Areas of Work

Refugees and Migrants

QUNO works to protect and strengthen the rights of refugees and migrants at the UN level. We seek to uphold the dignity and worth of every individual, regardless of circumstance, and work to see this equality of all people better reflected by the international community in the treatment of people on the move.

We work with the UN human rights mechanisms, as well as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and others to advocate for responses to people on the move that are firmly rooted in international human rights principles. Using our traditional methods of bringing different actors engaged in this work together, we aim to create a more humane global vision and approach to people on the move.

QUNO is actively engaged in the follow up to the New York Declaration, a high-level document agreed by States on the 19th September 2016 focussed on addressing large movements of people. The declaration sets in motion a series of processes at the UN level which aim to improve global governance in this area. QUNO sees this as a significant opportunity to develop a more rights-respecting global framework for addressing large movements of people.

Our work also involves engaging with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on refugee protection issues (in particular related to conscientious objection to military service), ending statelessness and other matters related to forced displacement.

Recent Timeline Events

June 2017

Towards a Human Rights Based Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration: Paper #3: Implementation, Monitoring and Accountability Mechanisms

This paper presents examples of implementation, monitoring and accountability mechanisms under six multilateral agreements that we believe can be learnt from in considering how to achieve an effective global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration. The examples draw on a range of international agreements from different areas of policy and range from long-standing UN mechanisms to very recent agreements for which the specific means of implementation are still under negotiation. This paper hopes to assist stakeholders in considering some of the potential options for effective implementation of this new international agreement.

This paper is part of QUNO’s paper series, “Towards a Human Rights Based Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration,” a set of contributions to the global compact on migration process. To access these papers, please see this section of our website.

Related Files

Related Areas of Work

June 2017

Key updates on migration issues

June saw several activities around the UN on the topic of international migration, including at the Human Rights Council’s 35th session and during the consultation phase for the ‘global compact on safe, orderly and regular migration.’

 

Human Rights Council

At the 35th session of the Human Rights Council, two resolutions were passed related to migration. Firstly, we welcome the Mexican-led resolution, ‘Protection of the human rights of migrants: the global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration’. Whilst we were hoping for stronger language in certain areas, the resolution provides a helpful contribution to the process towards developing a global compact, particularly mandating a report from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights with a global compact focus. The resolution also contains important references to the criminalization of irregular migrants and to the protection of migrants in vulnerable situations.

We also welcome the resolution on climate change and migration passed at this session, again focused on how the Council can contribute towards the global compact on migration, as well as work underway on these issues under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. We look forward to the intersessional panel mandated by the resolution, along with reports to future sessions of the Council.

This session was the last for current Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau as he reached the end of his mandate. During the session, an interactive dialogue was held where he discussed final report with States, on a 2035 agenda for facilitating human mobility. QUNO extends its thanks to François Crépeau for his significant contribution towards migrants rights over the past 6 years and looks forward to working with his newly appointed successor, Felipe Gonzales Morales.

Global Compact Consultations

The third thematic session of the consultations for the Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration was held on the 19th and 20th June in Geneva. This session focussed on ‘international cooperation and governance of migration in all its dimensions, including at borders, on transit, entry return, readmission, integration and reintegration.’

The topics covered in this session are some of the most problematic for the current protection of migrants’ human rights. We were concerned during the session about a lack of human rights and people-centred approach in the statements from many States, particularly around their policies on return and readmission of migrants and towards irregular migrants.

QUNO co-hosted a side event, together with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Mexican, Swiss, Portuguese and Philippine Missions on ‘Human rights perspectives on the governance of migration at borders and in the context of returns.’ The discussion was wide ranging, and in particular sought to highlight that the global compact’s content on borders and returns should be human rights based and compliant with existing international legal standards. The event featured the following speakers:

  • Craig Mokhiber, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (Moderator)
  • Erasmo Lara Cabrera, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mexico
  • Francois Crepeau, Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants
  • Mariane Quintao, International Detention Coalition Youth Ambassador
  • Jonas Bergmann, Global Public Policy Institute
  • Driss El Yazami, Chair of the National Human Rights Council, Morocco 

​​The discussion was wide ranging, and in particular sought to highlight that the global compact’s content on borders and returns should be human rights based and compliant with existing international legal standards. 

For more information about our work on migration issues, see the relevant section of our website.

Related Files

Related Areas of Work

May 2017

Initial Reflections on Implementation, Monitoring and Accountability Mechanisms ahead of a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration

QUNO's third paper on the process towards developing a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration will focus on mechanisms for implementation, monitoring and accountability in international agreements. Here we publish some initial reflections based on work to date analysing different implementation, monitoring and accountability mechanisms from various UN treaties and agreements. A full paper will follow shortly.

Our interim reflections highlight elements found in other international agreements that we believe can be learnt from in considering how best to build effective implementation, monitoring and accountability mechanisms into the Global Compact on Safe Orderly and Regular Migration. We share them at this stage for consideration ahead of the first thematic consultation towards the Compact, which will take place on 8th and 9th May 2017.

Related Files

Related Areas of Work