May 2024

Ending lethal disregard for people on the move

QUNO’s Human Rights and Refugees (HRR) Programme participated in the intersessional panel discussion on avenues to prevent and address human rights violations and abuses against migrants in transit and to ensure access to justice for victims and family members on 15 May 2024. The intersessional discussion was mandated by a resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council (HRC) in June 2023 as a result of collaborative advocacy to end the deadly impact of dehumanization of migrants. Despite language in the resolution calling for meaningful participation, UN resource limitations led to a format which severely restricted engagement from migrants and their families in the discussion. In an effort to counter these limitations and centre migrants experiences and expertise, QUNO facilitated a closed, hybrid and multilingual discussion at Quaker House at the beginning of May to feed into the intersessional by enabling those in Geneva to hear directly from people with experience of pushbacks and immigration detention.

Intentional and meaningful migrant participation is essential in ensuring the human rights and dignity of all people. In an effort to match words and actions, QUNO’s contributions to the intersessional were based on inputs made from migrant representatives it works closely with. Arbitrary and indefinite detention centers, torture and ill treatment at borders and in detention, pushback, and lack of access to legal support and family reunification are just some of the human rights violations and that are having severe psychological and intergenerational consequences. Despite multiple reports to HRC detailing serious and widespread violations at international borders, grave human rights violations and abuses persist with impunity, enabled and exacerbated by a lack of accountability and access to justice. QUNO thus reiterated its call to the HRC during the intersessional to establish an independent monitoring mechanism on human rights violations at borders, supported by over 200 NGOs, also echoed by a Member State and the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants during the intersessional.

QUNO’s HRR programme remains steadfast in its commitment to ensuring every individual is treated with dignity and respect. Acknowledging the disparity between the present reality and where we want to be, the call for meaningful action resonates now more urgently than ever.

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