People on the move

Across the globe, millions of people cross borders each year. Some flee war and persecution. Some seek new opportunities or to provide for their families. Others cannot cross borders and are uprooted and displaced by conflict, unable to return to their homes and communities.  

Whether crossing borders or displaced inside their own country, everyone has the same human rights, regardless of their circumstances. However, we know that many people are vulnerable to exploitation, abuses and discrimination. 

National human rights institutions play a vital role to safeguard the rights of migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, forcibly displaced persons, stateless persons and those at risk of statelessness. 

GANHRI seeks to support and equip our members in this work, as well as build partnerships in order to strengthen the capacity and impact of NHRIs.  

Supporting States, protecting migrants

In December 2018, the international community adopted a landmark accord that seeks to improve safety and protection for migrants.

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (Global Compact) sets out a common framework, shared principles and best practices to guide international migration. It seeks to foster cooperation between countries and promotes measures to strengthen regular migration pathways, tackle irregular migration and protect the rights of migrants.  

GANHRI played a key role in the global discussions leading to the development of the Global Compact. We also supported NHRIs to participate at all stages of the process. 

As a result, the Global Compact recognises the important role of GANHRI, regional networks and NHRIs in its implementation, follow-up and review at the national, regional and global levels.  

GANHRI, regional networks and NHRIs are committed to supporting States to fully implement the Global Compact.  

Our shared focus is to uphold the safety, dignity and human rights of all migrants, irrespective of their migration status. We also recognise the need to ensure specific support and protection is provided for women and children.

This is a priority for GANHRI and we will: 

  • Promote awareness among NHRIs and regional networks on the Global Compact follow-up and review processes  
  • Advise NHRIs and regional networks on how to engage in regional reviews, as well as national planning, implementation and follow-up activities  
  • Gather input from NHRIs and regional networks to document global trends, challenges and NHRI promising experience and practices 
  • Identify opportunities for global policy development, as well as knowledge sharing among NHRIs. 

GANHRI will also continue to engage with the International Migration Review Forum to present and advocate the views of our members and the regional networks. 

Safeguarding those in situations of vulnerability 

While countries have a sovereign right to determine conditions of entry and stay in their territories, they also have an obligation to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of all people within their jurisdiction, regardless of nationality, origin or immigration status. 

NHRIs in all parts of the globe have been forthright in upholding the rights of refugees and asylum seekers, as well as assisting displaced persons and stateless persons who can face additional barriers to accessing State services and exercising their rights.  

The broad mandate of NHRIs allows them to provide advice to government on laws and policies related to asylum, immigration, internal displacement, nationality or statelessness; handle individual cases; monitor cases of refoulement; monitor places of detention, facilitate access to redress mechanisms; and advise and train public authorities. 

Because NHRIs can make their findings and recommendations public at a national level, as well as share them with regional and international human rights bodies, they can bring increased visibility to issues related to the rights of refugees, asylum-seekers, displaced and stateless persons. This can strengthen collective advocacy to address pressing human rights issues. 

Partnerships for protection 

GANHRI and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, have developed a strong partnership to support NHRIs in their work to enhance protection of refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, returnees and persons who are stateless or at risk of statelessness. 

This practical support includes Guidance on UNHCR’s Engagement with National Human Rights Institutions (2020), a publication that examines the unique role and contributions of NHRIs and how partnerships with UNHCHR teams can make a lasting impact for people on the ground. 

In addition, the UNCHR-GANHRI Rights Desk Community of Practice, open to all UNHCR and NHRI staff worldwide, is a platform to connect with one another, share information, discuss promising practices and seek advice.