Migrants’ Rights

Migrants leave their country to escape persecution, war, poverty, violation of basic human rights, and threats to their personal safety. After what in most cases is a dangerous journey, some of these individuals will be recognized as refugees; however, many others will be offered little to no legal protection.

Migrants are consistently subjected to human rights abuses, including undue incarceration, violence, sexual assault, and lack of due process. Moreover, the past few years have been some of the deadliest for migrants on record. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that during 2016, at least 7,509 migrants died globally, of which 5,083 are reported to have died while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea—the majority crossing through Northern Africa.

The root causes of what has been dubbed the “migrant crisis” in Europe are likely to proliferate in the coming years due to armed conflicts, political instability, economic need and the effects of global warming. The Fund has begun to mobilize efforts to foster a global migrants’ rights movement that is both close to the ground and capable of international-level advocacy.

Due to overwhelming need, the Fund supports dynamic organizations primarily in Latin America and in the Euro-Mediterranean region that are committed to securing basic rights and freedoms for migrants.

The Fund has identified three strategic areas to focus its support:

  1. Reduce death and violence during the migration journey: The Fund supports work to monitor and document deaths; expose violence and abuse suffered at the hands of traffickers, border control and armed groups; advance legal efforts to hold authorities accountable for violations; and improve the handling of bodies of migrants who have died in transit.
  1. Promote the rights of migrant children: The Fund supports efforts to monitor, document and report on the detention of children migrants in transit; promote their rights to legal identity; secure their access to health and education services; and educate local authorities on rights of child migrants.
  1. Advocate for migration policies that respect migrants’ rights: The Fund supports advocacy to improve migration policies and ensure migrants’ access to basic services; challenge adoption of agreements between the EU and countries around the Mediterranean that lead to increased risks on the life of migrants; and urge greater transparency in the adoption of such agreements.

Our work is bringing resources, safety, and justice to migrants around the world. For example:

  • Grantees FJEDD in Mexico and COFAMIPRO in Honduras successfully pressured the Mexican government to spearhead a transnational mechanism that will enable families from Central American countries to initiate investigations of the disappearance of their loved ones during their journey and share DNA and other evidence.
  • Fund grantees GADEM, ALECMA and Caminando Fronteras were among the first organizations to report the large-scale arrests of Sub-Saharan migrants in Tangiers on February 11, 2015 and press for the successful release of asylum seekers, pregnant women and children.
  • Fund grantee Association Mauritanienne des Droits de l’Homme (AMDH) reported abuse perpetrated by police against migrants in Rosso who had been rounded-up and were awaiting forced return to Senegal. As a result, in October 2016, the two highest-ranking police officers at the Rosso detention center were removed.