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HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL HOLDS HIGH-LEVEL PANEL ON PROMOTING AND PROTECTING THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF MIGRANTS
4 March 2014

The Human Rights Council this morning held a high-level panel discussion on human rights mainstreaming, focusing on the promotion and protection of the human rights of migrants.  The discussion included key note statements by Jan Eliasson, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Benedetto della Vedova, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Italy. 

Jan Eliasson, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, in a video message, said that the horrific loss of life during recent tragedies in the Mediterranean and in the Sahel underlined the magnitude of today’s protection challenges for migrants.  The growing political readiness to discuss the problems faced by migrants and to identify the best policies to help them was encouraging.  In this sense, the Declaration on International Migration and Development adopted unanimously at the General Assembly High-Level Dialogue last year was a landmark.

Abuses of migrants were taking place every day and in every region of the world, recalled Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.  She was encouraged by the place of migrants within the post-2015 agenda, which also presented an opportunity to seek out innovative ways of measuring and monitoring the situation of migrants.  Migrants were both contributors and subjects of development and Ms. Pillay called on all States to stop the arbitrary detention of migrants and to punish those who perpetrated abuse against them. 

Benedetto Della Vedova, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Italy, recognized that migration would increase in the near future and that the root causes of this mega-trend would continue.  The national and European response should not be based only on security and police operations and it was time to focus attention on migrants’ rights and on cooperation with countries of origin and transit.

Jean-Marie Ehouzu, Ambassador and Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that the African Union had a common position and a framework migration policy that emphasised the socio-economic implications of migration.  The protection of the human rights of migrants had to address the root causes of migration and be inclusive of all concerned actors.

Francois Crepeau, Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, said that all migrants were protected by international human rights law, on the same footing as citizens, regardless of their administrative status or situation.  It was of concern that State-led migration dialogues took place outside the United Nations and international human rights mechanisms and often focused on economic, development and political aspects of migration, without properly integrating human rights concerns.

Participating in the discussion as panellists were Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization; Laura Thompson, Deputy Director-General of the International Organization for Migration; Volker Turk, Director of the Division of International Protection at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; John Sandage, Director of the Division of Treaty Affairs at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime; and Christian Salazar, Deputy Director of the Programme Division at the United Nations Children’s Fund.

Mr. Ryder underlined the need to recognize migrants’ contribution to development and the urgent need to put human rights back at the heart of the issue of migration.  The working life of migrants too often constituted of discrimination, trafficking and exploitation, and States needed to better implement a normative framework for the protection of the rights of migrants.  

Ms. Thompson said migrants had rights no matter whether they were in a regular or irregular situation.  Migrants were the first group to be affected by economic crises, and they faced violence, exclusion, discrimination and xenophobia.  States had to promote a rights-based approach to migration and create mechanisms to ensure the protection of the human rights of migrants. 

Mr. Turk stressed positive interaction between migration and refugee protection, which needed to be strengthened, and warned against the negative impact of migration laws and policies, such as building of walls and tight border controls, on the refugee protection regime.  The loss of life at sea was another great concern for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.  Many tools were available to assist governments, but their implementation remained a challenge.
Rule of law-based responses to trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants were key to the effective prevention and prosecution of those crimes, and to ensure the protection of the rights of the victims, Mr. Sandage stressed.  Efforts to detect criminals and organized crime groups involved in facilitating irregular migration needed to be strengthened and States also needed to adopt measures to prevent the misuse of legal channels of migration.

Mr. Salazar said members of the Council should take note of the General Comment on the rights of children in the context of international migration that the Committee on the Rights of the Child adopted last year, which provided a roadmap for States for concrete action.  Migrant children should never be detained.  Family reunification should never be an argument for placing children in prison facilities with their families.

In the discussion on the human rights of migrants, Member States said that migration should never be a forced choice due to economic hardship, and inquired how the United Nations could assist countries in addressing the international economic crisis and realize the right to development.  Speakers also expressed support for a human rights, holistic and inclusive approach to migration and international cooperation; others highlighted the different roles that countries of origin, transit and destination had in order to ensure the protection of migrants’ rights.  Speakers also highlighted the importance of political will and leadership in order to mainstream the human rights of migrants and to provide the relevant normative frameworks.

Other speakers inquired about the situation of migrants in conflict contexts and the human trafficking of migrants.  Several calls were made to incorporate migration into the post-2015 development agenda and to recognize the positive impact of migrants on national economies and development.  Speakers condemned acts of racism, xenophobia and discrimination perpetrated against migrants.  The vulnerability of particular groups, such as women and unaccompanied minors, should also be recognized.  Speakers reiterated States’ responsibility to protect migrants in their territory and suggested that the rights of migrants and the protection of borders were not incompatible.
States should avoid criminalizing irregular migration, which led to abuses against migrants, and particularly against women and children.  Speakers stressed the situation of children on the move and called on States to better address this situation at the international and national levels; others highlighted the importance of migrants’ participation, including the post-2015 agenda, and underlined the need for effective cooperation to meet the needs of migrants and respect their rights.

Speaking in the discussion were the following Council members: Namibia, Portugal, Burkina Faso, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Morocco, Ethiopia (on behalf of the African Group), Senegal (speaking on behalf of the French speaking countries), Pakistan (on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference), Costa Rica (on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), Ethiopia (on behalf of a Like Minded Group of countries), El Salvador, Switzerland, United States, the European Union, Egypt, Indonesia, China, International Committee of the Red Cross, and Australia.

Also taking the floor were the Human Rights Commission of Mauritania, Save the Children, International Catholic Migration Commission, International Committee of the Red Cross, and the National Human Rights Council of Morocco.

The Council is holding a full day of meetings today.  At noon, the Council will resume its High-level Segment and at 3 p.m., it will hold a high-level interactive dialogue on the promotion of preventive approaches within the United Nations system.

Opening Statement

BAUDELAIRE NDONG ELLA, President of the Human Rights Council, said that they would begin the high-level debate over the course of half a day, devoted to human rights mainstreaming.  The Council had decided that this year’s event would focus on the protection and promotion of the human rights of migrants.

Key-note Statements

JAN ELIASSON, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General (video statement), said that in view of the numbers and the speed of developments, the challenges facing migrants had never been greater.  Abuse and exploitation, discrimination, stigmatization and exclusion of migrants, were heard of daily.  The horrific loss of life during recent tragedies in the Mediterranean and in the Sahel underlined the magnitude of today’s protection challenges for migrants.  At the same time, he was encouraged by the growing political readiness to discuss the problems faced by migrants and to identify the best policies to help them as well as for societies to adapt.  The Declaration on International Migration and Development adopted unanimously at the General Assembly High-Level Dialogue last year was a landmark.  This work was their shared responsibility and also an opportunity.
It had to be ensured that the human rights of migrants did not simply become a rhetorical flourish when considered along with the economic, political and financial implications of migration.  Their plight and exposed position in societies had to be highlighted and remedied.  It had to be recognized that migration was a fundamental human challenge and it should never be forgotten that migrants continued to make positive contributions to the political, economic, social and cultural fields of their societies and that this tended to be forgotten in many national debates. 

NAVI PILLAY, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, recalled that abuses of migrants were taking place every day and in every region of the world at borders, places of detention, in the work place, private homes and public spaces where xenophobia and discrimination were rife.  The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights had a long standing commitment on the issue of migration and human rights, and was currently finalizing a set of Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights at International Borders.  Ms. Pillay was encouraged with the place of migrants within the post-2015 agenda.  Migrants were both contributors and subjects of development.  She believed the post-2015 agenda could incorporate equality as a stand-alone goal, which would lead to progressively eliminate disparities.  The post-2015 agenda disparity could also develop specific migrant-sensitive targets under relevant goals.  The post-2015 agenda could ensure systematic disaggregation of indicators by migrant status under relevant goals and targets.  The post-2015 agenda was an opportunity to seek out innovative ways of measuring and monitoring the situation of migrants.  The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights had launched an initiative to develop indicators on the human rights situation of migrants. 

The United Nations had to play a critical part in mainstreaming the rights of migrants by providing a platform for all stakeholders, including Member States, United Nations agencies, civil society and migrants themselves.  Ms. Pillay urged the Council to ensure concrete follow-up on today’s discussions, for example through the setting-up of an annual panel on the human rights of migrants.  Finally, she called on all States to stop the arbitrary detention of migrants and to punish those who perpetrated abuse against them. 

JEAN-MARIE EHOUZU, Ambassador and Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations Office at Geneva, expressed satisfaction that the issue of migrants was being more and more addressed at the international level.  The African Union had repeatedly demanded that migration was addressed with a multi-sectorial approach.  The African Union had adopted a common position on migration and development and a framework migration policy that emphasised the socio-economic implications of migration.  African Union and European Union partnerships and cooperation included dimensions on the protection of the rights of migrants.  The World Forum on Migration and Development held in 2008 in the Philippines had addressed the question of shared responsibilities and emphasised the increasing contribution of migrants to national economies.  The post-2015 agenda was an opportunity to give appropriate recognition to the contribution of migration to development.  States had to put mechanisms in place to ensure migrants’ access to basic public services like education, health and justice.  Mr. Ehouzu called for the universal ratification of the International Convention on the Protection of Migrant Workers and their Families.  The protection of the human rights of migrants and all preventive measures had to address the root causes of migration and be inclusive of all concerned actors.

BENEDETTO DELLA VEDOVA, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Italy, said that migration policy in the Mediterranean region would be on top of the agenda of the upcoming Italian European Union Presidency.  It was generally recognized that migration would increase in the near future and that the root causes of this mega-trend would continue.  The national and European response should not be based only on security and police operations.  More had to be done, especially in the field of human rights, and it was time to focus attention on migrants’ rights with a new effective approach.  In managing migratory flows Italy faced difficult and unusual challenges, including maintaining secure and credible borders and, at the same time, searching and rescuing vulnerable people at sea, very often asylum seekers or persons in need of international protection. 

It was underlined that in the past, most migrants were in search of a better life.  Nowadays, roughly two thirds of arrivals in Italy were made up of persons potentially beneficiary of international protection and this was a big change.  Italy was against push-backs at sea and was strongly committed to search and rescue activities, very often far beyond its area of responsibility.  The only way to seriously manage migration flows, enhancing also human rights respect, was cooperation with countries of origin and transit.  Serious abuses and human rights’ violations were reported on a daily basis on the main routes of migration as demonstrated by the last Human Rights Watch report and this situation could not be accepted.  Italy had taken many of the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants very seriously and had been working to upgrade its reception system and develop a serious integration policy, in line with European standards and human rights obligations. 

FRANCOIS CREPEAU, Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, said that migration was a fundamental multi-faceted human phenomenon.  All were migrants, one way or another.  It was essential for discussion on international migration to be also focused on human rights.  All migrants, by virtue of their human dignity and without discrimination, were protected by international human rights law, on the same footing as citizens, regardless of their administrative status or situation.  However, the lack of understanding about the human rights of migrants and particularly their application also to irregular migrants, made migrants increasingly vulnerable to discrimination, exploitation, xenophobia, anti-migrant sentiment, hate speech, hate crimes and psychological and physical violence.  Irregular migrants were often those most vulnerable to human rights violations.  It was of concern that State-led migration dialogues took place outside the United Nations and international human rights mechanisms and often focused on economic, development and political aspects of migration, without properly integrating human rights concerns.  The United Nations was the main forum for international cooperation and was capable of embracing the extreme complexity of international migration in all its dimensions.
Mr. Crepeau encouraged the Human Rights Council to engage more actively on issues relating to the human rights of migrants and it should mainstream migrants’ rights in its work in relation to, inter alia, the rights of the child, women’s rights, xenophobia and racial discrimination, and the rights of minorities, and hold an annual panel discussion on the human rights of migrants with a different thematic focus each year.  States were urged to include migration and human rights in the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

Statements by the Panellists

GUY RYDER, Director-General of the International Labour Organization, underlined the need to recognize the contribution of migrants to development.  He regretted that anti-immigrant sentiments were gaining strength.  Politicians were increasingly hostile to migration and they fuelled inaccuracy of public perception of migration.  There was an urgent need to put human rights back at the heart of the issue of migration.  Too often the realities of the working life of migrants consisted of discrimination, non-respect of their basic rights, trafficking and exploitation.  There was a normative framework, including International Labour Organization conventions, that ensured the protection of the rights of migrants, and Member States should better implement it.  There was also a need to promote bilateral and regional agreements between sending and receiving countries.  Finally, he pointed out that among the migrant population, women and domestic workers faced specific risks of human rights violations. 

LAURA THOMPSON, Deputy Director-General of the International Organization for Migration, said that migrants had rights no matter whether they were in a regular or irregular situation.  Migrants were the first group to be affected by economic crises, and faced violence, exclusion, discrimination and xenophobia.  States had to promote a rights-based approach to migration and create mechanisms to ensure the protection of the human rights of migrants.  She underlined that the distinctions between migrants, asylum seekers and refugees were important to give status and identify protection systems.  However, it was often difficult in reality to neatly separate people into distinct categories, sometimes because people may fit into several categories.  As a result, a too rigid approach could fragment human rights protection.  Ms. Thompson underlined the importance of including the human rights of migrants in the post-2015 agenda, although she regretted that people taking part in those debates often saw migration as a failure of development rather than as something that could positively contribute to it.  A more coherent approach was needed, incorporating human rights in all areas of migration discussions. 

VOLKER TURK, Director of the Division of International Protection at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said that there was a lot of interaction between migration and refugee protection.  Migration was quintessentially part of human identity and human development.  Refugees and asylum seekers were part of that fabric and it was important to ensure that positive interactions with migration were strengthened.  Another positive aspect was the existence of a strong legal protection system for refugees which could be applied to migrants.  Migration laws and policies could have negative impacts on the refugee protection regime, for example the building of walls and tightening of border control, detention and others.  The fundamental challenge for Governments was the lawful and effective management and control of borders and the application of international law, particularly the principle of non-refoulement.  The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees together with others had developed a tool to assist governments in this regard.  The loss of life at sea was of great concern.  It was clear that irregular migration presented a particular challenge for governments but migration as a whole was a positive force.  For asylum-seekers and refugees, the impetus to move was to seek protection and to reach safety and this ancient right of sanctuary was based on their shared humanity and must be respected and given meaning within the modern migration context.  There were many tools available and the challenge remained their implementation.

JOHN SANDAGE, Director of the Division of Treaty Affairs at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, said despite the existing efforts all too often the rights of migrants were disregarded or violated.  As a guardian of the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols on trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime was a strong advocate of safe, secure and humane migration.  It supported efforts to prevent and address violence and crimes against migrants and other vulnerable groups by strengthening crime prevention and criminal justice responses that addressed their special needs.  Also, support was given to Member States in their efforts to fight smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons and the laundering of illicit proceeds from those crimes.  Rule of law-based responses to trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrants were key to effective prevention and prosecution of those crimes and protection of the victims from human rights violations.  The international community should not lose sight of the criminals who profited from the distress or lack of opportunity migrants faced. There was a need to strengthen the efforts to detect criminals and organized crime groups involved in facilitating irregular migration and to adopt measures to prevent the misuse of legal channels of migration.

CHRISTIAN SALAZAR, Deputy Director of the Programme Division at the United Nations Children’s Fund, said data collected showed that there were nearly 35 million international migrants under the age of 20.  They represented around 15 per cent of the total migration population.  If this was disaggregated by age, these 35 million young migrants were of all ages.  Girls migrated in almost the same number as boys, and more than 60 per cent of those 35 million young migrants lived in developing countries.  The international standards were set by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, protecting the rights of children everywhere, regardless of their migration status or that of their parents.  Members of the Council should take note of the General Comment on the rights of children in the context of international migration that the Committee on the Rights of the Child adopted last year, which provided a roadmap for States for concrete action.  Migrant children should never be detained.  Family reunification should never be an argument for placing children in prison facilities with their families.

States should make resources available so assessment of the age and situation of migrant children could be conducted on a case by case basis, conducted by child protection authorities or at least by migration officials trained in human rights.  Children must always be given the opportunity to be heard and express their views freely in decisions affecting them or their parents.  It was stressed that migration not only affected migrant children but also children that remained in countries of origin when their parents migrated and their situation varied.  All children felt the psychological impact and the sadness of their parents’ absence.  Child migration was as much a matter of protecting children’s rights as a matter of social policy and equity. 

Interactive Discussion

Namibia said that migration should never be a forced choice due to economic hardship, and asked how the United Nations could assist countries in addressing the international economic crisis and realize the right to development.  Portugal said that it strongly supported a human rights, holistic and inclusive approach to migration, as illustrated by the Portugal Action Plan on Migration.  Portugal was committed to the protection of the rights of migrants, including their social, economic and cultural rights.  Burkina Faso said that it was not only a country of origin but also of reception of migrants, and had implemented international instruments guaranteeing the protection of their human rights, including through the elaboration of an action plan or the organization of national panel discussions.  The Philippines considered mainstreaming of the human rights of migrants to be both a legal and moral obligation.  Protecting the rights of migrants required both a strong normative framework and the determination and will of political leaders.  Sierra Leone said that it had experienced widespread experience during the civil war, and that migrants were denied their basic rights.  Sierra Leone asked how host countries could guarantee the rights of migrants in situations of conflict.

Morocco said that the economic crisis had led to new forms of migration and abuses against migrants.  Morocco had adopted a migration policy with a human-based approach, in cooperation with the United Nations and the European Union.  Ethiopia, speaking on behalf of the African Group, recalled that migration contributed to development and economic growth, and that it was a multi-sectorial issue.  The African Group regretted that migrants faced human rights abuses, including xenophobia and discrimination.  The post-2015 agenda would need to incorporate an appropriate migration dimension.  Senegal, speaking on behalf of the French speaking countries, insisted on the need for the Human Rights Council to respect the multilingualism principles of the United Nations.  The French speaking countries underlined the need to combat the human trafficking of migrants, and to recognize the positive impacts of migrants on the national economy and development.  Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, strongly condemned acts of racism and xenophobia against migrants, and other violations of their rights such as the right to food.  The Organization of Islamic Cooperation considered that migration had to be addressed bearing in mind the necessity to guarantee all rights for migrants, including their social, economic and cultural rights.  Costa Rica, speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, was particularly concerned at the protection of human rights of migrants regardless of their status.  The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States called for international cooperation, shared-responsibility as well as the adoption of a holistic and human-based approach to migration. 

Ethiopia, speaking on behalf of a Group of Like-Minded Countries, regretted that migration had not been appropriately addressed in the international development framework.  The Group of Like-Minded Countries condemned discrimination and racism against migrants, and expressed deep concerns about the trafficking and exploitation of migrants.  El Salvador said that although it was necessary to reduce illegal migration flows, the rights of migrants, and especially migrant women, had to be protected and respected.  The Human Rights Commission of Mauritania said that States should avoid criminalizing irregular migration, which led to abuses against migrants, particularly against women and children.  Save the Children demanded that the situation of children on the move, who were at high risk of human rights abuses, violence, detention or even recruitment by armed groups, be more appropriately addressed at international and national levels.  The International Catholic Migration Commission emphasised the importance of the involvements of migrants in decisions that affected them, including the post-2015 agenda. 

GUY RYDER, Director General of the International Labour Organization, addressed the recurrent theme of how to link mainstreaming efforts to wider development objectives and to provide freely chosen alternatives to migration for individuals, including the right not to migrate and remain in their communities.  This was a vital part of the questions and interconnected questions to be addressed.  The answer lay in the creation of opportunities.  Therefore, besides arrangements to include migration per se in the post-2015 development agenda, decent work and protection should also find their way in the discussion.  These two components would contribute to the task of adopting an overall approach to development and to manage migration to ensure the protection of migrants and their rights.

LAURA THOMPSON, Deputy Director General of the International Organization for Migration, highlighted the important role that diasporas could play in the protection of migrants’ rights.  Diasporas in countries of destination were strong groups and States were beginning to realize the role they could play in protecting migrants, including by facilitating their adaptation and protection.  Concerning the work carried out by the United Nations, Ms. Thompson highlighted advocacy and capacity building, including for local and national authorities, to manage migration in a way that was respectful of human rights.  The panel had also highlighted the role of remittances and their capacity to facilitate development.  Several international organizations were also working to promote a more effective use of remittances, promoting development in countries of destination and enhancing the capacities of individuals to remain in their communities.  Civil society had a key role to play in the negotiations taking place in New York, among other issues, regarding the effort to develop indicators on how to integrate migration into the new development goals.

VOLKER TURK, Director of the Division of International Protection at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said that the high-level panel had emphasized the importance of a clear recognition of migration issues, policies and the human rights dimension, and the need for these issues to be placed higher on the political agenda.  A number of leadership examples had been presented, including Morocco’s new migration and asylum policies and other initiatives undertaken, for example, by the Governments of the Philippines, Norway and Switzerland.  Mr. Turk also stressed the need for new approaches and a principled rights-oriented approach but balanced by pragmatism; and for measures to be taken to address legitimate challenges grounded on law and institutions.  The participation of civil society and non-governmental organizations working to protect refugees was also important.  Mr. Turk also highlighted the importance of a participatory approach.

JOHN SANDAGE, Director, Division of Treaty Affairs, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, said that migration was central to development and governments were struggling to deal with challenges of irregular migrants.  The principal situation in which the rights of migrants were violated was trafficking and that was why attention must be given to the criminal aspects of this phenomenon.

CHRISTIAN SALAZAR, Deputy Director of the Programme Division of the United Nations Children’s Fund, thanked those delegations who flagged the rights of women and children in the context of migration because they often tended to be invisible and expressed hope that they would be included in the post-2015 agenda.  The first step toward the better protection of children in migration was stopping the detention of children and increasing the national system of child protection.  Little was known about children left behind and research needed to be undertaken on the issue of children left with extended families.

Switzerland said migration was a complex multifaceted phenomenon, and because of their vulnerability, minors, particularly unaccompanied ones, required additional protection to ensure that the best interest of the child was always respected.  The United States stressed that all States had a duty to protect migrants in their territory and that the protection of the rights of migrants and the protection of borders were not incompatible goals.  One of the most challenging issues in border controls was the loss of life at sea, said the European Union, and suggested that more needed to be done to dissuade migrants from crossing the sea.
Egypt underlined the important role of the Council in promoting the mainstreaming of human rights throughout the United Nations system.  Egypt expressed concerns about abuses against migrants, and in particular about xenophobia against migrants.  Indonesia shed the view that people should be placed at the centre of migration policies, and called on countries to adopt legal frameworks for the protection of migrants, including through the ratification of international instruments on that matter.  China said that migrants contributed greatly to economic growth and were creators of social values, and regretted that racism, xenophobia and human smuggling were on the rise.  China demanded that countries lifted abusive restrictions on natural migration flows.  Australia said that the rights of migrants were high on the domestic and international agenda of Australia, and recognised the value of the treaty bodies on that issue.  Australia questioned, however, the need for a new mechanism on the issue. 

The International Committee of the Red Cross underlined the need for effective cooperation to meet the needs of migrants and respect their rights.  The National Human Rights Council of Morocco regretted that the efforts by Morocco to protect the rights of migrants were insufficient and made a series of recommendations to the Moroccan Government.

GUY RYDER, Director-General of the International Labour Organization, in concluding remarks, said that the great value of this session had been the strength and unanimity of some fundamental messages.  The message one took away was what would be their capacity collectively to respond effectively to the consensus detected in this room, the general recognition of the need to act nationally and internationally to improve action to protect and promote the rights of migrant workers.  Many speakers had spoken of the acknowledged complexity of the migration phenomenon today.   All had spoken of the very positive contribution that migrants made to the countries to which they went and their countries of origin.  The question that arose was what would be the capacity of the multilateral system to react effectively to these messages.  One hoped that everything that had been said about the post-2015 agenda would assist them in these efforts. 

LAURA THOMPSON, Deputy Director-General of the International Organization for Migration, in concluding remarks, said the first conclusion was that all the human rights of migrants had to be respected.  The rights of migrant workers should be more broadly expanded.  They had the legal framework and governments had taken measures and ratified agreements that existed to promote the rights of migrants.  The problem was not the legal framework but its implementation and a real respect of the human rights of migrants.  Advocacy and capacity building were important.  The best way to prevent irregular migration was to open regular channels of migration.  One of the problems was that traditional migration policies had not focused on women and unaccompanied minors, and they had to be mainstreamed into policies by Governments.  On the perception of migrants, governments, civil, civil society and the media had a fundamental role to play in changing the negative perspectives.  

CHRISTIAN SALAZAR, Deputy Director of the Programme Division at the United Nations Children’s Fund, in concluding remarks, said that the dialogue had been an important exchange and urged the Council to ensure the access of migrant children to health and other services, whether accompanied or not.  Mr. Salazar thanked the Council and the Special Rapporteur for keeping this issue on the table.  Migration was one of the most pressing issues of today, affecting large numbers of people.  In the context of the post-2015 development agenda it was important to ensure that the dignity of the human being was protected and preserved when a person decided or was forced to migrate.

VOLKER TURK, Director of the Division of International Protection at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, in concluding remarks, regretted that anti-foreigner rhetoric could be used during elections to score political points.  Concerning the opening up of legal channels that had to include refugees and asylum seekers, in many cases families wanted to be reunited but the legal channels were not available. It was important to address different reasons behind migration, legalizing channels that were important for refugees and asylum seekers.  Concerning protection at sea, Mr. Turk suggested that there were outstanding issues in migration policies in countries of origin, transit and destination, and hoped that the international community could move forward with a concrete action plan.


For use of the information media; not an official record

HRC14/009E