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“Can’t ignore the rights of migrants” – UN expert tells Global Forum on Migration and Development

GENEVA / PORT LOUIS (22 November 2012) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau regrets that migrants’ rights are not yet a central pillar of the agenda of the Global Forum on Migration and Development, but was pleased with the inclusion of migrants’ rights in many discussions at the Forum. The Forum is the largest state-led global forum dealing with migration and development and its 6th annual edition was held in Mauritius on 21-22 November.

“Migration is certainly a complex phenomenon that must be considered from a wide range of perspectives, but the rights of the persons most affected by migration, the migrants themselves, need to be an integral part of these discussions,” Mr. Crépeau said.

The Global Forum on Migration and Development is a state-led, non-binding consultative process open to observers. It was created by States after the High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development in 2006 and is formally outside the UN structure.

“As the main forum where States meet annually to discuss migration related issues, the Global Forum presents an important opportunity to discuss the human rights of migrants at the global level,” the Special Rapporteur said.

“However, the event is not yet fulfilling its potential to become a fully inclusive forum which anchors the human rights dimension of migration”, the Special Rapporteur observed, stressing the limited ability of civil society organisations to participate effectively.

During this year’s forum, Mr. Crépeau announced that his next report to the UN General Assembly will focus on the global governance processes on migration, analysing how human rights are effectively included in such processes. “This study will contain an assessment of the evolution of the human rights considerations at of the Global Forum which, although a non-binding forum, is currently the leading global forum in which States discuss global migration management,” he said.

The UN expert hopes that his study will complement the two assessments that have already been done on the Global Forum, one by States themselves, and one by civil society, and will also be constructive in the lead up to the second High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development, which will be held by the UN General Assembly in October 2013.

“I remain concerned about the lack of effective human rights mainstreaming in the current debate on the global governance on migration to date,” Mr. Crépeau warned. “I hope the High Level Dialogue will be seized as an opportunity to ensure that human rights are considered a core element of international discussions on migration at the highest level.”

The Special Rapporteur’s report will be presented to the UN General Assembly in October 2013.

François Crépeau (Canada) was appointed Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants in June 2011 by the UN Human Rights Council, for an initial period of three years. As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any government or organization and serves in his individual capacity. Mr. Crépeau is also Full Professor at the Faculty of Law of McGill University, in Montréal, where he holds the Hans and Tamar Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law. Learn more, log on to: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/migration/rapporteur/index.htm

Check the Special Rapporteur’s address to the UN General Assembly (25 October 2012): http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=12714&LangID=E

The International Convention for the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/cmw.htm

For more information and media requests, please contact: Christel Mobech (+41 79 752 04 83 / cmobech@ohchr.org) or write to migrant@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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