Rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers

Graphic: People in immigration detention centre in Malaysia


Article

​Collaboration vital to secure migrant workers' rights

22 Nov 2016 Qatar
Migrants
Article

Monitoring immigration detention in the Asia Pacific

17 Nov 2016  
MigrantsMonitoring
Article

​SUHAKAM calls for inquests following deaths at immigration detention centres

26 Sep 2016 Malaysia
MigrantsMonitoring
Article

Commission offers alternatives to third country processing

26 Sep 2016 Australia
MigrantsMonitoring
More articles

Migration affects every region of the world, and many countries are now simultaneously countries of origin, destination and transit.

In our own region, people flee war and persecution in their home countries to seek protection elsewhere. Many make perilous journeys or pay people smugglers to cross borders, only to be detained by authorities while their claims for asylum are assessed.

Studies, including those by our members, highlight the profound impact that long-term detention has on the mental health of asylum seekers, especially children.

Migrant workers – those who migrate for employment – and their families account for about 90 per cent of all international migrants.

While migration is a positive and empowering experience for some, many migrants endure violations and discrimination at the hands of state officials, employers and others.

Migrants often work in jobs that are dirty, dangerous and degrading. They can be vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, including being forced to work during their holidays, being payed salaries irregularly or not paid at all, and having their passports or documentation withheld.

They can also experience limited access to fundamental economic and social services, such as education and health services.

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 individuals within their jurisdiction, regardless of nationality, origin or immigration status.


Graphic: Drawing of child in immigration detention


Given their experiences in overcoming adversity, refugees are typically resilient and hard-working ... They are often driven by a strong desire to give back to the country that offered them safety and freedom.

Australian Human Rights Commission Logo Professor Gillian Triggs, President, Australian Human Rights Commission

Responding to the human rights challenges of mass migration in the region is a priority for the APF and our members.

Many of our members regularly inspect immigration detention facilities, investigate complaints by detainees and make recommendations to the government for reform of laws, policies and practices.

Some, such as the Australian Human Rights Commission, have undertaken landmark national inquiries on children held in immigration detention.

Give the regional nature of migration, our members also work cooperatively to monitor the situations in the respective countries and share information on issues related to refugees and asylum seekers.

Similarly, APF members have established cooperative arrangements with each other to monitor and respond to the human rights issues facing migrant workers in "sending" and "receiving" countries.

Regular training programs bring together representatives from APF members and NGOs in the Asia Pacific to discuss emerging issues, develop practical strategies and forge relationships to promote the rights of migrant workers at the national, regional and international level.


Graphic: Migrant workers on a building site in Qatar

Promoting and Protecting the Rights of Migrant Workers: A Manual for NHRIs

This manual examines the different ways that NHRIs can use their unique mandate to promote and protect the human rights of migrant workers.

Statement

Seoul Guidelines on the Cooperation of NHRIs for the Human Rights of Migrants in Asia

04 Oct 2015 South Korea
Migrants
Paper

Joint Policy Paper on Migrant Workers

04 Oct 2015  
Migrants
Paper

Migrant Workers' Rights Handbook

04 Oct 2015  
Migrants
Report

Integrating Internal Displacement into the Work of NHRIs in the Asia Pacific

30 Sep 2016  
Migrants
More resources

Report

Integrating Internal Displacement into the Work of NHRIs: India

30 Sep 2016 India
Migrants
Report

Integrating Internal Displacement into the Work of NHRIs: Indonesia

30 Sep 2016 Indonesia
Migrants
Report

Integrating Internal Displacement into the Work of NHRIs: Nepal

30 Sep 2016 Nepal
Migrants
Report

Integrating Internal Displacement into the Work of NHRIs: Philippines

30 Sep 2016 Philippines
Migrants
More resources

Image credits

  1. People in immigration detention centre in Malaysia - Human Rights Commission of Malaysia
  2. Drawing of child in immigration detention - Australian Human Rights Commission