Latest migrant tragedy highlights shared responsibility of all countries – UN Migrant Workers Committee

From the OHCHR
16 April 2015

GENEVA (16 April 2015) – The latest loss of life in the Mediterranean Sea highlights the absolute need for European Union member states, as well as other states that are major destinations for migrants, to adopt a new approach to migration that places the rights of migrants at the forefront, the UN Committee on the Rights of Migrant Workers (CMW) has said.

“States of origin, destination and transit must also address the root causes that lead to smuggling and trafficking in persons,” the Committee said in a statement.

“Monday’s shipwreck with the reported loss of hundreds of lives is a human rights tragedy, not a natural tragedy, and once again evidence that the issue of irregular migration needs to be addressed through a comprehensive human rights-based approach, and that is the shared responsibility of all countries,” said Committee member Pablo Ceriani.

“We can no longer view these tragedies as some kind of administrative issue, overlooking the human dimension in all this. We are losing human lives, the lives of men, women and children. Irregular migration is a phenomenon that affects all of us in all regions of the world and that is why we need a durable solution,” said member Khedidja Ladjel.

Given the severity and repetition of such tragedies, the Committee asserts that it is time for States to make a clear commitment to ensure a comprehensive rights-based approach to migration, including its root causes, through short, medium and long-term measures at national, bilateral, regional and global level.

The CMW is also repeating its call to all states to ratify the International Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and their Families, which to date has only been ratified by 47 states. Most major countries of destination have not ratified it.

“The Convention sets out the best strategy to prevent abuses and address the challenges that migrant workers face. It also provides guidance on the elaboration of national migration policies for international co-operation based on respect for human rights and rule of law,” said CMW Chairperson Francisco Carrion Mena.

The Committee also voiced its endorsement of the Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights at International Borders recently published by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
In its statement, the Committee urges States to adopt these guidelines “to ensure that all migrants, regardless of their legal status, how they arrive at the border, where they come from or what they look like, are able to enjoy their human rights.”

The CMW, composed of 14 independent human rights experts, oversees implementation of the Convention by States parties.  Many of the 47 States parties are not only nations of origin but now also transit and destination countries given the changing patterns of migration.

To find out more about the Committee on Migrant Workers:

The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families:


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