International Migrants Day 2011

On the occasion of International Migrants Day, the Council of Europe, as an organisation whose primary objective is to protect human rights, pluralist democracy and the rule of law, wishes to reaffirm its commitment to protecting the rights and dignity of migrants in Europe. Today, serious human rights implications of the increased international migration cannot be ignored by the Council of Europe. It is regrettable that, despite considerable efforts by the national governments and international organisations, there still exist numerous cases of discrimination against migrants, xenophobia and intolerance towards them, abuse of their fundamental human, social and economic rights.

With a view to reinforcing the work of the organisation on promoting human rights compatible migration policies and practices and achieving better internal and external co-ordination and co-operation, a new Migration Coordination Division was established recently within the Secretariat. The principal task of this division will be to ensure that the Council of Europe institutions have a coherent approach to migration and asylum issues, that their activities are mutually reinforcing and able to respond and react in time to human rights challenges in the field of migration, engage in constructive dialogue with the member states and civil society and develop structured co-operation with other international organisation.

The work of the Council of Europe will particularly focus on the domains where it can offer a useful contribution based on its core values, established standards and recognised expertise, notably the human rights dimension of asylum and return procedures, to the integration of migrants - including combating xenophobia, intolerance and discrimination as well as promoting migrants participation in and interaction with the receiving societies -, and to the integration of internally displaced persons.