GENEVA (22 June 2012) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, reminded States that “liberty is the rule, detention is the exception” on the issue of the detention of migrants in an irregular situation, by providing an overview of the current international and regional human rights legal framework in his annual report* to the UN Human Rights Council.
“The issue of migration detention is of paramount concern, given the growing tendency of states to detain migrants in an irregular situation, and in light of the wide range of human rights issues that such detention potentially has on those persons,’’ Mr. Crépeau said.
“Immigration detention should never be mandatory or automatic. It should be a measure of last resort, only permissible for the shortest period of time and when no less restrictive measure is available,” he stressed. “Governments have an obligation to establish a presumption in favour of liberty in domestic law, and should consider progressively abolishing the administrative detention of migrants.”
“Any detention of migrants must be prescribed by law and must be necessary, reasonable and proportional to the objectives to be achieved,” said the Special Rapporteur, drawing special attention to the fact that the right to liberty and security of person, the protection against arbitrary detention, and all other human rights guarantees are applicable to all detained persons, regardless of their migration status.
The UN Expert also focused on the importance of providing special protection for certain categories of migrants in detention and specific measures that should be taken for their protection.
In his report, Mr. Crepeau shares a range of successful non-custodial alternatives to detention, which are also considerably less expensive that detention measures. However, he warned, the success of those alternatives depends on the adoption of a human rights approach.
“All persons subject to non-custodial measures should receive clear and concise information about their rights and duties in relation to the measures in place, on the consequences of non-compliance, and treated with dignity, humanity and respect for their human rights,” underscored the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants.
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 and is scientific director of the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism. Learn more, log on to:
(*) The full report: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session20/A-HRC-20-24_en.pdf
The Special Rapporteur also presented a country mission report on Albania: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session20/A-HRC-20-24-Add1_en.pdf
Read 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
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