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Regional Thematic Study: Management of the External Borders of the EU and its Impact on the Human Rights of Migrants

24 April 2013
The Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants
To the Human Rights Council at its 23rd session, 2013


Given the importance of migratory movements within and around the European Mediterranean region, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants decided to focus the country visits of 2012 on the examination, from a global perspective, of the complex issues of border control and management within the EU, using real case examples from the national level.


The Special Rapporteur held consultations with key EU institutions responsible for protecting and promoting the rights of migrants in Brussels, including the Directorate-General Home Affairs and the Directorate-General for Justice of the European Commission, and other relevant regional entities including the European Parliament, the European Council, the Fundamental Rights Agency, FRONTEX, and relevant civil society actors.

The Special Rapporteur then carried out four country visits to key countries on both sides of the EU southern Mediterranean border: Tunisia, Turkey, Italy and Greece.

After the presentation of the report to the 23rd session of the Human Rights Council, the Special Rapporteur also hosted a Side Event on the Study on 29 May 2013. The event aimed to convene a constructive dialogue with Member States, the EU, international organizations, civil society organizations and other stakeholders on how to implement the recommendations in the report, by defining concrete actions for follow up.

In addition to the presentation of the report to the Human Rights Council at its 23rd session, the Special Rapporteur also presented the report directly to the relevant EU institutions in Brussels on 30 and 31 May 2013. The report was presented to the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee of the European Parliament, and the Human Rights Working Group (COHOM) of the European Council, which was attended by delegates of the Permanent Representatives of Member States in Brussels covering justice and home affairs. A bilateral meeting was also held with Commissioner Malmstrom, Director General of DG Home of the European Commission. 

The Special Rapporteur also held a public event at the European Parliament, co-organised with PICUM, and held another high level High-levelclosed door meeting organized by the Centre for European Policy Studies and the Open Society Foundation. 


The study highlighted ongoing challenges in the development and implementation of policies, and identified some good practices. In this study, the Special Rapporteur also addressed the implications of EU policies and practices related to border control and management in countries of transit of migrants en route to EU countries. The Special Rapporteur provided a set of recommendations to individual EU agencies, as well as States visited to overcoming such challenges individually, bilaterally and regionally and improve the human rights of migrants.

Additional relevant documents

1. Concept Note
2. Press release - mission to EU institutions in Brussels (7 - 9 May 2012)
3. End of mission statement to Tunisia (3 - 8 June 2012)
4. End of mission statement to Turkey (25 - 30 June 2012)
5. End of mission statement to Italy (30 September - 8 October 2012)
6. End of mission statement to Greece (25 November - 3 December 2012)
7. Final Press Release - Human Rights Council May 2013