Issue Papers on human rights of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers

Issue Papers are commissioned and published by the Commissioner for Human Rights for the purpose of contributing to debate or further reflection on a current and important human rights matter. All opinions in these expert papers do not necessarily reflect the position of the Commissioner.

Criminalisation of migration in Europe: Human rights implications (2010)

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed his concern regarding the trend to criminalise the irregular entry and presence of migrants in Europe, presented as part of a policy of migration management. The Commissioner has stressed that such a method of controlling international movement corrodes established international law principles and causes many human tragedies without achieving its purpose of genuine control.

Press release: Criminalising migration is the wrong answer to a complex social phenomenon (04.02.2010)

The Human Rights of Irregular Migrants in Europe (2007)

Historically, the State has pledged to protect the rights of its citizens at home – for instance from torture or from exploitation – and of citizens of other states who enter the country lawfully. Where refugees flee persecution at the hands of their own state, international law requires other states to provide the protection denied at home.
This paper deals with another category: migrants who are not refugees or asylum seekers and who are in another country without the state’s consent. Perceptions of these irregular migrants are polarised. ‘Irregular migrant’ refers to non citizens who have no valid leave to enter and / or remain within a state.

Human rights of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers homepage