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High-level dialogue on responding to large movements of refugees and migrants: human rights protection, labour market options and a Global Compact for Migration, 20 July 2016

Large-scale ‘mixed’ movements of refugees and other migrants continue to take place in all regions of the world, with an increasing number of women, men and children embarking on irregular and unprotected journeys in search of safety and dignity, often to face abuse and exploitation in transit and at destination.

Many people on the move today fall outside established protection categories but are nonetheless in need of specific human rights protection interventions. This vulnerability arises whether due to inherent characteristics (children, women at risk, persons with disabilities or older persons) and/or as a result of the conditions people are leaving behind in their countries of origin, the circumstances in which they are compelled to move, or because of the virtue of the conditions in which they are received. Yet, knowledge of the standards of human rights protection to which migrants moving in large numbers are entitled, and in particular how States can operationalize these standards in practice, has been revealed as a significant gap.

The UN Secretary-General, in his report In Safety and Dignity: Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants, called for new global commitments to address large movements of refugees and migrants, and to ensure the protection, dignity and human rights of all people in accordance with legal obligations in international human rights law and related standards.

In recognition of this pressing issue, and in preparation for the General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants on 19 September 2016, OHCHR and the Platform for International Cooperation for Undocumented Migrants (PICUM), in collaboration with the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants and with the support of the Government of Switzerland, organized a high-level dialogue on responding to large movements of refugees and migrants with a focus on human rights protection, labour market options and a Global Compact for Migration.

Participants were also informed about a set of Principles and practical guidance on the human rights protection of migrants in vulnerable situations, led by the Global Migration Group (GMG) Working Group on Human Rights and Gender Equality currently chaired by OHCHR.

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