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Building a future with migrants: UN expert

International Migrants Day

18 December 2023

GENEVA (18 December 2023) – Combatting deep-seated attitudes of prejudice, discrimination, racism and xenophobia is key to ensuring a future for migrants with their human rights fully respected, protected and fulfilled, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of Migrants, Gehad Madi said today. On international Migrants Day, the Special Rapporteur issued the following statement:

“We must empower and recognise the role of migrants in positive interaction, particularly their social, economic and cultural contributions to transit and receiving societies as well as their communities of origin in order to eliminate all forms of discriminatory narratives and hate speech against migrants and their families.

Due to the lack of human rights-based migration governance at the local, national, regional and global levels, many migrants and their families face severe human rights violations in countries of origin, transit and destination, including right to life, liberty and security, freedom from violence and bodily harm, freedom of association, privacy and access to information, adequate housing, health, development, family life, freedom of religion or belief, cultural rights, and education.

We live in a time where migration has played an important role in shaping our reality. Migration is also part of our joint future. It provides solutions to common challenges we face and creates opportunities for development and cooperation. In preparation for the United Nations Summit of the Future taking place in September 2024, I call upon Member States to explicitly guarantee that the human rights of migrants are included when negotiating the action-oriented Pact for the Summit and way forward for the future.

Legal frameworks must be people-centred, human rights-based and gender-responsive to ensure social inclusion of all groups in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This process must include migrants. Efforts should be made to improve the ability, opportunity and dignity of migrants to be fully integrated into societies.

In addition, as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), States and stakeholders should, individually and collectively, reaffirm their commitments and uphold the principles enshrined in the UDHR of equality, non-discrimination, participation and accountability for all, including migrants.”


Gehad Madi was appointed as the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants in October 2023 by the UN Human Rights Council, for an initial period of three years. As a Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any government or organization and serves in his individual capacity. 

The Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN human rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms. Special Procedures mandate-holders are independent human rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. They are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organisation. They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive a salary for their work.

For additional information and media requests please contact Ms. Yiyao Zhang ([email protected]) and Ms. Nouf Al Anezi ([email protected]).

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts, please contact Dharisha Indraguptha ([email protected]).

Follow news related to the UN’s independent human rights experts on Twitter @UN_SPExperts.

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