Migrants and human rights within the crises


In 2001, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced a report which systematically described and analyzed the rights of migrants. This was the very first time that an International organization did tackle this issue in such manner. This analysis brings insights into how some scholars perceive human rights of the immigrants within the overall immigration process.

Patrick Taran, estimates that about 150 million persons live outside their countries; in many States, legal application of human rights norms to non-citizens is inadequate or seriously deficient, especially regarding irregular migrants. Extensive hostility against, abuse of and violence towards migrants and other non-nationals has become much more visible worldwide in recent years. Research, documentation and analysis of the character and extent of problems and of effective remedies remain minimal.

Migration and the “multiculturalization” of societies around the world are facts of history as well as increasingly predominant features of this contemporary age of globalization. Increasing migration, for positive and negative reasons, means that nearly all States have become or are becoming more multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-religious, and multi-lingual. Addressing the reality of increasing diversity means finding political, legal, social and economic mechanisms to ensure mutual respect and to mediate relations across differences.

In 2020, the UN High Commissioner for Migrants, issued Principles and Guidelines supported by practical guidance, on the human rights protection of migrants in vulnerable situations.  There were 20 principles listed for the migrants to be performed in practice: Primacy of human rights, Non-discrimination, Access to justice Rescue and immediate assistance, governance, Human rights-based return, Protection from violence and exploitation, Ending immigration detention, Protecting family unity, Migrant children, Migrant women and girls, Right to health, Right to an adequate standard of living, Right to work, Right to education, Right to information, Monitoring and accountability, Human rights defenders, Data collection and protection, and Migration governance and cooperation.

The IOM addresses and suggest the following recommendations: To take steps to ensure that all policies that bear on human rights aspects of migration are coherent, by requiring all departments and offices of government to adopt an integrated and coordinated approach, locally, nationally, regionally and internationally. Establish or strengthen multi-stakeholder partnerships and cooperation for the purpose of upholding the human rights of all migrants. Stakeholders include national human rights institutions, intergovernmental, international and regional organizations, States, civil society organizations including representative migrants’ associations, women’s organizations, trade unions, representative employers’ organizations, and private sector actors, at local, national, regional and international level.

Also, the IOM believes that establishing of terms and conditions for cooperation and coordination, and allocate to stakeholders’ clear areas of responsibility, inter alia with respect to referral procedures and information exchange needs to be done. Besides, the global community needs to promote international cooperation in order to address the root causes and drivers of migration in a rights-based and sustainable manner. Ensure that all responses designed to manage or mitigate the drivers of migration, including those associated with climate change and environmental degradation, comply with international human rights law and standards. Develop and monitor these responses with the participation of migrants and their communities.

Promote safe and accessible pathways for migration. Develop migration policies through holistic approaches that take into account the demand for labour migration at all skill levels in receiving societies, family reunification and education-related opportunities amongst others, and ensure the availability of humanitarian pathways to entry for migrants including private sponsorship.

Establish effective mechanisms to provide legal status to migrants who are unable to return, including those who cannot be removed on international human rights grounds.

To consider regularizing within a reasonable period of time the status of migrants in an irregular situation, in order to address their needs and secure their rights and to promote the inclusion of migrants in receiving societies. Lastly the IOM advises to develop integration policies, practices, institutions and partnerships that support inclusion, promote social and economic equality, and foster cultural diversity. To this end, pool skills across the public and private sector, in civil society and migrant communities.

In addition to these key elements, the non-exhaustive list of resources below references some of the myriad initiatives that are increasingly being put in place to address the linked issues of migration, human rights and narratives. These resources may be of use to States and stakeholders looking to build human rights-based migration narratives, including those who are looking for guidance on addressing incitement to national, racial or religious hatred, while ensuring full respect for freedom of expression.

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