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Protect the human rights of all migrants

Ivan Šimonovic, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights. © OHCHR PhotoMigrants continue to endure multiple forms of discrimination, exploitation and other violations of human rights. The United Nations Human Rights office (OHCHR) calls for their protection and social inclusion in communities where they live.

“Violations of economic, social and cultural rights are daily experiences for countless migrants who are denied access to public health care, adequate housing and essential social security,” said Ivan Šimonovic, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, when he presented a report by OHCHR on the rights of migrants to the UN Economic and Social Council in New York on 22 July.

Šimonovic, the new head of OHCHR’s New York office, said that while migration has been beneficial to some of the estimated 214 million people living outside their countries of origin, for many others, it remained a painful experience. Denial of economic, social and cultural rights was often exacerbated by discriminatory laws, prejudice and xenophobia.

“Migrants are entitled to have their human rights, including their economic, social and cultural rights, respected, protected and fulfilled wherever they are, and regardless of their legal status. Such protection is an indispensable precondition for their social inclusion and integration, which, in turn, enables migrants to lead economically productive and culturally and socially enriching lives,” he said.

OHCHR has made protecting the human rights of all migrants a priority of its work. Through its leadership of the inter-agency Global Migration Group (GMG) in the second half of 2010, OHCHR seeks to promote and mainstream a human rights approach to migration within the United Nations system. Established in 2006, the GMG brings together 14 agencies working on migration issues, including UN agencies, the World Bank, and the International Organization for Migration. OHCHR will also lead the GMG interaction with the fourth annual Global Forum on Migration and Development to be held in Mexico, 7 to 11 November.

Read the full speech

28 July 2010