Human rights of irregular migrants
24 March 2004
Motion for a recommendation
presented by Mr Tkác and others
This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only the members who have signed it
1. The scale of illegal migration has considerably increased in recent decades, becoming a major domestic policy issue for the majority of Council of Europe member States. However, the main question which the governments are concerned with is how to control migration flows, and how to stop illegal migration. The problem of rights of people already residing illegally on the territory of the host country is almost entirely overlooked in the national debates and absent from political agendas. Yet very often the basic human rights are in question.
2. The conventions of the Council of Europe limit their scope to the protection of the rights of lawfully resident migrants (e.g. the European Social Charter or the European Convention on the Legal Status of Migrant Workers) with the exception of the European Convention of Human Rights which applies to all persons within its jurisdiction.
3. As to the other international instruments, there is certain ambiguity concerning their application to the specific situation of undocumented migrants. This is the case for the UN International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, and the ILO Migrant Workers Convention No. 143 of 1975.
4. At national level the legislation framework is even more unclear as far as its application to undocumented migrants is concerned. Furthermore, administrative practices frequently do not follow the legislators intentions. Last but not least, irregular migrants are very often prevented from access to existing rights. This can be well illustrated by the question of access to free medical care available in theory for everybody irrespective of their legal status in some countries. However, medical services are obliged to transmit information about illegal residents to the relevant authorities which then proceed to the expulsion of illegal migrants.
5. The Parliamentary Assembly has shown its concern with the irregular migration in its Recommendation 1577 (2002) on the creation of a charter of intent on clandestine migration, and Recommendation 1467 (2000) on clandestine immigration and fight against traffickers. There is a need, however, for a strictly human rights approach which would take account of the situation of irregular migrants in the legal (e.g. vis-ŕ-vis employers), economic and social areas.
6. Therefore the Parliamentary Assembly considers it necessary to examine the present situation of illegal migrants in Council of Europe member States, set up a minimum level of rights protection harmonized at the European level and take measures which would ensure access of clandestine migrants to their rights.
Tkác, Slovakia, EDG
Bilozir, Ukraine, NR
Brunhart, Liechtenstein, EPP/CD
Cliveti, Romania, SOC
Filipiová, Czech Republic, EDG
Gülçiçek, Turkey, SOC
Hancock, United Kingdom, LDR
Hoffmann, Germany, SOC
Ilascu, Romania, NR
Judd, United Kingdom, SOC
Popa, Romania, SOC
Vermot-Mangold, Switzerland, SOC
Zapfl-Helbling, Switzerland, EPP/CD
Group of the European Peoples Party
European Democratic Group
Liberal, Democratic and Reformers Group
Group of the Unified European Left
Not registered in a group