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Informal thematic session on the human rights of all migrant, social inclusion, cohesion, and all forms of discrimination, including racism, xenophobia and intolerance,  Genève 8-9. May 2017 – Danish statement

08.05.2017  16:21

Thematic session on Human rights of all migrants
Statement by Ambassador Carsten Staur of Denmark
8 May 2017

Aligning with the statement made on behalf of the EU and its member states I would like to emphasize that the protection and promotion of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants is key to our dealings with migration issues and must be centre stage in our endeavours to establish a global compact on migration.

Human rights, good governance and rule of law are pillars of peace, stability and progress – and their upholding is in the interest of all. Denmark considers human rights a cornerstone of international cooperation and is aiming at a seat at the UN Human Right Council for the term 2019-2021.

Gender equality is of special concern when addressing the challenges linked to migration – as female migrants are particularly exposed to human rights violations. We need to ensure women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights - not only for women living in their home countries but also for female migrants while en route and upon arrival in destination countries.

Our point of departure for the work ahead is strong. We already have the necessary human rights norms and obligations at hand – what we need is effective implementation of existing rules and standards.

The focus of the Global Compact process for safe, orderly and regular migration should therefore not lead to new legally binding instruments.

On this basis, Denmark welcomes the discussion on identifying potential gaps in the implementation of international law protecting migrants, including migrants in vulnerable situations.

Any guidelines on how to address such gaps must, however, be based on - and held within the framework of - existing international law and obligations.

Instead of creating new legal standards, we must spur international cooperation to implement agreed rules and regulations, increase our understanding of interlinkages between different policy areas and come up with concrete proposals for fulfilling existing commitments and obligations.

It is fundamental that we maintain a clear distinction between migrants and refugees in order not to put our international regime for the protection of refugees at risk.

An inherent element in these efforts must be to ensure that all states live up to their international obligation to readmit their own nationals and the facilitation thereof, including those that do not have legal permission to stay in another country. This is an important prerequisite for safe, orderly and regular migration.

In Denmark, we have a national action plan aimed at combatting trafficking in human beings. Danish legislation ensures a comprehensive protection against all kinds of discrimination on the grounds of race and ethnic origin. Furthermore, foreign nationals who have been granted a residence permit can make full use of the free Danish school, education and health system on the same level as everyone else in Denmark.

The task to establish a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration is comprehensive and we will all be challenged on the way. But we look forward to engaging further in the process ahead of us.
Thank you.