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OHCHR and migration

About migration and human rights

Afghan migrants protest conditions in hospitality centre in Malakasa, Greece 08 June 2016. © EPA/YANNIS KOLESIDIS An estimated 281 million people, approximately 3.6% of the world’s population, currently live outside their country of origin, many of whose migration is characterized by varying degrees of compulsion. An increasing number of migrants are forced to leave their homes for a complex combination of reasons. Human rights violations against migrants can include a denial of civil and political rights such as arbitrary detention, torture, or a lack of due process, as well as economic, social and cultural rights such as the rights to health, housing or education. The denial of migrants’ rights is often closely linked to discriminatory laws and to deep-seated attitudes of prejudice or xenophobia. Read more about migration and human rights.

OHCHR’s work on migration and human rights

OHCHR works to promote, protect and fulfill the human rights of all migrants, regardless of their status, with a particular focus on migrants in vulnerable situations and at most risk of human rights violations. OHCHR promotes a human rights-based approach to migration, which places the migrant at the center of migration policies and governance, and seeks to ensure that migrants are included in all relevant national action plans and strategies, such as plans on the provision of public housing or national strategies to combat racism and xenophobia.

Key documents

Principles and guidelines on the human rights protection of migrants in vulnerable situations

The principles and guidelines focus on the human rights situation of those migrants who may not qualify as refugees, yet who are in vulnerable situations and thus in need of the protection of the international human rights framework (A/HRC/33/67).

PDF: العربية | English

Recommended principles and guidelines on human rights at international borders

States are entitled to exercise jurisdiction at their international borders, but they must do so in light of their human rights obligations. This intended to inform the work of States, international organizations and other stakeholders with an interest in human rights-based border governance.

PDF: العربية | English | Français | Español

Latest reports, publications and resources

Seven key elements on building human rights-based narratives on migrants and migration (2020)
PDF: English

Toolbox on migration narrative change (2020)
PDF: English

Guidance on COVID-19 and the human rights of migrants (2020)
PDF: العربية | 中文 | English | Français | Русский | Español | Portuguese

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Videos

18 December 2020
International Migrants Day 2020
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18 December 2020
Get Inspired: UN Human Rights Vision for the World
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20 December 2018
Stand-Up for Migrants Comedy Event
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UN Human Rights’ Animated Video Series

UN Human Rights migration videos