24 October 2008States have an obligation to protect the human rights of migrants, according to a new United Nations-backed report, which warns that a lack of respect for migrants’ rights reduces their ability to contribute to the development of their destination countries. The report from the Global Migration Group, of which the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is a member, calls for stepped-up measures in both countries of origin and countries of destination to ensure that rights are protected and upheld. “Much of international migration is rooted in the fact that people are not able to fully exercise their human rights in their country of origin,” said Jose Miguel Guzman, the chief of UNFPA’s population and development branch, according to a press release issued yesterday.“Others are forced by conflict or environmental changes to leave their homes. We need to find new ways of international collaboration to protect the human rights of these individuals,” Mr. Guzman added.A significant challenge in protecting the human rights of migrants is the ratification, implementation and enforcement of existing human rights instruments. The report calls for data on migrants’ age and gender to be made available so that measures put in place to safeguard the human rights of migrants can be effectively monitored and assessed.“Detailed information can shed light on the determinants of relevant migration outcomes and on whether laws and regulations governing them are being applied fairly and consistently with universally recognized human rights,” the report noted. Cooperation among governments in countries of origin, transit and destination, as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society and migrants themselves is essential to ensure that international human rights instruments are implemented and that migrants are aware of their rights and obligations, according to the report.The report will be presented at next week’s Global Forum on Migration and Development in Manila, which will focus on the protection and empowerment of migrants in the context of development.
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