Respect for the rights and dignity of migrants

UN Photo/OCHA/David Ohana


Respect for the rights and dignity of migrants

In accordance with its mission to uphold and promote human rights, the Council of Europe has, for several years, been working to define a common policy in response to the challenges thrown up by migratory movements.

The issues connected with migratory movements and migrants require a comprehensive approach involving all the Council of Europe's bodies: Parliamentary Assembly, Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe and Conference of International Non-Governmental Organisations, as well as the representatives of governments, who meet to prepare and co-ordinate their work.

Among the main themes dealt with by the Council of Europe are:

  • Irregular migrants
  • Inter-community relations and integration
  • Migration management
  • Human Migrants rights 
  • Asylum seekers/ Refugees/IDPs

Restrictions on defenders of migrants’ rights should stop, says Commissioner for Human Rights

Defamation, threats, verbal and physical attacks, administrative sanctions and judicial harassment are used to deter human rights defenders from working with migrants and from combating the rising xenophobia and racism in Europe. Perpetrators can be both state and non-state actors, says Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in his latest Human Rights Comment published on 19 December 2012.

In several European countries, the rise of xenophobic and anti-migrant discourse has negatively impacted on the work of human rights defenders who protect and promote the rights of migrants. Human rights defenders are even increasingly labelled as traitors who are threatening national identity and security. They are often exposed to intimidation and abuse.

Committee of Ministers discusses on migration

On 15 June 2011, at its 1116th meeting, the Committee of Ministers held a discussion on the work of the Council of Europe in the field of migration in 2011-2013. The Secretary General presented to the Delegates a document regarding possible future activities of the Organisation in this domain. According o the document, the Council of Europe, with its unique human rights perspective, should develop activities related notably to 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 finally to the integration of internally displaced persons. In all these domains, the Council of Europe can offer a unique and useful contribution based on its core values, established standards and recognised expertise.

Certain aspects of migration represent a challenge for European states that requires a common response and Council of Europe activities have to be closely co-ordinated with those of other international organisations, in particular the European Union. Secretary General’s document will form the basis of concrete proposals for the draft Activities and Budget Programme for 2012-2013.

Possible large scale movements of asylum seekers and migrants from South Mediterranean and the Middle East

On 15 September 2011, the Council of Europe organised, in co-operation with the Council of Europe Development Bank, a working meeting to discuss the needs of the member states that might face possible large-scale arrival of asylum-seekers and irregular migrants from the South Mediterranean and the Middle East. The meeting reviewed human rights implications of possible population movements in South Mediterranean, identified existing and potential needs of the member states concerned and, in particular, explored the possible contribution of the Council of Europe and the Council of Europe Development Bank to the efforts undertaken by the member states and other international organisations. (more...) 

Did you know that ...

... the International Day of Migrants takes place on 18 December ?

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