UN expert to assess migrants’ rights in EU

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, will undertake a one-year comprehensive study to examine the rights of migrants in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

The study will focus in particular on the management of the external borders of the European Union.

“Coupled with the development of the Schengen Agreement, and the strong political discourse surrounding migration in Europe, the purpose of this study is to examine these mechanisms and approaches from a human rights perspective, looking at the impact of policy developments made in Brussels on those migrants who find themselves at border crossings,” Mr. Crépeau said.

The study will include an examination of the EU directives and national policies in place with respect to visa regimes and border control. It will also assess management policies and practices, interception practices including on land and at sea, detention regimes and conditions, returns and readmission.

“Although migration to and from the European region is not a new phenomenon, since the 1990s the region has witnessed a sharp increase in migration movements,” noted the independent expert.

He reiterated his call to the international community “to embrace a new, balanced discourse on migration based on equal rights, non-discrimination and dignity, as well as on reality.”

The Special Rapporteur will visit Brussels from 7th to 9th May 2012, in the first stage of a year-long project, during which he plans to visit two key transit countries, Turkey and Tunisia; and then two of the main entry points into the EU, Greece and Italy.

During his three-day mission to the European capital, Mr. Crépeau will meet with a range of EU officials to discuss the various policies, agencies and laws involved in the management of the EU’s external borders, in particular focusing on the Euro-Mediterranean region. He will also meet with civil society organizations.

In each of the countries, the UN Human Rights Council envoy will request to visit reception centres, shelters and other accommodation for migrants, and border points. He will also meet with relevant national authorities responsible for border control and migration, as well as civil society organisations.

The project launched by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants will culminate in a thematic report which will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2013.

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