Migration policies should protect rather than infringe human rights – Ban
Migration policies should protect rather than infringe human rights – Ban
South African soldier apprehends illegal migrants from Zimbabwe
Migrants are a strong force of progress in their host countries and policies should protect, not infringe their human rights, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says, calling for States to ensure their inalienable rights are not violated.
“Migrants make vast contributions to host countries. As workers, they bring skills. As entrepreneurs, they create jobs. As investors, they bring capital,” Mr. Ban said in his message marking International Migrants Day, which is observed on 18 December each year.
“In advanced and emerging economies, they play an indispensible role in agriculture, tourism and domestic work. Migrants often care for the youngest and oldest members of society,”
In advanced and emerging economies, they play an indispensible role in agriculture, tourism and domestic work.
In spite of their contributions, Mr. Ban stressed that there are still many false assumptions surrounding migration that have led to the adoption of dangerous immigration policies.
“People view irregular migration as a crime. Many think migrants who lack proper documents are a danger to society and should be detained, or that all women who migrate to take up low-skilled jobs have been trafficked,” he said.
Mr. Ban emphasized that while States have the right to manage their borders, they also have the duty to abide by international human rights law, which establishes that “all persons, without discrimination and regardless of nationality or legal status, are entitled to enjoy fundamental rights.
“No migrant should be sent back to a place where he or she will be tortured. Every migrant woman should have access to health care, including reproductive health care. Every migrant child should be able to go to school.”
When migrants’ rights are violated and when they are marginalized, they are unable to contribute economically and socially to societies, Mr. Ban said, but when supported by the right policies, they can be a force of good for their countries of origin, transit and destination.
There are currently some 214 million international migrants worldwide, yet only 45 countries have ratified the International Convention on the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.
The Convention, adopted by the General Assembly in 1990, provides a framework for regulating international migration based on human rights.
“I call on all others to join this important treaty as a concrete affirmation of their commitment to protect and promote the human rights of all migrants on their territories,” Mr. Ban said, adding that “human rights are not a matter of charity, nor are they a reward for obeying immigration rules.”
Two independent UN human rights experts – Francois Crépeau, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, and Abdelhamid El Jamri, Chairperson of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families – echoed Mr. Ban’s remarks, and voiced grave concern about the tendency of States to criminalize irregular migration.
“The trend to criminalize irregular migrants or persons assisting migrants in an irregular situation not only runs contrary to humankind’s historical need and wish to seek and learn from new opportunities, but puts at risk fundamental human rights of people in search for a better life,” the experts said in a statement marking the Day.
“Dignity has no nationality. Human rights are everyone’s rights. As we celebrate International Migrants Day today, we call upon States to fully protect and promote the human rights of migrants, and to unblock the political will to ratify and effectively implement the Convention.”
MIGRATION, SUPPORTED BY RIGHT POLICIES, PROTECTIONS, CAN BE FORCE FOR GOOD,
SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS IN MESSAGE FOR INTERNATIONAL MIGRANTS DAY
Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for International Migrants Day, to be observed on 18 December:
Migration affects all countries — and so do myths and misperceptions about its impact. There are many false assumptions surrounding migration.
One such myth is that migrants are a burden. In reality, migrants make vast contributions to host countries. As workers, they bring skills. As entrepreneurs, they create jobs. As investors, they bring capital. In advanced and emerging economies, they play an indispensible role in agriculture, tourism and domestic work. Migrants often care for the youngest and oldest members of society.
People view irregular migration as a crime. Many think migrants who lack proper documents are a danger to society and should be detained, or that all women who migrate to take up low-skilled jobs have been trafficked. These and other unfounded beliefs lead to the adoption of migration policies that are irrelevant at best, or even dangerous.
States have the sovereign prerogative to manage their borders. But, they also have the duty to abide by their international legal obligations. Under international human rights law, all persons, without discrimination and regardless of nationality or legal status, are entitled to enjoy fundamental human rights. No migrant should be sent back to a place where he or she will be tortured. Every migrant woman should have access to health care, including reproductive health care. Every migrant child should be able to go to school.
Human rights are not a matter of charity, nor are they a reward for obeying immigration rules. Human rights are the inalienable entitlement of every person, including the world’s 214 million international migrants, as well as their family members.
Forty-five countries have ratified the International Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. I call on all others to join this important treaty as a concrete affirmation of their commitment to protect and promote the human rights of all migrants on their territories.
When their rights are violated, when they are marginalized and excluded, migrants will be unable to contribute either economically or socially to the societies they have left behind or those they enter. However, when supported by the right policies and human rights protections, migration can be a force for good for individuals, as well as for countries of origin, transit and destination.
Let us give meaning to International Migrants Day by taking constructive steps to leverage this global phenomenon into a force for progress.
Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Ban Ki-moon is the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations. His priorities have been to mobilize world leaders around a set of new global challenges, from climate change and economic upheaval to pandemics and increasing pressures involving food, energy and water. He has sought to be a bridge-builder, to give voice to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, and to strengthen the Organization itself.“I grew up in war”, the Secretary-General has said, “and saw the United Nations help my country to recover and rebuild. That experience was a big part of what led me to pursue a career in public service. As Secretary-General, I am determined to see this Organization deliver tangible, meaningful results that advance peace, development and human rights.”Mr. Ban took office on 1 January 2007. Highlights of his tenure have included:
Promoting sustainable development
One of the Secretary-General’s first major initiatives was the 2007 Climate Change Summit, followed by extensive diplomatic efforts that have helped put the issue at the forefront of the global agenda. Subsequent efforts to focus on the world’s main anti-poverty targets, the Millennium Development Goals, have generated more than $60 billion in pledges, with a special emphasis on Africa and the new Global Strategy on Women’s and Children’s Health. At the height of the food, energy and economic crises in 2008, the Secretary-General successfully appealed to the G20 for a $1 trillion financing package for developing countries and took other steps to guide the international response and protect the vulnerable and poor.
The Secretary-General pressed successfully for the creation of UN Women, a major new agency that consolidates the UN’s work in this area. His advocacy for women’s rights and gender equality has also included the “Unite to End Violence against Women” campaign, the “Stop Rape Now” initiative, the creation of a “Network of Men Leaders” and the establishment of a new Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. Within the UN itself, the Secretary-General has increased the number of women in senior management positions by more than 40 per cent, reaching the highest level in the Organization’s history.
Supporting countries facing crisis or instability
The Secretary-General has sought to strengthen UN peace efforts, including through the New Horizons peacekeeping initiative, the Global Field Support Strategy and the Civilian Capacity Review, a package of steps to improve the impact of the 120,000 United Nations “blue helmets” operating in the world’s conflict zones. A mediation support unit, along with new capacity to carry out the Secretary-General’s good offices, have been set up to help prevent, manage and resolve tensions, conflicts and crises. Accountability for violations of human rights has received high-level attention through inquiries related to Gaza, Guinea, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, legal processes in Lebanon and Cambodia, and advocacy for the “responsibility to protect,” the new United Nations norm aimed at prevent and halt genocide and other grave crimes. He has also sought to strengthen humanitarian response in the aftermath of mega-disasters in Myanmar (2008), Haiti (2010) and Pakistan (2010), and mobilized UN support for the democratic transitions in North Africa and the Middle East.
Generating new momentum on disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation
The Secretary-General has sought to rejuvenate the disarmament agenda through a five-point plan, efforts to break the deadlock at the Conference on Disarmament and renewed attention to nuclear safety and security in the aftermath of the tragedy at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
Strengthening the UN
The Secretary-Generalhas introduced new measures aimed at making the United Nations more transparent, effective and efficient. These include heightened financial disclosure requirements, compacts with senior managers, harmonization of business practices and conditions of service, the adoption of International Public Sector Accounting Standards, and continued investments in information technology and staff development.
The Secretary-General was born in the Republic of Korea on 13 June 1944. He received a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Seoul National University in 1970. In 1985, he earned a master’s degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.At the time of his election as Secretary-General, Mr. Ban was his country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade. His 37 years of service with the Ministry included postings in New Delhi, Washington D.C. and Vienna, and responsibility for a variety of portfolios, including Foreign Policy Adviser to the President, Chief National Security Adviser to the President, Deputy Minister for Policy Planning and Director-General of American Affairs.Mr. Ban’s ties to the United Nations date back to 1975, when he worked for the Foreign Ministry’s United Nations Division. That work expanded over the years, with assignments that included service as Chairman of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization and Chef de Cabinet during the Republic of Korea’s 2001-2002 presidency of the UN General Assembly. Mr. Ban has also been actively involved in issues relating to inter-Korean relations.The Secretary-General speaks English, French and Korean. He and his wife, Madam Yoo (Ban) Soon-taek, whom he met in high school in 1962, have one son, two daughters and three grandchildren. Since 2007, Mrs. Ban has devoted her attention to women’s and children’s health, including autism, the elimination of violence against women, and the campaign to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS.
> United Nations (UN).
The United Nations was established on 24 October 1945 by 51 countries committed to preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security. Today, nearly every nation in the world belongs to the UN: membership totals 192 countries.
When States become Members of the United Nations, they agree to accept the obligations of the UN Charter, an international treaty that sets out basic principles of international relations. According to the Charter, the UN has four purposes:
- to maintain international peace and security;
- to develop friendly relations among nations;
- to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights;
- and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.