UN human rights experts release a joint statement on the occasion of the UN High Level Summit on large movements of refugees and migrants

19 Sep 2016
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Ahead of the UN High Level Summit on large movements of refugees and migrants, human rights experts released a joint statement expressing their appreciation for the UN Special Adviser on the Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants and welcoming the reassertion by Member States in the draft New York Declaration of their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law.

The statement stressed that such obligations, which incorporate the principles of equality and non-discrimination and the State’s duty to respect and protect human rights, must underpin the global strategy on refugees and migrants. States must acknowledge that all migrants are entitled to human rights and that they should be treated as equal rights holders, regardless of their migratory status.

The UN experts also expressed concern on some areas of the Draft declaration referring to the detention of child migrants. Child detention measures have been strongly criticized by the Committee on the Rights of the Child and other human rights mechanisms in the past, as they have been deemed to cause severe physical and psychological harm to child development. The joint statement severely condemned such practice and called on Member States to ensure that detention of migrant children, unaccompanied or with their families, is prohibited on a global level.

Other topics such as smuggling and trafficking of migrants, racial discrimination, and xenophobia were addressed in the statement as the human rights bodies urged Member States to break down barriers to migrant mobility and combat hate speech and discrimination against refugees and migrants.

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