End of Mission Statement: Migrants and the Mediterranean

François Crépeau, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants
5 February, 2015

“Banking on mobility to regain control of EU borders”

5 February 2015 (original posting)

Banking on mobility

Banking on mobility means that the overall goal is to have most migrants using official channels to enter and stay in Europe. For that, European Union (EU) member states must accept that migrants will come, no matter what, because there are either push factors or pull factors for them to do so. Any attempt at “sealing” borders, as the nationalist populist discourse stridently calls for, i.e. preventing irregular migrants from entering the EU without offering many more legal avenues for migration, will continue to fail on a massive scale. Sealing international borders is impossible, as Italy has recently recognised, and migrants will continue arriving despite all efforts to stop them, often at a terrible cost in lives and suffering.

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Banking on Regulated Openness and Mobility

Address to the Closing Plenary Session, “High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges: Protection at Sea”
11 December, 2014

François Crépeau, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants

11 December 2014, 3pm
Palais des Nations, Room XXII

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I’m sorry I missed your previous deliberations, as I just came back from a mission to Italy and Malta, precisely on the rights of migrants at the external borders of the EU. I hope not to repeat too much what has already been said.

My main conclusion is that, if we are to witness a significant decrease of deaths and suffering at borders, we must bank, not on strict closure and repression, but on regulated openness and mobility.

Migrants come due to push factors – conflict, natural disasters, persecution or poverty –, which are particularly strong at present due to the crises in Syria and the horn of Africa. They also come due to pull factors such as the unrecognized cheap labour needs of destination States, especially in construction, agriculture, hospitality or care-giving. None of these factors are likely to decrease in the foreseeable future.

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