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Migrants’ Rights

Updated: Feb 8

Arila from Vision Factory

Author: Arila Baja

Date of Publication: 28/05/2023

What Rights do Migrants have?

Migrants have the same fundamental rights as everybody else. This is because international human rights standards are based on the premise that every individual has intrinsic worth.

So, all of the rights provided in the ICCPR apply to migrants, according to the Human Rights Committee.

Right to Life

Every migrant has the right to life, and states have a duty to prevent the willful deprivation of this right. In particular, governments should pursue cases of extrajudicial executions. That occurs while migrants are traveling from their country of origin to their country of destination or the other way around. Also, policymakers have the responsibility to reduce fatalities at land and maritime border crossings.

Migrants’ Rights

In general, a state is responsible for safeguarding and upholding the right to life of everyone who is at sea and on its territory. Likewise, the same happens with those whose ship comes into touch under international human rights law and maritime law. So, special laws apply to the protection and rescue of individuals at sea, particularly migrants. This is because they have been developed in international maritime law.

Equality and non-discrimination

International human rights law ensures that everyone, including migrants, is free from discrimination when exercising their human rights. The States Parties to the present Covenant agree to ensure that the rights enshrined in the present Covenant. Should be exercised without regard to race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status.

Protection against arbitrary arrest and detention

International human rights law prohibits the arbitrary arrest or imprisonment of people, including migrants. In order to establish that an individual was not wrongfully arrested and imprisoned. A State must demonstrate that other less intrusive measures besides imprisonment were investigated and ruled insufficient to indicate detention is not arbitrary.

Protection against arbitrary arrest and detention

Whether reporting obligations or other criteria would be less demanding means. This is actually to ensure that the migrant's status complies with local law. So, a migrant's protracted detention is not justified just by the need to wait for entrance approval or until removal procedures are completed.

Protection against torture or inhuman treatment

Torture must be prohibited by all states because it is a jus-cogens or overriding norm of international law. Even those who have not approved the relevant agreements. A State may never use extraordinary circumstances, such as war or a public emergency, to justify torturing people. Torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment are likewise prohibited by the ICCPR and other regional human rights agreements.


The prohibition of refoulement is a key premise of refugee law. Or the return of refugees to "land boundaries." Where their life or freedom may be jeopardized because of their race, religion, nationality, membership, or political beliefs." Non-refoulement is seen as a basic human right.

⮚ Prohibition against collective expulsion

Every state has to follow the prohibition on the collective deportation of immigrants. Regardless of the international agreements it has signed, it is part of customary international law. For example, the ICRMW prohibits mass expulsion of migrants and requires the State to decide each migrant worker's case individually.

Procedural Safeguards Individual Expulsion Proceedings

Governments have a responsibility to provide victims of violations of international human rights law with adequate, appropriate, and effective remedies. They must respect and maintain international human rights legislation as part of their obligations. The Human Rights Committee found that further processes are needed to secure the right to an effective remedy, and that the expulsion procedure must be submitted to a higher level of scrutiny. When a substantial human right may be infringed during an individual expulsion.


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