Human rights of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers
There are alarming trends in the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees, as well as of irregular migrants in all parts of Europe. States are engaging ever more intensely in extensive border patrols, trying to deter the entry of migrants into their territory. Migrants, including asylum seekers, who do manage to enter irregularly Council of Europe member states are often criminalised, locked up in prison-like conditions, and expelled as quickly as possible – even to countries where they risk persecution and torture. However, irregular migration is not a criminal act and irregular migrants also enjoy certain rights under international law, which need to be respected.
In an attempt to fight abusive asylum requests, states undermine the rights of genuine asylum seekers, who are frequently detained and unable to access fair and efficient asylum procedures.
The Commissioner works with and advises member states to improve the protection of human rights of migrants and to ensure that undocumented migrants and their children have the right to basic health care and education. He promotes their right to protection against arbitrary detention, as well as their right not to be sent to countries where they risk ill-treatment and torture.
He draws attention to the fact that one of the most vulnerable groups in Europe today is migrant children, who often are denied basic health care and education, and run the risk of being exploited by traffickers or smugglers.
- The right to leave a country (2013)
- Criminalisation of migration in Europe: Human rights implications (2010)
- The Human Rights of Irregular Migrants in Europe (2007)
Third party interventions
- Need to halt transfers of asylum seekers to Greece: Commissioner Hammarberg intervenes in the Strasbourg Court
- Europe can do more to protect refugees (OpenDemocracy, Berlingske, Index and others, 02/09/2015)
- You’re Better Than This, Europe (NY Times, 29/06/2015)
- Crisis in the Mediterranean: Europe must change course (OpenDemocracy, 22/04/2015)
- Spain cannot legalise what is illegal (Huffington Post Spain, 10/12/2014)
- Europe, wake up! (New Europe, 30/09/2014)
- Report following the visit to Germany, 24 April & 4-8 May 2015 , page 20, 2 - Human rights of immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees
- 2nd quarterly activity report 2015, page 23, 9 - Observations and reflections
- Report following the visit to Bulgaria, from 9 to 11 February 2015
- Report following the visit to Norway, from 19 to 23 January 2015
- Report following the visit to France, from 22 to 26 september 2014
- Report following the visit to Hungary, from 1 to 4 July 2014
- Report following the visit to the Netherlands, from 20 to 22 May 2014
- The protection of migrant rights in Europe (Paris, 5 October 2012) Report on the round-table of Human Rights Defenders organised by the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights
- Seminar on human rights dimensions of migration in Europe (Istanbul, 17-18 February 2011)
Organised by the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights and the Turkish Chairmanship of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers
- Recent Migration of Roma in Europe (2nd Edition October 2010) published by Commissioner Hammarberg and OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, Knut Vollebaek
- Dublin "cases", Factsheet - European Court of Human rights
- Collective expulsions of aliens, Factsheet - European Court of Human Rights
- Expulsions and Extraditions, Factsheet - European Court of Human Rights
- Migrants in detention, Factsheet - European Court of Human Rights