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Communications/Submitting information to the Special Rapporteur

At its fifty-fifth session, the Commission on Human Rights adopted resolution 1999/44, by which it decided to appoint, for a three-year period, a Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants to examine ways and means to overcome the obstacles existing to the full and effective protection of the human rights of this vulnerable group, including obstacles and difficulties for the return of migrants who are undocumented or in an irregular situation.

In the same resolution, the Commission invited the Special Rapporteur, in the performance of his/her functions, “to request, receive and exchange information on violations of the human rights of migrants, wherever they may occur, from Governments, treaty bodies, specialized agencies, Special Rapporteurs for various human rights questions and from intergovernmental organizations, other competent organizations of the United Nations system and non-governmental organizations, including migrants' organizations, and to respond effectively to such information.”

In light of his mandate, the Special Rapporteur has continued to bring to the attention of Governments information regarding the human rights of migrants. A considerable number of communications have been sent jointly with other thematic special procedures of the Commission.

Reports on Communications

A summary of communications and the replies received from the concerned State are included in the Special Rapporteur's annual Communications report to the Human Rights Council. Please note that, as a general rule, both urgent appeals and letters of allegation remain confidential until published.

The communications received by the Special Rapporteur can be divided into two main categories:

  • information regarding individual cases of alleged violations of the human rights of migrants;
  • information regarding general situations concerning the human rights of migrants in a specific country.

Both types of information are the subject of communications with Governments. Communications sent by the Special Rapporteur can involve requests for information, cooperation (allegation letters) and/or urgent action (urgent appeals) with a view to clarifying the allegations brought to his attention, as well as to preventing or, as necessary, investigating alleged violations of the human rights of migrants.

Letters of Allegation

The Special Rapporteur shall assess the conformity of the letters of allegations with reference to the following criteria:

(a) The communication should not be manifestly unfounded or politically motivated

(b) The communication should contain a factual description of the alleged violations of human rights

(c) The language in the communication should not be abusive

(d) The communication should be submitted by a person or a group of persons claiming to be victim of violations or by any person or group of persons, including non-governmental organizations, acting in good faith in accordance with principles of human rights, and free from politically motivated stands or contrary to, the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, and claiming to have direct or reliable knowledge of those violations substantiated by clear information;

(e) The communication should not be exclusively based on reports disseminated by mass media.

Urgent Appeals

The Special Rapporteur may resort to urgent appeals in cases where the alleged violations are time-sensitive in terms of envolving loss of life, life-threatening situations or either imminent or ongoing damage of a very grave nature to victims that cannot be addressed in a timely manner by letters of allegations.

Submitting information to the Special Rapporteur

The communications sent by the Special Rapporteur rely, to an important extent, on the information provided. It is therefore very important that this information be the most accurate, updated and specific as possible.

This information should include a detailed description of the circumstances of the alleged violation. It should be brief and precise (1-2 pages may suffice), and may be accompanied by annexes providing written or graphic evidence of the case.

The quality and level of information provided is crucial in ensuring the Special Rapporteur’s prompt intervention in a given case, as incomplete information will require further investigation and may delay consideration of the case.

Any additional information about the case should be made available to the Special Rapporteur, as it may provide grounds for the Special Rapporteur’s intervention or to follow-up on a previous communication sent to the Government concerned.

Required information

When and Where. Date, time and precise location of the incident (country, region, municipality, area).

Victim(s). Name, number and full details on the location of the individual(s), people or community that has been or at risk as result of alleged fact.

What happened. Detailed circumstances of the alleged violation. If an initial event leads to others, please describe them chronologically. In case of general measures such as national legislation or policies, indicate their stage of development and how migrants peoples have or will be affected by them.

Perpetrator(s). Information on who allegedly committed the violation. If known, an explanation of the reasons why they are suspected of being responsible and whether they have any relation with national authorities.

Action taken by national authorities: Has the matter been reported to the national administrative or judicial authorities? If applicable, what actions have been taken by the relevant authorities to remedy the situation?

Action taken before international bodies: Has any legal action been initiated before international or regional human rights mechanisms? What is the state of development of these actions?

Source: Name and full address of the organization or individual(s) submitting the information. The details about the person or the organization submitting the information is essential in case that the Rapporteur would need clarification or further information on the case. This information is always kept confidential.

Contact information

Information addressed to the Special Rapporteur should be sent by mail, fax or e-mail to:

Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations

8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland

Fax: (+41 22) 917 90 06

E-mail: urgent-action@ohchr.org or migrant@ohchr.org (please include in the subject box: Special Rapporteur HR of Migrants)

Questionnaire for allegations of violations of migrants' human rights

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