Image: Theme 'Migration' by Pancho

Migration and migrants

"According to archaeologists, almost all the people on the Earth are migrants, as humanity originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago and then spread all over the world – to Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas. … Nowadays there are about 200 million migrants in the world, and the problems and opportunities related to migration are fiercely debated by politicians and ordinary people all over the globe. … We could name the 21st century ‘the age of migrants'."  
Boris Altner, journalist1

People move constantly in today's globalised world. Migration erodes traditional boundaries between cultures, ethnic groups and languages, and adds to diversity, cultural and economic richness. Migration is also perceived by many as a challenge or even a threat. It is a challenge for human rights mechanisms, which struggle to ensure the full enjoyment of human rights for all, including migrants, because the human rights of migrants are often violated.

We request a homeland for those who have been humiliated.
Pablo Neruda

Migration is a process of moving, either across an international border or within a country, encompassing any kind of movement of people, regardless of the causes. To define "migrant" is more difficult. According to the European Committee on Migration, "the term ‘migrants' is used … to refer, depending on the context, to emigrants, returning migrants, immigrants, refugees, displaced persons and persons of immigrant background and/or members of ethnic minority populations that have been created through immigration"2.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) defines migrant as a term "to cover all cases where the decision to migrate is taken freely by the individual concerned for reasons of ‘personal convenience' and without intervention of an external compelling factor."3

The above two definitions reflect the conventional distinction between voluntary and forced migrants. In the case of voluntary migration, people leave their home of their own choice, mainly because of so-called "pull factors", such as better career opportunities, even though their options to choose from are sometimes very limited. Forced migration is mostly the result of "push factors", such as persecution, or war or starvation, when people flee violations of their fundamental rights. However, there is always a mix of push and pull factors present. Many migrants leave their country for both economic reasons and to escape human right abuse. Even economic migrants may be considered forced migrants, when they flee situations in which their economic rights are violated.

For the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), refugees and asylum seekers constitute a distinct group of people, because they have left their home in response to serious threats to their life and liberty. The UNHCR warns of the risks of blurring the line that separates refugees from other groups of migrants who have moved from one country to another for economic or social reasons in order to improve their lives, while refugees are forced to flee to save their lives or preserve their freedom.4

Question: How does migration affect your country? Is it a destination, a source or a transit country?

In this manual the term "migrant" is used in the broad sense, referring to all people who have moved away from their home for a longer period of time. However, a distinction will be made when necessary.  Also, the word "migration" will be used to mean international migration, unless it is otherwise noted.

Types of migration

Recognize yourself in he and she who are not like you and me.
Carlos Fuentes

Forms of migration can be distinguished according to various factors, for example the motives, the legal status of those concerned, or the duration.
Some generally used migrant categories:

  • Temporary labour migrants (also known as guest workers)
  • Highly skilled and business migrants: professionals, who move within the internal labour markets of transnational corporations and international organisations
  • Irregular (or undocumented, unauthorised) migrants: people who enter a country without the necessary documents and permits
  • Forced migrants: refugees, asylum seekers, or people forced to move due to external factors, such as armed conflicts or environmental disasters
  • Family members: who join their close relatives who have already migrated
  • Return migrants: people who return to their countries of origin after a period in another country.

Refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons enjoy special protection under international law. The UNHCR defines these groups as follows.
A refugee "is someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion."5
Asylum-seekers are "individuals who have sought international protection and whose claims for formal refugee status have not yet been determined."6
Internally displaced persons (IDPs) are people "who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalised violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognised state border."7

There is one more group whose members face similar problems and human rights violations, although they might not have changed their place of residence at all: stateless persons. They are people who are not considered as nationals by any state; therefore, they cannot enjoy the rights provided only for citizens. There are a variety of reasons why somebody can become stateless, including the break-up of countries such as the Soviet Union or Yugoslavia, or the creation of new countries due to decolonisation. According to estimations, there are some 12 million stateless people in the world. The UNHCR has been mandated by the UN General Assembly to prevent and reduce statelessness around the world and to protect the rights of stateless people.

Migration today

"We recognize that migration continues to increase - driven by the age-old pursuit of a better life, as well as by increasingly understood phe-nomena such as climate change..."
Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General.8

Discussions about migration typically start from the perspective of the first world, concentrating on flows between developing and developed countries. Yet the vast majority of migrants move inside their own countries. The number of internal migrants is about four times as high as that of international migrants. Furthermore, even if we focus on people who move across international borders, the bulk of such movements occurs between countries with similar levels of development. Approximately 60% move either between developing or between developed states, and only 37% of international migrants move from developing to developed countries, with 3% from developed to developing countries.9 Concerning refugees, the imbalance is even more pronounced, as developing countries host four-fifths of the world's refugees. Thus the burden of assisting the world's asylum seekers and refugees is born by some of the world's poorest countries.
Global trends10

  • The total number of international migrants increased from an estimated 150 million in 2000 to 214 million people in 2010, 57% of them in high-income countries.
  • Although the number of migrants as a percentage of the world's population remained stable over the period between 2000 and 2010, the amount of money migrants send back home has increased dramatically. Formal and informal remittances to developing countries could be as much as three times the size of official development aid.
  • The proportion of refugees among migrants fell from 8.8% in 2000 to 7.6% in 2010.
  • It is estimated that some 36 million people had been relocated due to environmental disasters in 2008.
  • 43.7 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced due to conflict and persecution in 2010, the highest number in more than 15 years. This included 15.4 million refugees, 27.5 million IDPs and more than 837,500 asylum seekers.
  • 44% of refugees and 31% of asylum seekers were children below 18 years of age in 2010. 15,500 asylum applications were submitted by unaccompanied or separated children in the same year.

Migration in Europe

The International Organization for Migration is an intergovernmental organisation dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all. It does so by providing services and advice to govern-ments and migrants.

According to the 2010 World Migration Report prepared by the IOM, Europe hosted 73 million migrants, one-third of such migrants in the entire world in 2010.11 The Russian Federation is the most important country in terms of both origin and destination, with over 12 million people born there, but now living abroad, and 12 million foreign-born people living in the country.12

Within migrants, the total number of refugees at the end of 2010 stood at 1.6 million. Europe received 11,500 asylum applications from unaccompanied or separated children, representing 74% of such applications submitted in that year, and 5,400 were recognised as refugees or granted a complementary form of protection.13  The main destination countries for new asylum seekers were France, closely followed by Germany, while the main source was Serbia (including Kosovo) in 2010.14 In the meantime, Serbia has one of the largest displaced populations in Europe, with more than 228,000 IDPs and 73,600 refugees, according to the UNHCR.

There is a large number of internally displaced persons in Europe, including more than 600,000 in the Balkans, and about 1.1 million in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and the Russian Federation.15 Statelessness, particularly as a result of the dissolution of the former Soviet Union, remains an issue of concern. The precise number of people who are stateless in Eastern Europe is not known, but may be as high as 120,000.16

Question: How many people emigrate from your country annually? Where do they go? Why?

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Decla-ration, without distinction of any kind.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Migration and Human Rights

The right to free movement in and out of the country is recognised in the UDHR.  Article 13 states that "Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state" and "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country". However, there are no international instruments that would recognise the choice of one's country of residence as a human right.

As all people, migrants have human rights. Provisions of human rights instruments speak for everyone, including migrants. However, there is often a large gap between the rights that international human rights law guarantees to refugees, asylum seekers, migrant workers and other similar groups, and the realities that they face. Their human rights are often violated, including the right to life, liberty and security.

Their special vulnerability stems from their alien status: they have crossed international borders to enter into another country where they are not citizens, and where they can usually stay, live and work legally only with the express consent of the country's authorities. As strangers to the host society, they may not know the local language, laws or social customs, which reduces their ability to know and assert their rights. They may be subject to discrimination at work and in their everyday lives, and may also face racism and xenophobia, and become targets of hate-crimes.

Migrants entering a transit or destination country without the necessary documents (or losing their legal status later) may be detained for a prolonged period of time if caught by authorities, and be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment, without access to legal assistance. Undocumented migrant workers are also vulnerable to abuse and exploitation by employers, migration agents, corrupt bureaucrats and criminal gangs. Women can easily become targets for sexual exploitation. Smugglers and human traffickers also often take advantage of irregular migrants.

Question: Which human rights of migrants are most often violated in your country?

Protecting the human rights of migrants:
international instruments and mechanisms

There are a number of documents and mechanisms ensuring the human rights of migrants, including instruments that focus on specific groups of migrants.

Right to asylum. Protection of refugees

The right to seek asylum from persecution is recognised as a human right by the UDHR. This right is the basis of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees adopted by the United Nations in 195117 which, with its 1967 Protocol, became the universal standard on the right to asylum.

The 14th Dalai Lama
Guillaume Apollinaire
Alexander Graham Bell
Joseph Conrad
Albert Einstein
Anne Frank
Ismail Kadare
Henry Kissinger
The Ayatollah Khomeini
Karl Marx
Rigoberta Menchú
Jean Reno

were refugees.

The Convention, also known as the Geneva Convention, is the cornerstone of refugee protection, underpinned by a number of fundamental principles, most notably non-discrimination, non-penalisation and non-refoulement. The principle of "non-penalisation" means that a person coming from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion and claiming asylum before the authorities immediately after entering a state party cannot be penalised for illegal entry or presence. "Non-refoulement" means that an asylum seeker cannot be returned to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened for reasons as above. According to the Convention, the movements of refugees can only be restricted to the extent necessary.

In 1950, the UN General Assembly established the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, whose aim is to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum. The UNCHR leads and co-ordinates international action to protect refugees, and oversees the implementation of the Convention.

One group which needs special protection is children, especially unaccompanied minors, as they are especially vulnerable to violations of their human rights. The UNCHR has issued specific guidelines for migration authorities on how to determine the best interests of the child18. The Council of Europe's Commissioner for human rights has called on governments to ensure that the views and interests of refugee children are taken into account in official procedures.19

An estimated 10 million people within Africa have been forced to migrate over the last two decades due to desertification or environmental degradation.

Migration induced by climate change, also called environmental migration, is a relatively new phenomenon, creating new human rights problems. Climate refugees cannot get refugee status under the Geneva Convention; possible protection at present is a residence permit granted on humanitarian grounds. The rights of climate refugees is seen by many as an emerging right.

Question: Should environmental migrants enjoy equal protection with refugees?

Protection of migrant workers

Special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants

The UN Commission on Human Rights appointed in 1999 a special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants "to examine ways and means to overcome the obstacles existing to the full and effective protection of the human rights of this vulnerable group".20 Special Rapporteur Gabriela Rodríguez Pizarro found that there is "a gap in international human rights jurisprudence in this area. The virtually universal system of protection for refugees means that violations of their civil and political rights can be recognized and remedied… However, there is no such recognition of violations of economic, social and cultural rights, which can also be serious enough to force people to flee their places of origin".21

The UN International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, adopted in 1990, is the most comprehensive international treaty in the field of migration and human rights. However, as of August 2011, only 44 states had ratified it and no major immigration country had yet done so. Regarding members of the Council of Europe, only Albania, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey had ratified it. The Convention does not create new rights for migrants, but provides for the treatment and conditions of work equal with nationals of the state concerned. The Convention declares that all migrants should have access to a minimum degree of protection. It requires states to take measures to prevent illegal movements as well as employment of migrants in an irregular situation, but it also stresses that the fundamental human rights of non-documented migrants must be guaranteed.

"Migration is a natural phenomenon, which was present in the past, is active today and will be alive tomorrow. Migration reminds me of waves on the sea: the same tides, whirlpools and undertows. And it is amusing to see how some politicians claim that they can prohibit these waves".
Anastasia Denisova, human rights activist

An issue that touches migration and human rights closely is trafficking. As opportunities for people to migrate legally are limited, they often take risks and turn to intermediaries, who tend to take advantage of their situation, for example by financing the costs of migration in exchange for the migrant committing his workforce to the exclusive use of the trafficker.
Article 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) explicitly and categorically prohibits slavery and forced labour. The Council of Europe adopted the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (entered into force in 2008), which involves obligations of the states to prevent trafficking in human beings, prosecute traffickers and protect the victims. Because of its secret nature, no one knows exactly how many people in the world are victims of human trafficking, but estimations run from several hundred thousand to several million. In Europe, more than 140,000 victims are trapped in human trafficking at any given time, many forced into prostitution22. Migrants who are victims of trafficking may find themselves in situations equivalent to slavery when their passports are confiscated or they are de facto locked up.

Protection of stateless persons

The status of stateless persons is regulated by the UN Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons23, adopted in 1954, as well as the UN Convention on Reduction of Statelessness24. The UNHCR, mandated to protect the rights of stateless people, works with governments, other UN agencies and civil society to address this problem.

EU migration policy

The Schengen agreements (1985, 1990) provide for free movement and unrestricted travel to citizens of Schengen states (currently including 22 European Union member states, as well as Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland), who can live, study, or work anywhere they wish. However, while abolishing the former existing border controls, the EU has built a larger "border" to protect its area.

A common migration and asylum policy has steadily developed among EU member states as a result of migration movements and patterns in Europe. The Schengen system with its border control mechanisms and the Dublin Convention (1997) with the safe-third-country-regulation, which makes it easy to control and send back undesired migrants entering one of the Schengen member states, resulted in decreasing numbers of asylum seekers and increasing numbers of irregular migrants.

A similar visa-free system is developed within some countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (including all post-Soviet states, except for the Baltic states and Georgia), and many migrants from Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries use this way to come to Russia or the Ukraine as a final destination, or as transit countries to the EU.

European Union Dublin Regulation

The Dublin Regulation (replacing the previous Dublin Convention) determines which EU member state is responsible for processing an asylum seeker's asylum application. The Regulation establishes a finger-printing database of asylum seekers, called the EURODAC. Asylum seekers must apply for asylum in the first EU country in which they arrive and where their fingerprints are taken. Asylum seekers may be returned to another EU member state if it can be proven that they have either entered the EU (by air, sea or land) or made an application for asylum in that other state. The Dublin Regulation territory was extended to some non-EU countries such as Norway, Iceland and Switzerland.
This system puts a huge strain on several EU countries that are geographically more likely to be a country of first entrance for asylum seekers.

The EU increasingly expects its neighbours to prevent people from reaching its borders. The task of controlling the EU borders is gradually transferred to the migrants' countries of origin or transit. Putting migrants in detention centres located in some countries within and outside the EU (even in Africa) and deportations have become routine practices in Europe, and they create a lot of opportunities for human rights violations. Critics state that whilst Europe claims to be building a "common space" for freedom, justice and security, it is creating an excluded underclass of second-class citizens from non-EU member states and is building up a "Fortress Europe".

According to data gathered by the monitoring group Fortress Europe, as of 8 August 2011 at least 17,738 people trying to enter Europe had died since 1988.25

Visa requirements for nationals coming from outside of Europe have become very strict, while carriers are heavily sanctioned for transporting undocumented passengers. The same happens in Eastern European countries as well. The very restrictive policies held by many European countries may force immigrants to turn to illegal methods of getting into Europe. They often fall prey to organised traffickers. Most never reach Europe, while some die on the way.



Migrants are not criminals

"They arrive from across the ocean in shaky and dangerous boats, many losing their lives along the way, with their anonymous bodies occasionally washing up on European shores. They arrive via land hidden in the back of smugglers' trucks, travelling thousands of miles in cramped and dangerous conditions. They find ways to cross land borders in secret, or elude border controls with false documents. ... European countries tend to approach this population as a "security threat". Seeking to protect their borders, they criminalise these migrants, lock them up in prison-like conditions, and expel them as quickly as possible – even to countries where they risk persecution and torture.
These foreigners are not criminals; they are guilty only of having aspired to a better life, a job or, in the saddest and most distressing cases, protection from persecution. All migrants have human rights – and these must be respected."

Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe26

When they reach the borders of Europe, they face other dangers, including detention and expulsion. According to European human rights law, states are not prohibited from detaining irregular migrants. Article 5(1)(f) of the EECHR permits "the lawful arrest or detention of a person to prevent his effecting an unauthorised entry into the country or of a person against whom action is being taken with a view to deportation or extradition".

Council of Europe instruments
and mechanisms applicable for migrants

Under the ECHR, the Council of Europe member states guarantee the rights set forth in the Convention not only to their own citizens, but to everybody within their jurisdiction.

The application of the Dublin regulation has been examined many times by the European Court of Human Rights. For instance in the case of M.S.S. v. Belgium and Greece (2011), the Court found that Belgium violated the ECHR by returning an Afghan  asylum seeker to Greece, where conditions of detention and living were inhumane and humiliating; a proper examination of the request for asylum was not ensured due to the deficiencies of the asylum system; Belgium was aware of those conditions but still sent him  back. As Greece is not alone in failing on detention safeguards, the EU "Dublin system" has come into question since it is based on the false premise that EU member states are all safe and able to cope with refugees.

Many other complaints are also related to the expulsion of aliens. In Bader and others v. Sweden (2005) the Court found that if the applicant was returned to Syria he would face a real risk of a flagrant denial of a fair trial and a potential death sentence; thus Sweden's obligations to protect everyone's right to life under the Convention would be breached. In D. v. the United Kingdom (1997) the Court considered the case of a person dying from AIDS being expelled to a country where he certainly would not be able to access even the basic medical treatment he required under Article 3, and found that expulsion in that case would constitute a violation. In Nolan and K. v. Russia (2009), the Court established that a forced separation from an eleven-month-old son resulting from the applicant's exclusion from Russia is a breach of the right to respect for family life.

"A child is first, foremost and only a child. He or she is entitled to all the rights of a child, guaranteed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and other international human rights instruments."
2011 Report of the PACE Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population27

The Council of Europe's Convention on the Legal Status of Migrant Workers (1977) provides a framework to ensure the rights of migrant workers and their family members, and promote their social advancement and well-being. The Council of Europe has, over the years, made many recommendations covering the harmonisation of national procedures relating to asylum, training of officials in charge of asylum procedures, detention of asylum seekers, return of rejected asylum seekers as well as subsidiary and temporary protection.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has a Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population. The Committee focuses its work on the analysis of the most problematic areas related to its mandate, including among others the situation of unaccompanied minors, the role of migration in demographic processes, and the protection of migrants and refugees. In its 2011 report, the Committee expressed its concern about the lack of national legislation and guidance on the protection of undocumented children, and called on member states to implement appropriate legislative measures and to remove barriers such as administrative obstacles, discrimination or lack of information to ensure the full enjoyment of these rights in practice.

Integration of migrants in Europe

Racism, xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiments are on the rise in many countries. Migrants are easily targeted by racist or xenophobic politicians, who blame them for social and economic problems in their communities. "Migrantophobia" has become a serious problem, one which also obstructs integration and mutual understanding, and leads to the alienation of and violence towards migrants in many European countries. A number of high profile politicians, including leaders of major European countries, have claimed that multiculturalism has failed.

Terror against "Multiculturalism"

Anders Behring Breivik, a Norwegian right-wing extremist confessed to having carried out the bombing of government buildings in Oslo, Norway, that resulted in eight deaths, and the mass shooting at a camp of the Workers' Youth League of the Labour Party on the island of Utøya, where he killed at least 68 people, mostly teenagers, on 22 July 2011. Breivik has claimed himself to be a Christian conservative standing against multiculturalism.

"Intercultural dialogue enables us to move forward together, to deal with our different identities constructively and democratically on the basis of shared universal values."
White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue

Europe is facing important demographic changes with degrees of diversity accentuated by migration movements.  Existing approaches to integration and to the management of cultural diversity are put to question. "As we understand it now, multiculturalism allows parallel societies to develop within states… This must be stopped." So said Thorbjørn Jagland, secretary-general of the Council of Europe.28 If multiculturalism has failed, what is the solution? The answer may be something that is called "interculturalism", which promotes individual rights for everyone, with no discrimination. In an intercultural society, people have the right to keep their ethnic, cultural and religious identity, and such identities are tolerated by others. However, the entire community must adhere to human rights standards, and cultural differences cannot be accepted as an excuse for violating the rights of other groups. This approach ensures maximum tolerance for the individual's choices and minimum tolerance for ideas that could undermine the very foundations of a democratic society.

Question: Do you think that the proverb "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" holds true for migrants as well?

In 2008, the Council of Europe adopted a White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue – "Living Together as Equals in Dignity". This policy document "argues in the name of the governments of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe that our common future depends on our ability to safeguard and develop human rights, as enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, democracy and the rule of law and to promote mutual understanding. … the intercultural approach offers a forward-looking model for managing cultural diversity. … If there is a European identity to be realised, it will be based on shared fundamental values, respect for common heritage and cultural diversity as well as respect for the equal dignity of every individual".29

Centre of Adaptation and Education for Refugee Children

The Centre is one of the projects of the NGO Civic Assistance Committee, created in 1996 when a number of refugees from Chechnya fled the war and went to Moscow. The Moscow schools – in violation of the law – had refused to accept students whose parents did not have official registration in the capital. A number of young people started to teach the children who were not accepted into schools. In 2001 the Committee succeeded in overturning that discriminatory practice, yet the need for such a centre did not go away: many migrant children who have undergone stress need additional lessons.

Youth and migration

"Intercultural education methods … should be introduced in schools in order to develop students' competences for intercultural dialogue."
Ragusa Declaration of the Euro-Arab Youth Conference on Youth, Migra-tion and Development30

Young people historically make up a large share of migrants. However, the youth perspective is rarely taken into account in national and international debate on migration. The needs of young migrants should be better understood and their role in European society should be acknowledged. The Council of Europe framework document on youth policy – Agenda 2020 – pays special attention to the support of youth work with young refugees, asylum seekers and displaced persons.
On the one hand, young people enjoy positive aspects of mobility and make use of such European programmes as Erasmus Mundus, the European Voluntary Service managed by the EU, the Council of Europe and other actors including youth organisations. On the other hand, migrant youth face many problems. It is estimated that there are about 12 million young people in Europe who were born and raised in societies to which their parents did not belong. Although they grew up in these countries, many are still considered as immigrants.
Intercultural dialogue has an important role in combating intolerance and fostering mutual understanding. Education programmes both in the formal and non-formal arena, youth exchanges and youth work are effective tools for developing intercultural competences, increasing awareness of migration issues, and interpreting ethnic, religious, linguistic, and cultural diversity as a source of growth rather than a problem.
The European Youth Forum published a policy paper on Youth and Migration31 in 2008, drawing attention to the situation of migrant children, especially of minors separated from their parents and other care-givers; they are at particular risk of abuse and they are also often placed in detention, in violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Recommendation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe "Protection and assistance for separated children seeking asylum"32. The youth sector of the Council of Europe has also initiated, in co-operation with the UNHCR, a project on the rights and integration of unaccompanied children and of young refugees and asylum seekers while in transition to adulthood.


December 18 is not only the date of International Migrants Day, but also the name of a Belgium-based organisation, which works "to ensure that the human rights of all migrants are known, recognized and protected effectively, and that an environment is created for migrants to be full participants in any society."33 December 18 organises an international radio event each year on International Migrants Day to connect migrant communities worldwide as well as to celebrate migrants' achievements and highlight their concerns with the active involvement of radio stations and organisations from across the world. In 2010, a total of 147 stations from 49 countries in 4 continents participated.

Collaboration is sought by many organisations involved in migrant-related issues. The Voices of Young Refugees in Europe works in an effort to unify and strengthen the voices of young refugees and their organisations in Europe. Its activities include capacity building for young refugees and their organisations, advocacy and campaigning, strengthening global and regional networks of young refugees, providing access to relevant information and sharing good  practices.
The European Council on Refugees and Exiles, a pan-European alliance of some 70 organisations in 30 countries, aims to encourage new thinking on refugees and asylum in Europe through pro-active policy work and research. It works to strengthen contacts between refugee-assisting non-governmental organisations through networking and by organising different events. They also provide refugee law courses for legal counsellors and lawyers from across Europe.


1 Boris Altner. Age of Migrants (in Russian)
3 Glossary on Migration, IOM,
4 UNHCR's contribution to the Global Forum on Migration and Development (Brussels, 9-11 July 2007),
5 Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, UNHCR,
6 2009 Global Trends: Refugees, Asylum-seekers, Returnees, Internally Displaced and Stateless Persons, UNHCR, 
7 Guiding principles of internal displacement, UN,
8 Address to the Global Forum on Migration and Development, 10 July 2007.  
9 Human Development Report 2009, UN, 2009;
10 Sources: Facts & Figures, IOM (; Monitoring disaster displacement in the context of climate change, OCHA, IDMC & Norwegian Refugee Council, 2009; ($file/monitoring-disaster-displacement.pdf); UNHCR Global Trends 2010 (
11 World Migration Report, IOM, 2010,
12 World Migration Report, IOM, 2010,
17 This convention is often referred to as "the Geneva Convention", although it is not one of the Geneva Conventions, which deal with allowable behaviour in time of war.
18 UNHCR Guidelines on Determining the Best Interests of the Child, 2008;
20 Commission on Human Rights resolution 1999/4,
21 Report of the Special Rapporteur, Ms. Gabriela Rodríguez Pizarro, 2000,$FILE/G0010036.pdf
22 Factsheet on Human Trafficking, UN Office on Drugs and Crime based on 2010 figures,
26 Position paper on the rights of migrants in an irregular situation, 24 June 2010,
27 Undocumented migrant children in an irregular situation: a real cause for concern, 2011, Parliamentary Assembly
28 Council of Europe warns on multiculturalism, Financial Times, 16 February 2011;
31 Policy paper on Youth and Migration// European Youth Forum, 2008
33 DECEMBER 18 – Annual Report 2010,