Initially designed by students undertaking the University of NSW’s ‘Designing Technology Solutions for Access to Justice’ course, run in conjunction with legal technology provider Neota Logic, the web-app has been expanded and readied for launch by Corrs’ 2017-18 Sydney summer clerk intake.
Each year, Corrs’ Sydney clerks take on a pro bono project to be completed over the course of the 12-week program. This is the second time Corrs’ summer clerks have partnered with the DTP, an independent NGO, having created a guide on the legal framework for protecting Nepalese migrant workers in 2012.
DTP Director Patrick Earle said the new web-app would provide advocates an important tool in assisting some of the world’s most vulnerable workers, particularly in Asia and the Middle-East.
“The exploitation of migrant workers is a growing global problem,” Mr Earle said.
“Often advocates are not clear what rights migrant workers have, what the obligations of governments and employers are, or where to find the information that can help protect workers and end abuses.
“The purpose of the DTP’s legal reference tool is to make the task of identifying migrant worker rights and protections quick and easy for those advocating on their behalf.
“The DTP is very happy we’ve been able to continue our partnership with Corrs to make this tool available. We know from early trials that it provides an important and much-needed service to migrant worker advocates.”
Corrs special counsel Katrina Sleiman, who oversaw the pro bono project, said the firm had always prided itself on being at the forefront of innovation in legal technology.
“Our partnership with the DTP gives our summer clerks an opportunity to make an important contribution to Corrs’ pro bono work,” Ms Sleiman said. “It also allows them to see first-hand the impact a new wave of legal technology is having on the practice of law.”
Corrs clerk Angelina Yurlova was one of the original UNSW students who worked on the development of the tool, and acted as the project manager throughout her clerkship.
“It was a great opportunity for the clerks to be able to take the lead on managing and implementing a significant pro bono project,” Ms Yurlova said.
According to a 2015 report from the International Labour Organisation, there are more than 150 million migrant workers around the world. Many migrant workers travel from poor source countries to wealthy destination countries where they are often taken advantage of by unscrupulous employers and employment agents seeking to exploit their circumstances.
The Diplomacy Training Program is an independent NGO which seeks to advance human rights and empower civil society through quality education and training in the Asia-Pacific, and the building of skills and capacity in non-governmental organisations and for individual human rights defenders and community advocates.
Find out more about the Diplomacy Training Program at www.dtp.unsw.edu.au