Human Rights Council. High-level Panel discussion on human rights mainstreaming, 4 March 2014

In the context of the 25th session of the Human Rights Council, the high-level panel focused on "the protection and promotion of the human rights of migrants". The high-level panel discussion took place on 4th March 2014, from 09.00-12.00. The discussion included opening statements by Jan Eliasson, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General (video-message), Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Jean-Marie Ehouzu, Ambassador and Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations Office at Geneva, and Benedetto della Vedova, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Italy. François Crépeau, Special Rapporteur on the human right of migrants, delivered a keynote statement. Participating in the discussion as panellists were: Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization; Laura Thompson, Deputy Director-General of the International Organization for Migration; Volker Turk, Director of the Division of International Protection at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; John Sandage, Director of the Division of Treaty Affairs at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime; and Christian Salazar, Deputy Director of the Programme Division at the United Nations Children’s Fund.



Selected outcomes:

  • Speakers exchanged views, challenges and best practices on mainstreaming the human rights of migrants within the work of the UN System, including in the context of the follow-up to the General Assembly’s High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development held in October 2013 and the post-2015 UN development agenda. Reference was frequently made to the Declaration unanimously adopted by Member States during the High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, which was seen as evidence of the renewed commitment of UN Member States to the protection and promotion of the human rights of all migrants, regardless of their legal status.

  • Speakers strongly condemned acts of discrimination, xenophobia and violence perpetrated against migrants, and recognized the vulnerability of particular groups, including migrants in an irregular situation, women and children. Interventions noted that criminalizing irregular migration often leads to more abuses against migrants.

  • The need for effective international cooperation among countries of origin, transit and destination, as well as local, regional and international organisations to better meet the needs of migrants and respect their rights was underlined by some representatives. Participants also called for the adoption of effective legal frameworks for the protection of migrants’ rights, including through the ratification of relevant international human rights instruments.

  • Speakers expressed general support for the inclusion of migrants and migration into the post-2015 UN development agenda and for the more effective recognition of the contribution of migrants to sustainable development.

  • The discussion also provided suggestions on developing an effective and inclusive human rights-based agenda on migration. Participants expressed support for a human rights-based approach to migration, and the need to work towards a holistic and inclusive agenda that puts human rights at the centre of migration discussions. Speakers suggested ways to enhance the mainstreaming of the human rights of migrants in the UN System, including through holding an annual panel discussion on the human rights of migrants under the auspices of the Human Rights Council.