Human Rights Council
Agenda items 2 and 10
Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General
In the present report, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights provides examples of the type of technical assistance and advisory services provided by the Office of the High Commissioner , alone or with other United Nations entities, to promote and protect the rights of migrants. It is based on research undertaken by the Office on national and regional experiences and highlights methodologies, good practices and lessons learned that have been gathered by the Office in the field and at headquarters.
I. Introduction and methodology
The present report is submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 30/21, in which the Council requested the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to prepare a report on the activities undertaken by the Office, other relevant United Nations agencies and, where applicable, regional organizations, to support efforts by States to promote and protect the rights of migrants in their national legislations, policies and programmes. It will serve as a basis for a thematic panel discussion to be held by the Council at its thirty-first session under agenda item 10.
In its resolution 30/21, the Human Rights Council acknowledged the cultural and economic contributions made by migrants to their communities of origin and destination, and the need to identify appropriate means of maximizing development benefits, to respond to the challenges that migration poses to countries of origin, transit and destination, to promote dignified, humane treatment with applicable protections and access to basic services, and to strengthen mechanisms for international cooperation. It recognized that States were responsible for promoting and protecting the human rights of all persons who are in their territory and subject to their jurisdiction, including irregular migrants, in accordance with their international human rights obligations, and the shared responsibilities of countries of origin, transit and destination to promote and protect the human rights of migrants, and avoid approaches that might aggravate their vulnerability, bearing in mind the need to address the special situation and vulnerability of migrant women and girls. It expressed deep concern at the large and growing number of migrants, in particular women and children, including those unaccompanied or separated from their parents, who find themselves in a vulnerable situation when they attempt to cross international borders, and recognized the obligation of States to respect the human rights of those migrants, in accordance with their applicable international human rights obligations.
The present report covers the period from 2010 to 2015, considered a reasonable time frame within which incipient results can be provided. It illustrates the kind of work that OHCHR has undertaken to advance respect for migrants’ rights in response to requests and expressions of interest by Member States. It presents initiatives and strategies that have shown potential for promoting and protecting the rights of migrants, and highlights methodologies, good practices and lessons learned gathered by OHCHR in the field and at headquarters. The report is organized around the relevant results (expected accomplishments) that OHCHR has set for itself in the area of migration, and includes a number of initiatives that OHCHR has taken in cooperation with other United Nations entities and regional organizations.
The integration of human rights norms and standards in migration policy and the adoption of a human rights-based approach at the national, regional and international levels have long been a priority of OHCHR. Before 2013, the protection of human rights in the context of migration was a thematic priority. In 2013, the OHCHR Management Plan for the period 2014-2017 mainstreamed migration across six thematic priorities for OHCHR in order to better integrate work on migration throughout the Office’s activities.
The present report describes a selection of technical cooperation practices developed by OHCHR and other United Nations entities and regional organizations that have proved effective and yielded visible results when supporting State efforts to align national policies, strategies and laws with international human rights norms and principles, recommendations and commitments. To facilitate discussions in the Human Rights Council, these experiences have been organized under the expected accomplishments of OHCHR that are most relevant to technical cooperation and advisory services in the area of migration, taking into account the contributions received from other United Nations entities and regional A/HRC/31/80organizations. This methodology provides a non-exhaustive overview of practices that are representative of the human rights technical cooperation and advisory services provided.
Through their technical cooperation and advisory services, the United Nations and regional organizations seek to assist States to ensure that duty-bearers uphold their human rights obligations. They support States’ efforts to ensure that national legislation, policies, programmes and institutions comply with international human rights standards; to ratify international and regional human rights treaties and review reservations; to establish functioning and compliant national and regional protection systems and accountability mechanisms to monitor, investigate and redress human rights violations; and to build or strengthen mechanisms that enable rights-holders, in particular women and groups subject to discrimination, to claim their rights. At the international level, OHCHR assists States to meet their obligations by supporting their engagement with international human rights mechanisms and bodies, in association with other United Nations entities and, where pertinent, regional organizations.
To prepare the present report, OHCHR gathered information on the experiences, methodologies and learning of OHCHR headquarters and field presences, including regional and country offices, human rights components of United Nations peace missions, and human rights advisers to United Nations country teams, which work closely with host governments. Through the Global Migration Group, the Office also requested contributions from other United Nations entities and regional organizations. Contributions were received from the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women).