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UN rights chief urges human rights-based migration policies

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] on Wednesday called on governments to create human rights-based polices addressing migration [press release]. According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [OHCHR], there are currently more than 215 million migrants around the world, but this enormous group remains largely invisible. Pillay said, "[o]ur starting point is that migration is not merely an anonymous "mega-trend" nor merely an economic and political phenomenon. It is a fundamentally human process, and one which increasingly holds up a mirror to rising global inequalities." The OHCHR also released a report [text, PDF] exploring possible future governance spaces of migration and human rights and explained that without sufficient opportunities, migrants resort to smuggling and become victims of traffickers. Further, the report stated that many migrants "face violence, abuse, discrimination, xenophobia and exploitation in the work place and in their private, social, cultural and public life."

In May the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants [official website] Francois Crepeau urged the EU to focus on human rights in its migration policies [JURIST report]. Crepeau visited both sides of the border in Turkey, Greece, Tunisia and Italy [official reports] to investigate the experience of migrants. He found that those irregular migrants related to the Arab Spring [JURIST news archive] and global south were unduly targeted for security purposes that were ineffective and indirectly exploitative. Irregular migrants are those seeking economic opportunities that do not enter through a traditional visa program, usually because a sufficient program is not offered by the EU to support the seasonal work force required by its member states' economies.

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