UN High-Level Dialogue On International Migration and Development

The issue of migrants caught in situations of disaster and conflict received considerable attention from states and policymakers during the United Nations High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development in early October, with both the UN Secretary-General and the Deputy Secretary-General emphasizing the need to address the matter of migrants caught in crisis in their opening and closing remarks, respectively.

During an interactive roundtable session (co-chaired by the United States and Mexico) that focused on measures to ensure respect for and protection of the human rights of all migrants, the Institute for the Study of International Migration (ISIM) was invited to make a three-minute intervention on the subject of migrants caught in crisis and transit situations, based on its current research in this area. Speaking on behalf of ISIM, Sanjula Weerasinghe put forth a number of salient points and recommendations relevant to protecting migrants caught in conflict and natural disasters. 

The four recommendations are as follows:

  • Crisis preparedness plans should take into account the presence and protection needs of migrants, and these plans should be duly implemented when a crisis occurs.
  • During a crisis, emergency services should be afforded to all migrants on the same basis as they are available to citizens, regardless of status.
  • The prohibition against refoulement and the principle of family unity should guide all action towards migrants caught in crisis and transit situations.
  • A more effective framework for protection is needed that clarifies the rights of migrants caught in crisis and transit situations, as well as responsibilities of all actors. To this end, IOM’s Migration Crisis Operational Framework, the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and other identified promising practices, provide an appropriate starting point.

To read the remarks in their entirety, click here.
To watch the United Nations Webcast of Interactive Roundtable 2, click here.
For information on the 2013 UN High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, click here.
More information on ISIM’s Crisis Migration project is available here.