53rd Human Rights Council Report

Report on Migration


HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL (June to July 2023) – HRC composition

June 26rd, 2023: Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants

All sources used to draft the report can be found in the annex, the report was drafted by Leilani Heinz on June 29th, 2023.

Special Rapporteur (SR) Felipe Gonzalez Morales' presented his final report on "How to expand and diversify regularization mechanisms and programmes to enhance the protection of the human rights of migrants" after serving as SR on the human rights of migrants for 6 years. Primarily, he took a moment to reflect on the end of his term as SR, mentioning his commitment to all stages of development of the Global Compact for a Safe, Regular and Orderly Migration (GCM) and his focus on the reintegration and return of migrants.

In his statement the SR presented the highlights of his final report. He showcased the thematic study conducted regarding the regularization of migrants and the specific reports on Bangladesh, Belarus and Poland. He continued by underlining the importance of multilateral initiatives such as the "2016 New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants and the Global Compact for Migration" and which is followed by the GCM.

The core of his final report focused on regularizing migration with temporary and permanent mechanisms to ensure that migration brings positive and empowering experiences to those who follow that path. The SR laid out the issue at the core of his report, the disproportionate abuse, discrimination and exploitation that undocumented migrants face. He clarified the definition of irregular migration showing how it poses problems for access to basic needs such as health care, education or housing. Moreover, the lack of documentation means that migrants cannot report the abuses they face out of fear of being deported. Regularization is presented as the solution to these issues.

Mr. Morales during the his intervention states that regularization should be "people-centered; child-sensitive; gender-responsive; and trauma-informed; and must be accompanied by policies to oppose discrimination and xenophobia"

To put this solution into place the SR sets out a set of recommendations:

  • Firstly, a stronger emphasis on law is needed. Migrants should be protected regardless of their documentation as is stated by the Human Rights, irregular migrants should no longer be criminalized.

  • Nonetheless, it is essential to promote access to permanent residence and citizenship by creating clear administrative pathways. These solutions should also be created in collaboration with civil society.

  • Furthermore, on a deeper level, the root causes of migration need to be addressed by States and their governments.

Re-centering on the official visits that the SR conducted, he commented in his report on the efforts made by the Polish government by taking in many refugees due to the Russo-Ukrainian war. Yet the SR underlined the fact that this type of treatment from Poland is not valid for third world countries, thus the country must make efforts to focus on protection and assistance of migrants without discrimination. In addition, he condemned the use of "pushback practices" by Belarus and Poland due the the conflict they had at the border in 2021. He especially emphasized the use of violence and the trivialization of migrants and their lives. He discussed the immediate need for dialogue and cooperation between Belarus, Poland and the European Union (EU) in order to better the current situation.

When presenting the outcomes of his other official visit to Bangladesh the SR focused on the unfair and unethical recruitment practices related to migrant workers in the region which are at high risk for trafficking and exploitation. There is a persistent lack of investigation, in addition to the systems of abuse that remain in place. Nevertheless, Mr. Morales commended Bangladesh for receiving many Rohingyas, although reminding the country that due to the lack of official status the Rohyngas remain vulnerable to abuse which could be resolved with stronger cooperation in the region.

The first States to make a statement regarding the final report were the ones concerned by the study. In its statement Bangladesh put forward its participation and commitment to the GCM and other policies with the goal of migration improvement, reinforcing its commitment to helping the Rohyngas and improving its domestic policies for migrant workers. Belarus responded with accusations directed towards the European Union (EU), accusing it of discrimination towards Belarus. Still, the country reiterated its commitment to strong security measures, cooperation and avoiding casualties. Poland also commented on Belarus' responsibility for the illegal migration while again reinforcing its commitment to improving migration as well.

As the other States made their statements, Portugal, Luxemburg, Romania, and Greece, aligned themselves with the EU. Cameroon and Türkiye also aligned themselves with the International Muslim Organization (IMO) statement made by Pakistan. Most other States agreed with each other, emphasizing the importance of stronger collaboration for example through the GCM, the key role of regularization in improving the situation for migrants, and the importance of international law for the respect of Human Rights and maintaining safety and order for migrants. Many States also joined each other in acknowledging and mourning the recent accident in Greece where many lives were lost. Additionally, many countries took the opportunity to reiterate their own commitments to the improvement of the migration process and domestic policies that are being implemented towards the bettering of migration conditions. Some disputes were mentioned, such as between The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Colombia regarding migration between both countries. Some States such the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Greece reminded the council of the role of criminal gangs, however they were a minority.

The Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) that spoke mostly focused on the scope of application of their own specialities, whether it be on access to abortion as stated by Humanists International or the effect of migration on children as mentioned by United Nations Children Fund. Some NGOs also focused on specific regions such as Latin America as Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS) Asociación Civil mentioned, Belarus as Federation for Women and Family Planning mentioned, or the United States as Advocates for Human Rights.

In response to the statements made by States and NGOs, including questions posed by several States at the end of their statements, the SR responded and clarified a few points. He pointed out that mourning the lives lost in Greece is apolitical, we must remember that in the end we are discussing individuals and their lives. In addition, attention should be given to the situation children face, they must prioritized. Moreover, an independent mechanism for the migrants who disappear is strongly needed, in combination with an increase in information sharing. His final remarks reinforced the idea that regularization is the key to help ensure Human Rights, integration and other issues migrants are faced with. Moreover, the migrants should be involved in the creation of such policies. In general, the debate and discussion about migration and solutions to make the process secure should continue and be encouraged.

Author: Leilani Heinz

Uploaded: June 15 2023 (Originally on CD4Peace Archive Site)


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