Report on the right to freedom of association of migrants
Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants
To the HRC at its 44th session, June-July 2020
The Special Rapporteur decided to dedicate the report to the 44th session of the Human Rights Council on the right to freedom of association of migrants since the mandate had received information demonstrating increasing hostility towards migrants and civil society organizations that work to protect migrants’ rights.
In many countries, this hostility had resulted in the imposition of new restrictions in law and in practice on freedom of association for migrants and their defenders. Given the interconnected nature of human rights, restrictions on freedom of association of migrants and their defenders further hinder migrants’ enjoyment of other rights. These include their rights to life, to seek basic services such as legal assistance, health care, housing and education, to protection from human traffickers, smugglers and gender-based violence, to information, to seek asylum, to fair working conditions and to the freedoms of expression and of assembly and freedom from discrimination.
The right to freedom of association is essential for migrants to express their needs, protect their right to life and defend their economic, social, cultural and other human rights. Assistance and support from civil society organizations is crucial for migrants, particularly for those in an irregular situation or with vulnerabilities. Given the interconnected nature of human rights, restrictions on migrants’ and their defenders’ freedom of association further hinder migrants’ enjoyment of other rights. Encouraging migrants to organize empowers them to engage with the host communities directly and enables them to have a positive impact in the communities and countries in which they reside.
NGOs and Civil Society Organizations