Rapporteurship on the Rights of Migrants
MANDATE OF THE RAPPORTEUR ON THE RIGHTS OF MIGRANTS
The Rapporteurship on the Rights of Migrants is one of the special mechanisms overseen by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The Commission created the Rapporteurship during its 91st Session in 1996. See, e.g., IACHR, Annual Report 1996, Doc No. OEA/Ser.L/V/II.95, 14 March 1997. The Rapporteurship’s mandate was modified in 2011, and now focuses on promoting the rights of “migrants and their families, asylum seekers, refugees, complementary protection seekers and beneficiaries, stateless persons, human trafficking victims, internally displaced persons,” and other groups that are vulnerable due to migration. See, e.g., IACHR, Mandate of the Rapporteurship on the Rights of Migrants. Its purpose is to analyze and address the unique challenges that migrants face, in order to promote and protect the human rights of migrant groups throughout the Organization of American States (OAS) Member States.
COMPOSITION AND WORKING METHODS
Typically, the seven Commissioners are allocated rapporteurships for a period of three years, which may be renewed once. However, the Commissioner appointed as Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants serves a four-year term, instead. Each Commissioner serves in an independent capacity and does not represent his or her country of citizenship. The Commissioner who holds the office undertakes his or her work on a part-time basis, including during the three times per year that the Commission is in session. One or more lawyers in the Commission’s Executive Secretariat, in Washington, D.C., assist the Rapporteur.
The Rapporteur has many duties, including conducting country visits, preparing specialized studies and reports, and making recommendations to OAS Member States, encouraging them to adopt measures that protect the rights of migrants. The Rapporteurship also advises the Commission in its processing of individual petitions, cases, and requests for provisional and precautionary measures that involve migrants’ rights. On its website, the Rapporteurship lists the Inter-American decisions and judgments addressing the rights of migrants. The Office of the Rapporteurship has also submitted a report to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, to influence its Advisory Opinion on migrants’ rights.
The Rapporteurship conducts country visits to OAS Member States, with their consent. The Rapporteur is often accompanied by other members of the Commission or members of the Executive Secretariat staff. During country visits, the Rapporteur engages with government officials, migrants, and civil society organizations. The visits allow the Rapporteur to expand his or her understanding of the challenges facing the enforcement of migrants’ rights. The Rapporteur uses this information to create reports and develop recommendations to Member States regarding the treatment of migrants. The Rapporteurship’s website provides links to country reports published by the Commission, following its visits.
Aside from information gathered during country visits, the Rapporteurship often gathers information through promotional activities on migrants’ rights, including the organization of seminars, workshops, and specialized meetings. The Rapporteurship is often invited to participate in intergovernmental meetings or regional meetings of international experts on migrants’ rights. The Office of the Rapporteurship also receives information from international organizations and research centers that work on migration issues.
Additionally, the Commission holds thematic hearings to gather information from States and civil society on particular issues. The Rapporteur may participate in these hearings or refer to the information discussed in subsequent reports. View the Commission’s searchable database of public hearings to see those related to migrants’ rights.
The Rapporteurship collaborates with the Commission to publish thematic reports on issues affecting migrants’ rights. The Rapporteurship has a duty to provide the Commission with annual reports of its activities, which the Commission then shares in its own Annual Reports to the OAS General Assembly. Within its annual reports to the Commission, the Rapporteurship also discusses investigations on issues concerning migrants’ rights, which are available on its website. To view reports on the Rapporteurship’s activities, see the Commission’s annual reports page.
The Rapporteurship may be contacted by:
Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
1889 F Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006
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