Events and activities
OHCHR and migration
On the occasion of the first International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) on the implementation of all aspects of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), Member States, UN agencies, civil society and other stakeholders met to encourage better understanding of human rights-based approaches to migration governance and to facilitate dialogue and the sharing of promising practices of how States and stakeholder partners are implementing laws, policies and practices that fulfil the vision and objectives of the GCM by prioritizing the protection of human rights.
The intersessional panel was requested by the Human Rights Council. The discussion elaborated on situations of vulnerability in the context of migration, gave prominence to promising practices that prevent, identify and address situations of vulnerability, and further explored actions that might be taken by the international community and the Human Rights Council to uphold migrant’s human rights.
Regional multi-stakeholder meeting on human rights, migration and climate change in the Sahel, 7 December 2021
OHCHR hosted a virtual regional multi-stakeholder meeting to discuss human rights, migration, and climate change in the Sahel. The meeting featured more than 50 participants, representing civil society organizations, human rights defenders, indigenous peoples, national human rights institutions, and UN entities, as well as representatives from OHCHR’s West Africa Regional Office, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger, and Nigeria country presences, and the Migration Unit and environment and climate change team.
Launch of Human Rights at International Borders: A Trainer’s Guide, 25 October 2021
OHCHR, together with the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and co-sponsors Switzerland, Morocco, Mexico, Denmark and Argentina, launched Human Rights at International Borders: A Trainer’s Guide. Opened by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Under-Secretary General for Counter-Terrorism and joined by over 200 participants, the event introduced the capacity building materials and emphasised the importance of human rights-based and gender-responsive border governance.
On 27 July 2021 OHCHR hosted a regional multi-stakeholder workshop on human rights at international borders in North Africa and the Sahel. The meeting brought together more than 40 participants from civil society, NHRIs, and academia as well as representatives from OHCHR’s Middle East and North Africa and West Africa Regional Offices as well as the Country Offices in Niger and Mauritania. Participants discussed aspects of human rights at international borders including in relation to arrivals, immigration detention, and returns.
To challenge harmful narratives on migration, UN Human Rights launched #StandUp4Migrants, urgently calling for a new narrative, one that paints a more hopeful picture of the future we share. A narrative that creates a brighter future for migrants and communities, puts human rights at the centre, and evokes solidarity, not division.
The intersessional seminar was requested by the Human Rights Council and aimed to follow up on the implementation of the Plan of Action for Advancing Prevention, Protection and Solutions for Internally Displaced Persons 2018–2020 to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.
The UN Secretary General recognised that fear is the “best-selling brand in the world today… It gets ratings. It wins votes. It generates clicks”. As over $600 billion are spent on advertising globally every year, participants from the media, business and advertising sectors joined with OHCHR to discuss how advertisers and business can tackle the ‘business model of hate’ through a more conscious approach to advertising.
In light of the increasing work being carried out to confront hate in our societies and to address toxic narratives on migration, the UN Human Rights Office hosted a roundtable discussion with a number of actors to learn from each other’s challenges and successes, to identify innovate ways to reframe narratives and to find ways to better collaborate and support each other.
Side event on Migration: building a new vision of governance based on human rights and solidarity, 16 September 2019
During the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council, Member States, UN agencies, civil society and other stakeholders discussed how to reframe the narrative on migrants and build a new vision of migration governance based on human rights and solidarity.
Stand-Up for Migrants Comedy Event, 20 December 2018
OHCHR, together with the City of Geneva, the Federal Department for Foreign Affairs of Switzerland and Amnesty International hosted Stand-Up For Migrants, a comedy event to create a space for a broad audience to come together in shared creativity, discussion and laughter in order to celebrate migrants and the communities that welcome them, to build a narrative on migration which is based on our shared values and common humanity. The event featured an episode of the award-winning podcast The Guilty Feminist, and comedians Thomas Wiesel, Deborah Frances-White, Charles Nouveau, Evelyn Mok, Bruno Peki, Noman Hosni and Hari Kondabolu.
In recent years, the topic of return has become increasingly prominent in migration governance discussions. Return has been promoted as the “preferred option” and an essential aspect of a “well-managed migration policy”, largely because of its presumed, though largely unproven, deterrent effect on irregular migration, and other assumptions such as the links between returns and well-functioning asylum systems. Globally, the number of people subject to returns has been increasing, and States are prioritising return over other available policy options such as regularisation or expanded regular migration pathways. In the view of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), current return practices lead to a number of serious human rights concerns. With this expert meeting, OHCHR seeks to better understand the human rights consequences, State obligations, and possible remedies in the context of current return practices.
During the 2017 United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and Stop Funding Hate hosted a session on Promoting inclusion and countering anti-migrant narratives: Leveraging the role of business. Speakers from Ben and Jerry’s, IKEA, Oxfam and Stop Funding Hate engaged the audience in a discussion around what role business can play in challenging anti-migrant narratives and how they can contribute to promoting inclusion.
Messages of xenophobia targeting migrants are increasingly becoming part of political and public discussions, creating a climate of fear and intolerance. On 11 May 2017, experts and activists came together to talk about what could be done to combat negative narratives and stand up for the rights of migrant.
On 10 March 2017 the Human Rights Council held an enhanced interactive dialogue on “The human rights of migrants in the context of large movements” at its thirty-fourth session, with the participation of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and other members of the Global Migration Group.
OHCHR convened a high-level dialogue together with ILO, IOM and the Platform for Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM) to raise the profile of the human rights of migrants and to explore a range of issues related to the protection and promotion of the human rights of migrants. The event was held in preparation for the UN Summit on Refugees and Migrants, which took place in September 2016 at the UN General Assembly and was organized in collaboration with the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants and with the support of the Government of Switzerland and the Global Migration Group.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights organized a one-day expert roundtable on the theme “Changing the public narrative on migration: promoting tolerance and confronting xenophobia against migrants”, to discuss the way that migrants and migration are being framed in the public narrative, and to examine possible collaborative efforts to re-frame the current toxic narrative on this issue.