Human Rights Violations of Migrants Workers in India During COVID-19 Pandemic

12 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2020

See all articles by Chitranjali Negi Advocate

Chitranjali Negi Advocate

Supreme Court of India ; Santaniello International

Date Written: June 17, 2020


“No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”–Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Today, the important issue is how to save the human rights & dignity of migrant workers The problems of migrant workers have become very important in many developing countries of the world. Migration of labour started in India during the period of British colonial rule. The National Commission on Rural Labour in India (NCRL,1991) estimates more than 10 million circular migrants in the rural areas alone. These include an estimated 4.5 million interstate migrants and 6 million inter-state migrants in India. One of the reasons behind the Human Rights Violation of State Migrants workers in India are political and economic. State Migrants are outsiders in other State, they do not vote and thus cannot put governments under electoral pressure.

On 24th March 2020, the Government of India ordered a nationwide lock down in India- starting midnight to stop the Corona virus from spreading in Country. Lock down in India has impacted millions of migrant’s workers. Lack of food and basic amenities, loss of employment, fear of unknown and lack of social support were major reasons for struggle in this huge part of population. Due to the lock-down, more than three hundred deaths were reported, with reasons ranging from starvation, suicides, exhaustion, road and rail accidents, police brutality and denial of timely medical care. Eighty migrants died while travelling back home on the Shramik Special trains. Several incidents, viral videos of police misbehavior, brutality (beating with cane-charged) on migrant workers, have been reported from across the country.

The Indian Judiciary has also not protected itself in glory by failing in its duty to protect the rights and dignity of migrant labour citing the ground of non-interference in policy. India is a founding member of the ILO and it has been a permanent member of the ILO Governing Body since 1922. India has ratified six out of the eight-core/fundamental ILO conventions. India has not ratified the two core fundamental conventions (Convention No 87,98). It is necessary to maintain important aspects of labour standards & labour rights (Migrants Rights) and aim of achieving a system where there are no barriers to the smooth process of the Rule of Law.

Keywords: COVID-19, Lockdown, migrants, workers, Police Brutality, Supreme Court of India, Government of India, Violations, Labours, Shutdown, ILO, Rule of Law

Suggested Citation

Negi, Chitranjali, Human Rights Violations of Migrants Workers in India During COVID-19 Pandemic (June 17, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Chitranjali Negi (Contact Author)

Supreme Court of India ( email )

New Delhi, 110001


Santaniello International ( email )

Viale Carlo Felice Italy, ROME 00185


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