The mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants was created in 1999 by the Commission on Human Rights, pursuant to resolution 1999/44. Since then, the mandate of the Special Rapporteur has been extended by Commission on Human Rights resolutions 2002/62 and 2005/47 and Human Rights Council resolutions 8/10 and 17/12, each for a period of three years.
With the reform to the UN human rights machinery in 2006, the newly established Human Rights Council was called upon to assume, review and, where necessary, improve and rationalize all mandates, mechanisms, functions and responsibilities of the former Commission on Human Rights. As a result, the Human Rights Council, through resolution 8/10 of 18 June 2008, strengthened the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and further extended it for a period of three years. This mandate was renewed by the Human Rights Council in resolution 17/12 of 10 June 2011.
The mandate of the Special Rapporteur covers all countries, irrespective of whether a State has ratified the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, of 18 December 1990.
The Special Rapporteur does not require the exhaustion of domestic remedies to act. When the facts in question come within the scope of more than one mandate established by the Commission, the Special Rapporteur may decide to approach other thematic mechanisms and country Rapporteurs with a view to sending joint communications or seeking joint missions.
The main functions of the Special Rapporteur are:
(a) To examine ways and means to overcome the obstacles existing to the full and effective protection of the human rights of migrants, recognizing the particular vulnerability of women, children and those undocumented or in an irregular situation;
(b) To request and receive information from all relevant sources, including migrants themselves, on violations of the human rights of migrants and their families;
(c) To formulate appropriate recommendations to prevent and remedy violations of the human rights of migrants, wherever they may occur;
(d) To promote the effective application of relevant international norms and standards on the issue;
(e) To recommend actions and measures applicable at the national, regional and international levels to eliminate violations of the human rights of migrants;
(f) To take into account a gender perspective when requesting and analysing information, and to give special attention to the occurrence of multiple discrimination and violence against migrant women;
(g) To give particular emphasis to recommendations on practical solutions with regard to the implementation of the rights relevant to the mandate, including by identifying best practices and concrete areas and means for international cooperation;
(h) To report regularly to the Council, according to its annual programme of work, and to the General Assembly, at the request of the Council or the Assembly.
In the discharge of these functions:
(a) The Special Rapporteur acts on information submitted to him regarding alleged violations of the human rights of migrants by sending urgent appeals and communications to concerned Governments to clarify and/or bring to their attention these cases. See Communications.
(b) The Special Rapporteur conducts country visits (also called fact-finding missions) upon the invitation of the Government, in order to examine the state of protection of the human rights of migrants in the given country. The Special Rapporteur submits a report of the visit to the Human Rights Council, presenting his findings, conclusions and recommendations. See Country Visits.
(c) The Special Rapporteur participates in conferences, seminars and panels on issues relating to the human rights of migrants as well as issues press releases.
(d) Annually, the Special Rapporteur, reports to the Human Rights Council about the global state of protection of migrants’ human rights, his main concerns and the good practices he has observed. In his report, the Special Rapporteur informs the Council of all the communications he has sent and the replies received from Governments. Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur formulates specific recommendations with a view to enhancing the protection of the human rights of migrants. Upon request of the Human Rights Council the Special Rapporteur may also present reports to the General Assembly. See Annual Reports.
Furthermore, in September 2008, pursuant to Resolution 9/5, the Human Rights Council requested the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of Migrants, other special procedures of the Council and the High Commissioner for Human Rights to pay special attention to cases of arbitrary detention of migrants, particularly of migrant children and adolescents. Likewise, it encouraged the Special Rapporteur to continue to examine ways and means of overcoming obstacles to the full and effective protection of the human rights of migrants, including national and international efforts to combat the trafficking of persons and smuggling of migrants, in order to achieve a better comprehension of the phenomena and to avoid practices that could violate the human rights of migrants.
The Special Rapporteur also reports to the General Assembly at its request.