Stand Up for Migrants' Rights Today

Logo International Migrants Day 2016 

On the occasion of International Migrants Day, 18 December, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is featuring the following stories to highlight the Office’s work to safeguard and promote the human rights of migrants and refugees. More people than ever are on the move and the challenges raised by large-scale movements of refugees and migrants fuel our call for a renewed global commitment to uphold and protect the human rights, safety and dignity of migrants and refugees.

Protecting Migrants in Transit
Throughout 2016 the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights dispatched a series of monitoring missions to various border locations in Europe, including Greece, Italy, Bulgaria and France to assess the human rights challenges and protection gaps faced by migrants and refugees in transit. The UN Human Rights team met with migrants, State officials, civil society representatives, UN agencies and other stakeholders, reinforcing partnerships with all actors to promote improved global governance to strengthen protections for the human rights of migrants and refugees.

The following stories, videos, report and press release offer a glimpse of the UN Human Rights Office missions to these countries, in addition to a new report on the situation of migrants in transit in Libya.

Human rights situation of migrants in France


 Migrants and French police during the evacuation of the 'Jungle' refugee camp in Calais, France, 26 October 2016. © EPA/THIBAULT VANDERMERSCH Spotlight on human rights of migrants in wake of Calais camp eviction
Human rights of migrants in transit along France’s northern coast must be a priority, says UN Human Rights Office.


Migrants: Calais camp eviction

UN Human Rights Office missions to Italy, Greece and Bulgaria

Security at forefront as Italian island receives migrants
The arrival of migrants at the “hotspot” on the Italian island of Lampedusa highlights the need to protect the human rights of often traumatised people.

 View through the metal gate at the Pozzallo hotspot where migrants rescued at sea are brought after disembarking at the port. Photos were not allowed in the centre itself. © OHCHR / Liz Throssell Italy’s migrant hotspot centres raise legal questions
Migrants rescued at sea are often taken to “hotspot” registration centres but detaining them at these centres has provoked concerns in Italy, a UN Human Rights Office monitoring team finds.

 Migrants wait to board buses to be taken to the Lampedusa hotspot. © OHCHR / Liz Throssell Migrants cling to dreams as they await uncertain future
“I ask that God helps me to go to school.” UN Human Rights Office monitoring mission hears stories of despair and hope from migrants in Italy waiting to see what will happen to them.

Drawing by one of the children at the House of Cultures © OHCHR / Liz Throssell Child migrants’ future in Italy “must not depend on luck”
As Italy sees growing numbers of unaccompanied child migrants arrive on its shores, it is crucial that the country harmonises and monitors the way they are cared for, a team from the UN Human Rights Office says.

 A boy joins a protest at the border between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) at a refugee camp in Idomeni, Greece, April 2016. Credit: © EPA/KOSTAS TSIRONIS Migrant children face grim human rights conditions in Greece
During a recent monitoring mission on the situation of migrants and refugees in Greece, the UN Human Rights Office met with migrant children and found serious violations to their human rights.

 A woman hangs her laundry over a fence in a refugee camp in Bulgaria.  © Credit EPA/Vassil Donev Imprisoned, detained and insecure: the human rights of migrants in Bulgaria come under scrutiny
UN Human Rights officials have expressed concern over the detention of migrants who irregularly cross into Bulgaria. Under current legislation, those caught face criminal prosecution and even jail.

Human rights situation of migrants in Libya

A new UN report has found the breakdown in the Libyan justice system has led to a state of impunity in which migrants are subjected to serious human rights violations and abuses by detention centre officials and the armed groups and traffickers that control the migration flow through Libya.


 Migrants in dormitory in detention center in Zawiya, Libya, 12 May 2014 © EPA/SABRI ELMHEDWI Detention of migrants in Libya is a human rights crisis
Thousands of migrants in Libya are being detained under inhumane conditions, beaten and tortured, according to a new UN report.


Ill treatment of migrants in Libya



UN report urges end to inhuman detention of migrants in Libya


Detained and dehumanised: human rights abuses against migrants in Libya
A | E (PDF)


Children and families should never be in immigration detention – UN experts

TOGETHER campaign

TOGETHER is a global UN campaign that aims to change negative perceptions and attitudes towards refugees and migrants, and to strengthen the social contract between host countries and communities, and refugees and migrants. For more information on the TOGETHER campaign: