High-level official opening of the GANHRI Annual General Conference

March 6, 2019

Ensuring human rights-based and gender-responsive implementation, follow-up and review of the Global Compact for Migration: The role of National Human Rights Institutions

Prof Dr. Rudolf, Madam Chair of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions; His Excellency, Ambassador Aspelund, Vice-President of the Human Rights Council; Ms. Gagnon from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights;  

Excellency’s, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen, On behalf of the Administrator of UNDP, Mr. Achim Steiner, it is my honour to address this opening session of the GANHRI Annual Conference.

With over 258 million migrants internationally, the world is on the move.  Migration is a manifestation of globalization as well as human impulse. In some countries, migration is unfortunately the result of poverty, inequality, climate change or conflict.  However, in many countries, migrants are a source of prosperity, innovation and sustainable development.

UNDP has long been engaged in addressing the root causes of migration in countries of origin, transit and destination.  We work on governance, poverty, climate change and conflict prevention to contribute to addressing forced displacement and these efforts have always been at the heart of UNDP’s mission – under the overall framework of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.  

Last year in December, the Global Compact of Migration has brought international efforts into focus and has also highlighted clearly the centrality of human rights to these efforts. We must applaud member states for the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and work together to support the implementation.

The Global Compact is a milestone that has established a practical, framework for cooperation. Like the Sustainable Development Goals, the Compact is grounded in human rights and emphasizes that migrants should be entitled to the same universal human rights and fundamental freedoms as general populations, which must be respected, protected and fulfilled at all times.

The Global Compact also emphasizes the essential role that National Human Rights Institutions can play in making this a reality: in early warning efforts, service provision, to combat intolerance and discrimination and in supporting rights-based migration procedures.  Therefore, the theme of your discussion at this conference is very timely.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Migration and displacement will continue to be a major international phenomenon in 2019. Many issues which prompt and relate to migration do not respect geographic borders. They cannot be tackled effectively by one nation or one action.

NHRIs in countries and the regional and global network of NHRIs are well placed to advance efforts of national implementation of the Global Compact. And also to advance the vital regional and cross-regional aspects of cooperation that will be required to support implementation.

We must not tolerate abuse and prejudice that can make life unbearable for a minority of migrants. We must work together to create conditions for migrants to fully contribute to sustainable development in all countries in a way that ensures their rights are respected, protected and fulfilled.

Moving ahead partnerships will be of the essence: UNDP is privileged to enjoy a Tri-Partite Partnership to support National Human Rights Institutions jointly with the UN Human Rights Office and GANHRI. This support to strengthen national human rights systems forms the cornerstone NHRIs form the cornerstone of national human rights systems which UNDP supports and this partnership has gone from strength to strength in recent years at the global level and now regionally and in countries.  We are also conscious of the fact that NHRIs are included as a target to achieve SDG 16, which will be reviewed at the High Level Political Forum this year in July and we hope to step up our support.

One example is in Central Asia. In 2019, we are planning to work with OHCHR and the Asia-Pacific network to increase technical cooperation between NHRIs in that sub-region, specifically on how to protect and promote the rights of migrants in countries or origin and destination and whilst in transit.  We look forward to working with you and benefiting from the discussions at this Conference to jointly plan how we can be of service to the implementation of the Global Compact.

Ladies and Gentlemen, lastly today I would like to take a moment to pay tribute to and recognize the excellent achievements of the outgoing Chairwoman of the Global Alliance – Prof. Dr. Beate Rudolf.    Dr. Rudolf started her tenure as Chair with a clear vision to advance the contribution of the role of GANHRI representing NHRIs from around the world who, in turn, represent the voiceless in our societies. Throughout your tenure, you have steadfastly led the international community in working together towards these goals through our Tri-Partite Partnership and we extend sincere gratitude to you.

It has been a pleasure for UNDP to work with you. We also take this opportunity to congratulate the incoming Chair Mr. Carlos Negret Mosquera who will no doubt continue this excellent work and further our cooperation. 

Thank you.