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UN human rights expert deplores failure to prevent migrant deaths

Xinhua,December 02, 2017 Adjust font size:

UN human rights expert deplores failure to prevent migrant deaths - Xinhua |

A UN human rights expert has deplored the failure of the international community to protect the lives of migrants and refugees, or to investigate their deaths.

"Mass casualties of refugees and migrants globally, a regime of impunity for the perpetrators and overall tolerance for these fatalities: this can only be described as a human rights and humanitarian crisis and it demands urgent attention," said Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, presenting her report to the UN General Assembly.

"Mass killings of refugees and migrants constitute an international crime whose banality in the eyes of so many makes its tragedy particularly grave," said the human rights expert. "All people's lives should be equally protected and all unlawful loss of life should be investigated, regardless of migration status."

She asked for the establishment of an international commission of inquiry. The absence of accurate data on dead and missing refugees and migrants only deepens this tragedy. Numbers recorded currently are certainly underestimates leaving untold the loss of life of thousands, she said.

"The worldwide failures to investigate these deaths are themselves additional violations of the right to life. This contributes to an international regime of impunity, deepens the invisibility of the violations, hides their victims, and makes for ill-informed policy decisions related to migration which may result in even further deprivation of life."

She emphasized that criminal networks and armed groups pose the greatest risks to migrants' lives, and that these risks are compounded by governments' failure to protect. Some states are themselves guilty of the unlawful killings of refugees and migrants, either by excessive use of force or by policies and practices that are intended to deter migration, she noted.

The 2018 global compact on safe, orderly and regular migration and the 2018 global compact on refugees should include a focus on the prevention of, and responses to, the arbitrary deprivation of life of refugees and migrants, she said.

UN special rapporteurs are independent persons appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate human rights situations in certain countries or in thematic areas. 

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