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

September 2018

Joint NGO Statement delivered at the 39th Human Rights Council concerning the Global Compact on Migration

On Tuesday 11th September QUNO delivered a joint NGO statement during the general debate on the first oral update from Michelle Bachelet, the new High Commissioner for Human Rights.  

The statement focused on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and called on states and the High Commissioner to make concrete efforts to ensure a human rights based implementation, follow up and review of the compact.

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September 2018

"We only have the Global Compact for Migration because of the witness of Human Rights defenders" : QUNO speaks at an OHCHR side event

On Thursday 27th September at the 39th Human Rights Council, Human Rights and Refugees representative, Laurel Townhead, spoke at a side event on migrants' Human Rights defenders, organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Paraguay. Laurel centered her presentation on the crucial role Human Rights defenders play in offering a counter narrative of compassion in an increasingly xenophobic global climate. She stressed how vital the witness of migrants' Human Rights defenders has been in creating the Global Compact for Migration, and how important it is now to celebrate its adoption, to ensure it has tangible power in improving the lives of people on the move. QUNO will be at the Intergovernmental Conference in Marrakesh this December, where the compact will be formally adopted.

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July 2018

QUNO publishes ‘Towards a Human Rights Based Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration – Paper #4 Compilation of Agreed Language’.

QUNO is working to support the adoption of an ambitious, effective and human rights based Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.  The Compact is the opportunity for States to strengthen the implementation of International Human Rights Law and build on the commitments they have made in the past. 

With this in mind, 'Paper #4' contains a compilation of agreed language that relates to the human rights of migrants from treaty law, General Assembly resolutions and Human Rights Council resolutions.  It has been compiled to provide an easy-to-use source to assist State representatives in ensuring that the Global Compact for Migration does not fall below or undermine existing standards.

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.  You can find the other papers in the link below. 

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