NEW YORK (25 November 2014) – The United Nations General Assembly adopted two important resolutions on the rights of migrants and migrant children during its 69th Regular Session. Passed through the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee (Third Committee), the resolutions focused on Migrant children and adolescents and the Protection of migrants, respectively.
The resolution on Migrant children and adolescents (A/C.3/69/L.52/Rev.1) was sponsored by Algeria, Argentina, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burundi, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Turkey, Uruguay and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), and importantly adopted the 2012 Recommendation of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (para. 78) that:
“children, including adolescents, should not be subject to arbitrary arrest or detention based solely on their migration status”
The resolution encouraged States “to adopt alternatives to detention that take into account the best interests of the child, as a primary consideration, and respect the human rights of migrant children, including adolescents,” and reaffirmed that, “when exercising their sovereign right to enact and implement migration and border security measures, States have the duty to comply with their obligations under international law, including international human rights law, in order to ensure full respect of the human rights of migrant children”
The resolution also encouraged States to “promote national child and adolescent protection systems, in consultation with all sectors of society, including migrant communities, civil society organizations and other relevant actors.”
The Committee also took action on a resolution on the Protection of migrants (A/C.3/69/L.29/Rev.1), sponsored by Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, Honduras, Kyrgyzstan, Mali, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Paraguay, Peru, Tajikistan, Turkey and Uruguay, approving it without a vote.
Among other things, the resolution:
(a) Calls upon all States to respect the human rights and inherent dignity of migrants, to put an end to arbitrary arrest and detention and, in order to avoid excessive detention of irregular migrants, to review, where necessary, detention periods and to use alternatives to detention, where appropriate, including measures that have been successfully implemented by some States;
(b) Calls upon States to put in place, if they have not yet done so, appropriate systems and procedures in order to ensure that the best interests of the child are a primary consideration in all actions or decisions concerning migrant children, regardless of their migration status, and to use, when applicable, alternatives to the detention of migrant children;
For more information, contact IDC Advocacy Coordinator, Ben Lewis ([email protected]).