Human Rights

Protecting Human Rights Of Migrants

Migrants continue to experience violence, abuse and exploitation.

Iraqi Migrants in Sweden
Iraqi Migrants in Sweden

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Around 214 million people around the world are migrants: people who live outside their country of origin.  They comprise one of the world’s most vulnerable populations, made even more so by the ongoing global financial crisis. 

According to the United Nations Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights, “an increasing message of xenophobia has permeated both fringe and mainstream political movements in many countries and resulted in a climate of exclusion of, heightened anxiety about, and rising violence against migrants, fuelled in some instances by government policies and practices.” 

A recent United Nations panel discussion on "Measures to ensure respect for and protection of the human rights of all migrants” concluded that despite a wide legal framework for the protection of migrants, and “a wide range of international, regional and national organizations and institutions dedicated to safeguarding their rights, migrants continue to experience violence, abuse and exploitation.”


According to U.N. Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants François Crépeau, “There is a sufficient normative framework in place; the issue is the implementation gap.”

“Migration affects all countries of the world and presents both opportunities and challenges,” said Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees and Migration Anne Richard.  And as one of the premier migrant destination countries, the United States has developed a broad range of best practices to protect the human rights of migrants.  Chief among them are protection against hate crimes; special protection for victims of human trafficking; and civil rights and labor protection.

In 2009, the United States enacted laws that expanded protections against violent assaults motivated by a victim’s race, color, religion, or national origin.  The United States grants victims of human trafficking who cooperate with law enforcement a special status that allows the victim to remain and work in the United States legally. 

A number of laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of national origin or citizenship status, offer special protection to children of immigrants and protect all workers in the United States, regardless of immigration status, said Assistant Secretary Anne Richard. 

“The United States is unwavering in its commitment to respect the human rights of all migrants, regardless of their immigration status, and we urge other States to do the same.”
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