Argentina – CMW Submission

Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families

31 Session República Argentina

Joint Submission:
Defensoría Edmundo Rice
Fundación Marista para la Solidaridad Internacional Fundación La Salle Argentina
Edmund Rice International


1. The coalition presents the following report in order to reflect the state of access to education and educational quality for Migrant Workers and their families in the territory of the Argentine Republic.

2. For this purpose we have carried out interviews with migrants belonging to a poor neighborhood community in the city of Rosario – the third most populous city in Argentina – and with professional experts in issues relating to migrants and education working in the city of Buenos Aires. The purpose of these interviews was to identify the problems of the migrant population in Argentina related to the the right to education.

3. Throughout the report there is also an analysis of the national regulations on the rights of migrants as well as international laws. The objective of this analysis is to find out if there are contradictions between the different legislations. A reference point for the report is article 30 of the Convention: “Each child of a migrant worker shall have the basic right of access to education on the

basis of equality of treatment with nationals of the State concerned. Access to public preschool educational institutions or schools shall not be refused or limited by reason of the irregular situation with respect to stay or employment of either parent or by reason of the irregularity of the child’s stay in the State of employment.”

International Legislation

4. Argentina signed the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families1 on August 10, 2004 and ratified it on February 23, 2007.

1 Adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 45/158 of December 18, 1990, entering into force in 2003

5. The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination2 was also taken into account in the elaboration of this report, which inarticle7statesthat “StatesPartiesundertaketoadoptimmediateandeffective measures, particularly in the fields of teaching, education, culture and information, with a view to combating prejudices which lead to racial discrimination and to promoting understanding, tolerance and friendship among nations and racial or ethnic groups”.

6. The Inter-American Convention against all forms of discrimination and intolerance3 was also considered when it emphasizes, “the fundamental role of education in promoting respect for human rights, equality, non-discrimination and tolerance “. In its Chapter 3, of the Duties of States, Article 4 states: ” States undertake to prevent, eliminate, prohibit and punish, in accordance with their constitutional norms and the provisions of this Convention, all acts and manifestations of discrimination and intolerance, including: Denial of access to public or private education, as well as scholarships or educational financing programs, depending on any of the criteria set forth in article 1.1 of this Convention.”4

7. The Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in the area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Protocol of San Salvador)5 also speaks about education for migrant families in article 13 when it enshrines the right to education for all persons.

Domestic Legislation

2 Adopted and open for signature and ratification by the General Assembly in its resolution 2106 A (XX), of December 21, 1965. Entry into force: January 4, 1969. Ratified by Argentina in Law N 17.722
3 Adopted in Antigua, Guatemala on June 5, 2013. Ratified by Argentina on June 6, 2013.

4 Section XI

5 San Salvador, El Salvador, November 17, 1988. Enters into force on November 16, 1999. Ratified by Argentina it on November 17, 1988.

8. Article 20 of the Argentine National Constitution states that in the territory of Argentina foreigners are entitled to all civil rights.

9. The current immigration policy is framed by Law No. 25,8716, which was regulated by Decree 616/20107. In its Article 6 it states that “The State in all its jurisdictions will ensure equal access to immigrants and their families under the same conditions enjoyed by nationals, in particular regarding to social services, health, education, justice, employment and social security.”

10. Article 7 indicates that “the ministry of education shall dictate the regulations and provide the necessary measures to guarantee foreigners, even in situations of migratory irregularity, access to the different educational levels within the scope provided in Law No. 26.206. ”

11. Article 13 of that law states that “For the purposes of this law, all acts or omissions determined for reasons such as ethnicity, religion, nationality, ideology, political or union opinion, sex, gender, economic position that arbitrarily prevent, obstruct, restrict or in any way impair the full exercise on equal grounds of the fundamental rights and guarantees recognized in the National Constitution and International Treaties shall be considered discriminatory ”

Present Situation

12. According to the data from 20178, 2,164,524 immigrants live in Argentina. This represents 4.91% of the population. Female immigration is higher than that of males, with 1,168,208 women, representing 53.97% of total immigrants, compared to 996,316 male immigrants, (46.02%.) The main countries of origin of immigration in Argentina are Paraguay, 33.25%, Bolivia, 20.52% and Chile,

  1. 6  Sanctioned on December 17, 2003.
  2. 7  May 6th of 2010


10.44%. In 2018, Venezuelans formed the majority seeking inmmigration to Argentina, totaling 70,531.9

13. The last national census took place in 2010. This means that the current data collected on migration comes, fundamentally, from the procedures carried out in the context of temporary or permanent residence applications, and some permanent household surveys made by the different provinces. However, the available data does not allow an effective account of how the migration situation intersects with socioeconomic factors, employment, and links to the formal education system.

14. Migrants choose to settle in Argentina because they believe that education and health are free, because everyone can earn the same salary and because it is a country of solidarity. Monica and Fatima (Colombian and Paraguayan respectively) indicate that “If the university is still public, my children will be able to study there.” For a bricklayer and carpenter of Paraguayan nationality, coming to Argentina was the possibility of getting a job: “I came because I already had family living in Argentina and they could get me a job.”

15. Fatima also shares that: “Access to education has not been easy, if you do not have the ID you can access elementary school but not secondary school. It is very difficult to get the ID as the filing procedures had been digitalised and we did not know how to apply. It took me 4 years to get my ID.” Her daughter had to change schools in elementary school due to discrimination based on her nationality, her surname and hurtful comments she received. The girl came crying back from school during her seventh grade.

16. Lourdes, a 29-year-old Paraguayan, left school in Paraguay for economic reasons and then traveled to Argentina in search of work for which she requested her ID. Her children were born in the country and go to school but her cousin was

9 2018 Radicaciones Resueltas Report. National Directorate of Migration, Ministry of Interior and Presidency of the Nation.

not allowed to sign up because she did not have a report card and was asked to finish her studies in Paraguay.

17. A similar situation was experienced by Cintia (of Paraguayan nationality) with her children: “They did not last a week in school”. She stopped sending them out of fear as they were beaten and bullied, so they did not complete the school year. She has an older son who did not finish high school and a 4-year-old daughter who has not yet commenced at the initial level.

18. The testimonies reveal one of the greatest difficulties that migrants experience in Argentina: the difficulty in accessing the National Identity Document (DNI) that guarantees access to health, work, compulsory schooling, higher education, validation of degrees of their studies in their countries of origin, subsidies and pensions, and others.

19. The impossibility of processing the DNI (due to lack of resources and the bureaucratization of the same), means that migrants can remain undocumented and in a situation of illegality. The testimonies obtained confirmed that the cost of the procedure is very expensive and not having the necessary documentation puts the right to education and other rights, at risk (According to the principles of Obs. N ° 13 – ECOSOC – UN 1999)10.

20. In many cases, while migrant minors are allowed access without documents, at the initial and primary level adolescents and young migrants are denied enrolment at the secondary level.

21. Another difficulty that girls, boys, adolescents and young people encounter in terms of schooling has to do with the discrimination they often suffer because of their origin and culture. The school is obliged to address these differences and through intercultural dialogue enrich the living together of the students. Many testimonies report the suffering that the uprooting from their country of origin

10 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights devotes two articles to the right to education, articles 13 and 14.

brings, but added to this is the concealment to avoid discrimination, humiliation, and ridicule because of their language, customs and culture. This situation makes many adolescents vulnerable as they do not feel included so they end up leaving school.

22. Through these direct testimonies, the weaknesses that the education system presents in relation to migrants is revelaed. Although migrants can enjoy access to schools given their availability, the completion of an education leading to graduation that enables the insertion in the labor world or allows access to higher studies, cannot be fully guaranteed.

23. Interviews with officials of the jurisdictional Ministries of Education, reveal a lack of awareness of the existence of specific plans or programs to address particular situations presented by the migrant population.


24. The right to education and the principle of non-discrimination are enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. As also detailed in this report, in Argentina there are laws in force which state that migrants and refugees should be treated in the same way as nationals regarding access to education. In practice, the exercise of this right can be denied by restrictive immigration policies, incompatible legislation and strict documentation requirements.

25. In order to improve access to education for migrants in Argentina, we recommend that Argentina:

  • Facilitate the procedures for the validation of high school diploma and university diploma of migrants living Argentina.
  • Generate, from the Ministry of Education of each jurisdiction, plans, programs and educational projects specific to the educational needs of migrants that guarantee the right to education at all levels.
  • Create language support and functional literacy programs for migrant youth and adults.
  • Provide tools for the insertion of migrant population into the world of work.
  • Train teachers to improve the strategies of social educational inclusion to avoid discrimination and violence that migrant children, adolescents and young people may experience within the institutions.