United Nations: Abuses of migrants were taking place every day and in every region of the world, recalled Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. She was encouraged by the place of migrants within the post-2015 agenda, which also presented an opportunity to seek out innovative ways of measuring and monitoring the situation of migrants. Migrants were both contributors and subjects of development and Ms. Pillay called on all States to stop the arbitrary detention of migrants and to punish those who perpetrated abuse against them.
With more than 215 million migrants around the world, the top United Nations human rights official today reminded Governments that migration is fundamentally about people, and called for the creation of human rights-based policies to more effectively address the issue.
In 2013, Speaking to a meeting of experts on migrations organized by the UN human rights office (OHCHR) in Geneva, Navi Pillay said that migration is fundamentally a human process and not merely an anonymous ‘mega-trend,’ nor an economic and political phenomenon.
“It is my belief that as human mobility becomes more complex, the journeys taken by many migrants more perilous, and the situation in which they live and work more precarious, the need to base policy responses to migration on human rights standards becomes ever more important,” Ms. Pillay said.
She urged a lesser focus on statistics – such as the flows and waves of migration of migration – and more on the individual human rights and situations of migrants themselves.
Ms. Pillay noted that if all migrants came together to form a country, it would be the fifth most populous on the planet, yet they remain “largely invisible,” defined only in terms of what they can deliver for others, and not as individuals entitled to the full range of human rights.
“At its heart, migration is fundamentally about human beings,” she said.
Offering examples of human rights-based programming on migration, she said States must enact legislation and put in place a full range of facilities to ensure migrant have access to health care.
Migrant women who fear domestic violence would be able to have access to justice without fear of deportation, and policy-makers would be obliged to consult migrants about decisions that directly affect them, such as plans on the provision of public housing or national strategies to combat racism and xenophobia.