IACHR

Press Release

On the occasion of International Migrants Day, the IACHR urges the States of the region to adopt measures to guarantee the effective enjoyment of the human rights of migrants

December 18, 2018

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María Isabel Rivero
IACHR Press and Communication Office
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Washington, D.C. - On the occasion of International Migrants Day, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Rapporteurship on the Rights of Migrants urge the States of the region to adopt measures to guarantee the effective enjoyment of the human rights of migrants, as well as to promote durable solutions and a culture of inclusion, respect for differences, prevention of discrimination and combating xenophobia.

Estimates indicate that the current migration movements in the Americas are among the highest in the recent history of the continent. This has been caused by humanitarian crises and the rise of massive movements of migrants, among which there are large numbers of people who qualify as refugees or beneficiaries of complementary protection. These situations pose new challenges and highlight the need for innovative regional policies based on cooperation, shared responsibility and human rights.

On this occasion, the IACHR welcomes the good practices that have been implemented by countries in the Americas for the protection of the human rights of migrants. In this regard, the Commission has noted that several countries in the Americas have adopted favorable policies to address the challenges of mass migration in the region, among which it is worth emphasizing the policies adopted by some countries for the reception of Venezuelan nationals in their territories, simplifying migration procedures and offering humanitarian assistance to these persons.

At the same time, throughout this year, various situations have highlighted the multiple human rights violations that migrants face on a daily basis in terms of human rights in countries of origin, transit, destination and return.

Some of these challenges are evident in the many obstacles faced by the more than 3 million Venezuelan nationals who have had to leave their country because of human rights violations and the grave crisis of democratic institutions In Venezuela. Some of the measures that the IACHR has adopted to monitor and respond to this situation were the issuance of Resolution 2/2018 on Forced Migration of Venezuelans, as well as the Joint Statement for the development of a regional response to the massive arrival of Venezuelans to the Americas of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and committees, organs and special procedures of the United Nations, which are intended to provide guidance to the member states of the Organization of American States (OAS) on durable solutions with a focus on human rights and based on the principle of shared responsibility.

On the other hand, the region has also witnessed the situation of thousands of persons from countries of the Northern Triangle of Central America who try to reach Mexico and the United States, who are forced to migrate as a result of multiple causes that include, mainly, the situation of violence and insecurity, violence at the hands of gangs and drug cartels, corruption and impunity, human rights violations, environmental disasters, poverty and lack of opportunities, and who have recently integrated the so-called "migrant caravans".

Within this context, the Commission has noted with great concern the rise of speeches aimed at inciting hatred, violence and discrimination against migrants in various countries of the region, which goes hand in hand with an increase of hate crimes and various forms of harassment against these people, as well as against persons who defend the human rights of migrants.

In turn, the IACHR and the Rapporteurship on the Rights of Migrants highlight the importance of the recent adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), which was adopted at the Intergovernmental Conference held in Marrakech, Morocco, the past 10 and 11 December and integrates a framework for shared responsibility and unity of purpose among States. The IACHR highlights the importance of the participation of the States of the region in the process of developing the Global Compact for Migration and the fact that most of the States of the Americas adopted that instrument.

In this regard, Commissioner Luis Ernesto Vargas, Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants of the IACHR, stated that: "The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration represents a great step forward for the governance of migration and the development of guidelines that allow it to happen in an orderly, safe and regular manner. That is why we call on States to use the Global Compact as an interpretative and programmatic parameter when defining and adopting national policies, laws and practices related to migration, in order to give effect to the objectives and commitments contained in the text of the agreement".

For his part, the Executive Secretary of the IACHR, Paulo Abrão, emphasized: "It is necessary for States to adopt measures and promote processes that lead to the implementation of the Global Compact in the region".

In this regard, the IACHR urges the States of the American continent to further progress in the adoption of legislation, migration policies and practices that protect and promote the rights of migrants, incorporating the following measures:

1. Expanding regular, safe, accessible and affordable migration channels through the progressive expansion of visa liberalization, as well as easy access visa facilitation regimes and measures such as complementary protection, temporary protection, humanitarian visas, visas for visitors, family reunification, work visas, residence, and student and retired persons visas, as well as private sponsorship programs.

2. Implementing a coordinated strategy based on shared responsibility and a human rights approach, as well as strengthening technical and financial assistance to the main countries and localities that receive migrants.

3. Not criminalizing migration by refraining from measures such as border closures, criminalization for irregular entry or presence, immigration detention, arbitrary deportations, hate speech and the criminalization of those who provide aid and humanitarian assistance.

4. Implementing mechanisms that allow to identify persons who are in a more vulnerable situation or have specific protection needs, including women, children and adolescents, LGTBI persons, indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants and persons with disability, with the aim of guaranteeing the enjoyment and exercise of their human rights in equal conditions and without discrimination .

5. In order to prevent discrimination and xenophobia, States must implement positive measures such as educational and awareness raising campaigns aimed at promoting multicultural societies and fighting against discrimination and xenophobia.

6. Guaranteeing equal access to justice, including cross-border justice for human rights violations under fair, effective and accessible conditions.

7. Adopting measures aimed at promoting the social integration of migrants, in particular through guaranteeing the right to non-discrimination and economic, social and cultural rights, including access to the right to work, education and social security.

Within the framework of its mandate to promote and protect human rights, the IACHR will continue to provide technical assistance and contribute to strengthening the capacities of State authorities in the countries of the American continent.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 272/18