International Migration, Health and Human Rights Report

Switzerland - IOM, in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has published a new report on “International Migration, Health and Human Rights”.

The publication will be featured at a high-profile meeting “Migration and Human Rights: Towards the 2013 High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development” that will take place on 4th September at the Palais des Nations.

The report examines the effects of the migration process on migrant health, as well as the protection offered to migrants through human rights instruments.

It explores the multifaceted health and human rights challenges that migrants face and reports on recent developments in this area.

The aim of the publication is to provide inspiration to policymakers to devise migration policies and programmes that are guided by public health considerations and human rights imperatives, with a view to protecting the human rights and improving the health of both migrants and the communities in which they live.

With this publication the three organizations are promoting the principle that the realization of the rights of migrants is a sound public health practice that benefits all.

WHO Director General Margaret Chan says that four principles should guide a public health approach in the context of migration. These are to: “Ensure fair access to health services, protect the fundamental right to health for migrants, put life-saving measures in place when migration results from conflicts or disasters, and guard against adverse health consequences associated with the stresses that often accompany migration.”

Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, stresses the plight of migrants in an irregular situation. “These migrants are more likely to be denied basic labour protections, due process guarantees, personal security and healthcare. They are vulnerable to suffering prolonged detention or ill-treatment, and in some cases enslavement, rape or even murder,” she notes.

“Migrants have proved time and again their positive contribution to the development of societies and economies. Their exclusion from health services and policies is not only a denial of the basic human right to health,  but also a misguided pandering to public fears and perceptions of migrants as a burden on social services,” says IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.

The publication can be downloaded on

For more information, please contact

Barbara Rijks
Tel. +41 22717 9270.