N° 30/08



            Washington, D.C., July 25, 2008 — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) approved Resolution 03/08, which refers to international standards that apply to migrants and specifically to the “Return Directive” adopted by the European Parliament on June 18, 2008. The Inter-American Commission views with concern the absence in the Directive of sufficient safeguards that guarantee respect for the rights of migrants.


            A basic and well-recognized principle in international law requires that countries not return persons at risk of persecution in their home countries and that safeguards be in place to protect the rights of individuals eligible to seek asylum. It also requires that individuals seeking asylum have access to a hearing, and that when a request for asylum is rejected, they have access to judicial review.


            Further, international standards establish that detention should be applied only as an exception and that if it is applied, the detention should be as brief as possible. In addition, migrants may not be held in prison facilities. Holding asylum seekers in a prison environment for immigration violations is incompatible with basic human rights guarantees.


            Moreover, countries are required to provide special protections or guarantees to migrants in especially vulnerable conditions. When it comes to decisions concerning children and adolescents, primary regard must be given to their best interest.


            International law provides that countries have both the right and the duty to establish mechanisms to control foreigners’ entry into and departure from their territory. At the same time, it provides that these actions must be taken with due respect for the rights of those affected, and that the observance of such fundamental principles as nondiscrimination and humane treatment may not be subordinated to the implementation of public policies.


            International standards, including those applied by regional human rights bodies, must be respected by all the States. In this regard, the Inter-American Commission exhorts the Parliament and Council of the European Union, as well as the States that comprise that organization, to modify the Return Directive to bring it into conformity with international human rights standards for the protection of migrants. 



Resolution 03/08—Human Rights of Migrants, International Standards and the Return Directive of the EU


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