Reports and Publications

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) produces a range of reports and publications on topics related to the human rights of migrants, which provide information and policy guidance to Governments, national institutions, civil society, the general public and the media. The goal of these OHCHR reports and publications is to increase knowledge and awareness about the human rights of migrants, and to promote greater respect, protection and fulfilment of migrants’ human rights.

OHCHR Publications

Principles and Guidelines, supported by practical guidance, on the human rights protection of migrants in vulnerable situations, 2018

Arabic (PDF) | English

Published by the Global Migration Group (GMG) Working Group on Human Rights and Gender. Around the world, the human rights of millions of migrants are insufficiently protected or at risk of abuse. While migration can be a positive and empowering experience for many, it is clear that movement that places people in precarious situations is a serious human rights concern. Where migrants fall outside the specific legal category of “refugee”, it may be especially important to ensure that their human rights are respected, protected and fulfilled. These principles and guidelines focus on the human rights situation of those migrants who may not qualify as refugees, yet who are in vulnerable situations and thus in need of the protection of the international human rights framework either because of the situations they left behind, the circumstances in which they travel or the conditions they face on arrival, or because of personal characteristics such as their age, gender identity, disability or health status.

In Search of Dignity: Report on the human rights of migrants at Europe's borders, 2018

English (PDF) | English (Summary version)

During 2016, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights dispatched monitoring missions to transit and border sites in Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and France in order to examine and identify the human rights challenges and protection gaps faced by migrants in these locations. This report summarises the common concerns the monitoring teams identified throughout the countries visited, as well as the recommendations provided to the countries visited and to the European Union to better protect the human rights of migrants.  

Situation of Migrants in Transit, 2016 

English | FrenchSpanish (PDF)

Around the world, migrants in transit are in a precarious — even perilous — human rights situation. This report seeks to analyse the human rights situation of migrants in transit, highlighting human rights concerns as well as the relevant normative framework. It contains recommendations aimed at addressing critical protection gaps for migrants in transit.

Migration, Human Rights and Governance: Handbook for Parliamentarians, 2015

English | French | Spanish (PDF)

Published jointly with the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the International Labour Organization (ILO). Parliamentarians have a critical role to play to ensure a meaningful, balanced and informed response to migration. This handbook provides a step-by-step overview of the conditions, issues, tools and policy responses regarding international migration that parliamentarians need to understand to effectively carry out their responsibilities for ensuring the protection of the rights of migrants and the governance of international migration under the rule of law.

Behind Closed Doors: Protecting and Promoting the Human Rights of Migrant Domestic Workers in an Irregular Situation, 2015

English (PDF)

Around the world more than 50 million people, many of them women, are domestic workers. Of these, a significant number are migrants, including migrants who are in an irregular situation. This publication sheds light on the often hidden experience of irregular migrant domestic workers, and challenges Governments to take appropriate protective measures. It emphasizes that migrant domestic workers, regardless of whether they are male or female, children or adults, in a regular or irregular situation, are entitled to all fundamental human rights, without discrimination of any kind.

Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights at International Borders, 2014

Arabic | English | French | Spanish (PDF)

International borders are not zones of exclusion or exception for human rights obligations. States are entitled to exercise jurisdiction at their international borders, but they must do so in light of their human rights obligations. This means that the human rights of all persons at international borders must be respected in the pursuit of border control, law enforcement and other State objectives, regardless of which authorities perform border governance measures and where such measures take place. This report is the result of wide-ranging expert consultations to draw up normative guidelines on the governance of international borders. They are intended to inform the work of States, international agencies and other stakeholders with an interest in human rights-based border governance.


The Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights of migrants in an irregular situation, 2014 

English (PDF)

Many migrants, particularly those who are in an irregular situation, tend to live and work in the shadows, afraid to complain, denied rights and freedoms that we take for granted, and disproportionately vulnerable to discrimination and marginalization. Through a specific focus on economic, social and cultural rights, this publication seeks to challenge common assumptions about the entitlement of migrants in an irregular situation to such fundamental human rights as the right to health, to education, to an adequate standard of living, to social security, and to just and favourable conditions of work.

Improving human rights-based governance of international migration, 2014

English | French | Spanish (PDF)

In order to promote a strong focus on the human rights of migrants in the lead-up to the 2013 High-Level Dialogue and beyond, the Secretary General tasked the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), in consultation with the Global Migration Group (GMG) and other UN System partners, to prepare a concise analytical report on migration and human rights. This report has been prepared in accordance with that mandate.

International Migration, Health and Human Rights, 2013

English l French l Spanish (PDF)

Published jointly with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health has long been established in international human rights law. So, too, have the principles of equality and non-discrimination. It is therefore critical for national health systems and policies to address migrants’ right to health, regardless of the legal status of the migrant. Doing so requires active collaboration across the different sectors and close cooperation between governments and the many non-state actors involved in the migration process. This publication explores the multifaceted health and human rights challenges that migrants face and reports on recent developments in this area.

Other Reports and Studies

  • Amicus brief filed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in the case of Raoufi and others v Greece before the European Court of Human Rights, 2016  English
  • Amicus brief filed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in the case of N.D. and N.T. v Spain before the European Court of Human Rights, 2015  English 
  • Human Rights Indicators for Migrants and their Families: KNOMAD Working Paper 5, 2015  English | Spanish | French
  • Amicus brief filed on behalf of OHCHR in the case of Hirsi Jamaa and others v. Italy before the European Court of Human Rights, 2011 English (Word)
  • Pamphlet: Public perceptions, migration and human rights, 2011  English 
  • OHCHR Discussion Paper: Le droit a l’education des enfants migrants, 2007  French
  • OHCHR Discussion Paper: Expulsions of aliens in international human rights law, 2006  English
  • OHCHR Discussion Paper: Administrative detention of migrants, 2005  English
  • OHCHR Discussion Paper: Family reunification, 2005  English
  • OHCHR fact sheet 24: The International Convention on Migrant Workers and its Committee (Rev.1), 2005
    Arabic l Chinese | English | French | Spanish

Human Rights Council Reports*

*For reports by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, please visit the Special Rapporteur’s webpage,


Symbol number





Addressing human rights protection gaps in the context of migration and displacement of persons across international borders resulting from the adverse effects of climate change and supporting the adaptation and mitigation plans of developing countries to bridge the protection gaps

37A/HRC/37/34Principles and practical guidance on the protection of the human rights of migrants in vulnerable situations

A | C | E | F | R | S




A | C | E | F | R | S



The Slow onset effects of climate change and human rights protection for cross-border migrants




Summary of the panel discussion on human rights, climate change, migrants and persons displaced across international borders

A | C | E | F | R | S



Compendium of principles, good practices and policies on safe, orderly and regular migration in line with international human rights law 





Principles and practical guidance on the protection of the human rights of migrants in vulnerable situations within large and/or mixed movements, on the basis of existing legal norms


A | C | E | F | R | S



Promotion and protection of the human rights of migrants in the context of large movements


A | C | E | F | R | S



Migrants in transit


A | C | E | F | R | S



The situation of migrants and asylum-seekers fleeing recent events in North Africa 

E | S | A | C



Human rights of migrant children


A | C | E | F | R | S

General Assembly Reports*

*For reports by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, please visit the Special Rapporteur’s webpage.  


Symbol number





Report of the Secretary General on the Protection of Migrants

A | C | E | F | R | S



Report of the Secretary General on the Protection of Migrants

A | C | E | F | R | S



Promotion and protection of the human rights of migrant children and adolescents

A | C | E | F | R | S



How a human rights perspective could enhance the design and implementation of international migration and development policies

A | C | E | F | R | S



Report of the High Commissioner to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on the Obligations of States in regard to economic, social and cultural rights of all migrants

A | C | E | F | R | S