Commissioner for Human Rights - Strasbourg - 20 August 2015

Without papers but not without rights: the basic social rights of irregular migrants

“Those who think that irregular migrants have no rights because they have no papers are wrong. Everyone is a holder of human rights regardless of their status. It is easy to understand that the prohibition of torture protects all people but we should also be aware of the fact that basic social rights are also universal, because their enjoyment constitutes a prerequisite for human dignity. Therefore, member states of the Council of Europe should stand by their obligations to protect the basic social rights of everyone under their jurisdiction, and this includes irregular migrants, says Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in his latest Human Rights Comment published today.

Migrants can be in an irregular situation because they have entered a country, or stayed in a country, in an unauthorised way. Their situation may become irregular because they overstay an authorised period which can last several years. Due to the very nature of irregular migration, it is difficult to estimate the number of irregular migrants currently living in Europe, though the figure undoubtedly runs into the millions. (continue reading)

Back Secretary General and European Commission's Vice President Dombrovskis discuss social Europe

Secretary General Jagland and Deputy Secretary General Battaini-Dragoni today met Valdis Dombrovskis, European Commission Vice President for the Euro and Social Dialogue.

The discussion focused on the relationship between the European Union and the Council of Europe in the area of social rights, and in particular the scope for harmonising the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Council of Europe’s European Social Charter. The European Commission and the Council of Europe will be addressing this issue at an international conference on the Future of the Protection of Social Rights in Europe, hosted by the Belgian Chairmanship of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers in Brussels on 12-13 February.

Dombrovskis and Jagland also discussed the crisis in Ukraine and the Council of Europe’s role in advising Ukraine on judicial and constitutional reforms including the issues of decentralisation and minority rights.

Vice President Dombrovskis’ visit to the Council of Europe coincides with the Latvian Presidency of the EU and the 20th anniversary of Latvia’s membership of the Council of Europe.

strasbourg 10 febuary 2015
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