Migration Patterns

Irregular Migration, Migrant Smuggling and Human Rights: Towards Coherence

Author : International Council on Human Rights Policy | 2010
Published By: International Council on Human Rights Policy

This report examines the political predicament that confronts governments and other political actors when they address the issue of irregular migration. Primarily, it sets out the rights, and claims to protection, that migrants are entitled to make under international human rights law and other forms of international law. Recognising that states have a responsibility to manage their borders, and that states and the societies they govern have a common interest in promoting their prosperity, it argues that it is not in fact in the real interest of governments to criminalise or scapegoat irregular migration. Migration brings many benefits, as well as some costs. Moreover, it is an ancient feature of human society that states cannot suppress without sacrificing values that are fundamental to social wellbeing and trust. In terms that we hope are realistic, the report argues that, for ethical reasons but also reasons of interest, states should shun xenophobic rhetoric, which permeates most public discussion of irregular migration and policies designed to address it. Instead, states should affirm their commitment to protect the rights of all those who fall within their legal responsibility, including migrants, because they too are human beings entitled to protection.

URL : http://www.ichrp.org/files/reports/56/122_report_en.pdf

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