UN human rights experts on Wednesday called on states to ground the Global Compact for Migration in their obligations under international law, including the principles of non-refoulement, non-discrimination and the best interests of the child.
The UN experts said the principle of non-refoulement, or the non-return of people to countries where they could face serious human rights violations, including arbitrary deprivation of life, or other irreparable harm, formed an essential protection under international law and applied to all persons at all times, irrespective of migration status.
The UN experts - special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants Felipe González Morales, special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment Nils Melzer and special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism E Tendayi Achiume called on states to explicitly reflect this obligation in the final text of the Global Compact.
“States must put in place mechanisms to ensure individual assessments of migrants’ protection needs, as well as mechanisms for regular entry and stay of those migrants who are unable to return based on the principle of non-refoulement,” they added.
The Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular Migration is the first negotiated agreement between governments, prepared under the auspices of the United Nations, to cover all dimensions of international migration, according to a statement received here from Geneva.
It will be adopted on July 13 after a consultation and negotiation process initiated following the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants of 19 September 2016.
It offers a unique opportunity for states to improve the governance on migration, to address the challenges associated with today’s migration, and to strengthen the contribution of migrants and migration to sustainable development.
“Migration is not a crime, and migrants in irregular situations should not be treated as criminals or deprived of their liberty and security,” said the experts in a joint statement.
“Children must never be detained because of their or their parents’ migration status. It goes against the best interests of the child, is a clear violation of child rights, and causes irreparable harm that can amount to torture,” they added.
The UN experts recalled that, in the New York Declaration, states agreed to review policies that criminalise cross-border movement and that children should not be criminalised based on their migration status.
“At this crucial stage, we urge States to honour the commitments made in the New York Declaration, by fully protecting the human rights of migrants regardless of their status and without discrimination, based on their international obligations.”
“We encourage Member States to include the UN human rights mechanisms, especially the special procedures and treaty bodies, and UN human rights agencies, as a critical component of the implementation, review and follow-up of the Global Compact,” they said.