Human rights of migrants deteriorating, warns UN expert

26 October 2004

Migrants face increasingly harsh conditions around the world, from exploitation in the workplace to frequent episodes of xenophobia or racism to detention if their status is irregular, a United Nations human rights expert says.

Gabriela Rodríguez Pizarro, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, says the phenomenon of people-smuggling is also worsening, driven by criminal organizations.

In a report to the General Assembly on her work between August 2003 and August this year, Ms. Rodríguez Pizarro states there has been "a continuing deterioration in the human rights situation of migrants."

She says this is occurring at the same time as the rights of migrants are being ignored during debates in receiver countries about immigration policy.

Ms. Rodríguez Pizarro calls on countries around the world to ratify the global conventions protecting the rights of migrant workers and their families and outlawing the illegal trafficking of people.

She says the regularization of the status of migrants "must be carried out with absolute respect for the human rights of those concerned, so that they cannot be blackmailed if regularization is left to their employers."

The Special Rapporteur also calls for the overhaul of traditional ways of managing migration, saying they are no longer effective in an increasingly globalized world where people in poor States can see obvious and large disparities in wealth and development.

Welcoming some initiatives that promote public consultation in the framing of migration policy, Ms. Rodríguez Pizarro says that countries should share responsibility for accepting and dealing with migrants, rather than treating the issue as one of internal security or specific economic interests.

 

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