WARSAW, 18 December 2018 – On the occasion of International Migrants Day, Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), today called for greater action to promote long-term integration efforts while protecting and promoting the human rights of all migrants.
The ODIHR Director highlighted that the specific theme of this year’s day is “Safe Migration”.
“Migrants are often the most vulnerable to human trafficking, ill treatment, discrimination, hate crimes and other forms of human rights abuses,” Gísladóttir said. “Migrants also face specific risks in places of detention or where they are otherwise deprived of liberty, including inhumane and degrading conditions, as well as gender-related risks such as violence against women and girls. Workable, long-term solutions must be found and put in place to ensure their safety from such dangers and to promote and protect their human rights. This should include finding alternatives to detention of migrant children and their families.”
Noting that the issue of migration is often politicized and surrounded by negative stereotypes and racist discourse, she called on participating States to take proactive measures to find human rights-based solutions.
“We’ve seen an increase in requests for ODIHR’s assistance in the area of migration, as more participating States appreciate the need to improve or adapt their policies to new realities and challenges,” the ODIHR Director said. “We have been able to contribute to enhancing efforts across the region, and to working with governments on promoting the human rights of migrants. We have also worked on combatting intolerance and discrimination by working for inclusion and successful integration that benefits both migrants and their new communities.”
Gísladóttir said that, over the past five years, ODIHR activities have provided the opportunity to learn and exchange good practices to over 2,000 officials, experts and representatives from civil society working on migration, and that the Office has also produced related resources that address key issues and offer policy recommendations and guidance. The estimated 135 million migrant residents in the OSCE participating States account for more than half of the global migrant population.
“But further work is still needed, both on our part and on the part of governments, not just to protect migrants, but to ensure their potential plays a role in the strengthening of inclusive, rights-based societies across the OSCE region.”
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