Press Release

IACHR Adopts Inter-American Principles on the Human Rights of All Migrants, Refugees, Stateless Persons, and Victims of Human Trafficking

December 30, 2019

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) published today Resolution 4/19,Inter-American Principles on the Human Rights of All Migrants, Refugees, Stateless Persons, and Victims of Human Trafficking, which was passed on December 7, 2019, during sessions held in San Salvador, El Salvador. The IACHR deemed it important to consolidate and deepen directives and guidelines to design, draft, implement, and assess public policies aimed at protecting and promoting the rights of migrants, refugees, stateless persons, and people who are displaced or mobile, in line with State obligations and with the applicable inter-American standards.

Through this resolution, the IACHR adopted a series of guidelines to support action by States, civil society organizations, and international organizations to gradually develop and implement the standards of the Inter-American Human Rights System and best practices observed in countries around the region and in other contexts around the world. The Resolution further presents general principles for public policy concerning migrants and refugees and develops guidelines on the operations of migration and border-control systems, basic social services, and local integration processes.

These Principles are the outcome of a comparative analysis and an online public consultation process conducted in 2018 by the IACHR and Georgetown University. Governments, non-governmental organizations, and international organizations—particularly the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)—all made their contributions throughout this process.

“These Principles are an important document and bring together technical legal efforts and humanitarian sensitivity,” said Commissioner Luis Ernesto Vargas, the IACHR’s Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants. “It is a real inter-American body of law on the protection of all people who are in conditions of displacement or human mobility, and it provides a response to the historical demands of the activists who defend these people’s rights,” Commissioner Vargas stressed.

“These long-awaited Principles are a powerful tool for governments, judges, civil society organizations, and all migrants seeking recognition and respect for their fundamental rights,” said IACHR President Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño. “This is a framework for international migration law and also a framework to strengthen local migration and integration policies through a human rights lens, where all societies stand to gain whether they are migrant or host communities,” said IACHR Executive Secretary Paulo Abrão.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 345/19