Top UN rights official calls on European countries to portray migrants fairly

21 June 2002

The top United Nations human rights official today called on European countries, meeting in Spain to discuss illegal immigration issues, to guarantee that asylum seekers and other migrants were portrayed fairly and without stereotypes.

In a message to the meeting of the European Council in Seville, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, said countries should ensure that accurate information regarding migrants and migration issues was made available, including on the positive contribution that migrants make to the host society.

She also invited European Union countries to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and their Families, according to a spokesman for the Office of the High Commissioner. One more ratification is needed for the Convention to enter into force.

Mrs. Robinson also said that at last year’s World Conference against Racism, countries agreed that stereotyping in all its forms, in particular the promotion of false images of migrants by States and the media should be avoided, spokesman Jose Luis Diaz told a press briefing in Geneva.

The High Commissioner went on to recall that countries had committed themselves to ensuring that police, border police, immigration authorities and other public officials treated migrants, including those detained, in a dignified and non-discriminatory manner and to organize special anti-racist and gender-sensitive human rights training courses to that end, he added.

 

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