Human Rights framework

Human rights violations against migrants are often closely linked to discriminatory law and practice, and to deep-seated attitudes of prejudice and xenophobia against them. International human rights instruments and standards provide a broad framework for the protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms of all human beings, including migrants.

The principle of non-discrimination is fundamental in international human rights law and runs across all international human rights instruments inspired by the Universal Declaration, notably the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Today, all UN Member States have ratified at least one of the nine core international human rights treaties, and 80 percent have ratified four or more conventions that guarantee these rights.

The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (CMW) is one of the core UN human rights treaties. It provides standards for domestic policies and law that recognize the specific vulnerabilities of migrants. It promotes humane working and living conditions for migrant workers, and sets out the rights of often neglected family members. The Convention, together with International Labour Organization Convention 97 on Migration for Employment and Convention 143 on migrant workers (Supplementary Provisions), establishes a comprehensive framework for national migration policies and international cooperation.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) helps ensure compliance of migration policies, legislation and measures with international human rights standards, through its support to various human rights mechanisms.

Human rights mechanisms, such as the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants and the Committee on Migrant Workers, have been clear in stating that although countries have a sovereign right to determine conditions of entry and stay in their territories, they also have an obligation to respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of all individuals under their jurisdiction, regardless of their nationality or origin and regardless of their immigration status.


The Convention:

Human Rights Council: