Strasbourg, 6 October 2010 – John Greenway, Chair of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe today publicly welcomed the timely and outspoken position taken by the Global Migration Group* on the controversial issue of human rights of migrants in irregular situation.
“The strong and unequivocal statement by the Global Migration Group last week entirely reflects the stance taken by this Assembly in recent years. I particularly welcome the unambiguous demand that, in dealing with migrants in an irregular situation, member states must have regard to applicable human rights standards and guarantees at all stages of the migration process. Entering or overstaying in a country in violation of its immigration laws does not deprive migrants of their fundamental human rights, nor does it affect member states’ obligation to protect these rights.
As the key intergovernmental human rights organisation on the European continent, the Council of Europe has a particular role to play in ensuring respect for the rights of irregular migrants to human dignity, physical integrity as well as safety and freedom from discrimination and minimum social rights. “The issue may be controversial, it may be politically difficult,” said Mr Greenway, “but no one should be left behind, when it comes to certain basic and fundamental rights”..
Today, in a resolution on the activities of the OECD, the Assembly reconfirmed its position that the structural needs for labour in Europe as the economy recovers call for an examination of the possibility of regularisation of the status of irregular migrants in Europe who cannot or will not be returned to their countries, yet who are capable and willing to integrate in the European labour markets.
(* ) The Global Migration Group (GMG) is an inter-agency group bringing together 14 agencies (12 United Nations agencies, the World Bank, and the International Organization for Migration) to promote the application of relevant international instruments and norms relating to migration, and to encourage the adoption of more coherent, comprehensive and better coordinated approaches to the issue ofinternational migration.