"No doubt, migration and development is an important issue. This year, global discussions about migrants have focused a lot precisely on that. In October, States met in New York for the second High-level Dialogue on migration and development. Discussions about the Post-2015 Development Agenda, and the inclusion of migration in it, are on-going.
However, we must keep in mind that migrants are first and foremost human beings with human rights, and cannot be perceived or portrayed only as agents for economic development. Migrants should not also be perceived or portrayed only as helpless victims in need of rescue, or criminal frauds. States authorities have a responsibility to fight expressions of racism and xenophobia, to charge perpetrators of violence or discrimination against migrants, and foster a public discourse that encourages openness to differences, acceptance of social change and celebration of diversity.
On the occasion of the International Migrants Day, we wish to remind everyone that human rights must lie at the heart of all discussions about migrants and migration policies. All migrants, by virtue of their human dignity, are protected by international human rights law, without discrimination, on the same footing as citizens, regardless of their administrative status or situation. But, despite the legal framework in place, migrants worldwide continue to suffer abuse, exploitation and violence". […]
Nothing that this year's theme was "Zero Discrimination", Guterres said that "stigma and discrimination continue to be a major barrier for people trying to access HIV prevention and treatment, driving them away from the information and services they need; exacerbating HIV risk and undermining the effectiveness of the response".
The High Commissioner, in a special message on Sunday to staff, said that refugees and other people of concern to UNHCR continued to be excluded from the national AIDS strategies in several host countries and their needs were not consistently addressed in proposals submitted to major donors. "Their exclusion is discriminatory and undermines effective HIV and AIDS prevention and care efforts – both for refugees and host communities", he said. […]
In his report to the General Assembly, the Special Rapporteur focused on the inextricable link between racism and poverty, stressing that the continued socio-economic vulnerability of minorities is frequently the result of historical legacies, such as the impact of slavery and colonization, and state-sponsored discrimination. These historical imbalances continue to profoundly affect discriminated groups, causing successive generations to inherit the disadvantages of their predecessors.
"Discrimination based on racial, religious, ethnic, linguistic and also socio-economic factors exacerbates the vulnerability of these persons and groups", Mr. Ruteere said. "The lack of participation of such groups in decision-making processes is also often the result of historical legacies".
Discriminated groups, such as Afro-descendants, indigenous peoples, Roma, Dalits and migrants are especially affected by the different manifestations of poverty in the areas of economic and social rights such as education, adequate housing, and health care, as well as other rights including the right to work in just conditions, social security, food and water. […]
During the presentation of his latest report to the UN General Assembly in New York, Mr. Crépeau voiced concern that States continue to attempt to govern migration largely on a unilateral basis. "The lack of transparency and accountability of several of these governance processes may have a negative impact on the human rights of migrants", he said.
In his report, the expert explores the need for better global migration governance and a strengthened institutional framework. Such a system should be UN-based, and must have as one of its key priorities the human rights of migrants, he said. "Migrants should always be seen first and foremost as human beings with human rights, rather than agents for development", he stressed. […]
Migrants are too often regarded as commodities or economic and political problems instead of human beings, a UN Committee has said in an appeal to all countries to join an international treaty that protects the rights of migrant workers.
"The International Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families (ICRMW) is one of the core international human rights treaties", said Chairperson Abdelhamid El Jamri on behalf of the Committee on the Rights of Migrant Workers (CMW).
"Ratifying this treaty does not commit States to giving migrant workers special treatment. It does not create new rights nor establish additional rights specifically for migrant workers. What it does do is give specific form to standards that protect all human beings so that they are meaningful within the context of migration”, said Mr. El Jamri.
Changing patterns of migration and the exploitation and discrimination faced by migrant workers in sectors such as construction and agriculture have made protecting their rights more crucial than ever, he stressed. […]