UN experts: Governments should guarantee access to services for all migrants, regardless of migratory status

December 18, 2015


On the occasion of International Migrants’ Day, 18 december 2015, United Nations experts on the rights of migrants have called on governments across the world to guarantee access to services for all migrants, regardless of their migratory status.

The Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Francois Crepeau, and the Chair of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, Francisco Carrión Mena, urged States to separate immigration enforcement from access to public services. Public service officials should be able to perform their important social missions without interference from anyone. All migrants, regardless of their status, must be able to seek access to justice and to social services such as health care, education, police and social services without fear of being denounced to immigration enforcement authorities, detained and deported.

Right to health

The right to health was singled out as an example of a right that is frequently violated. “Migrants may be more exposed to poor health by virtue of their often low socioeconomic status, the sometimes harrowing process of migration, and the precariousness of their condition as non-nationals in the new country. Access to health care for migrants and the level of such care varies enormously, depending on the State in focus, as well as on immigration status. The mental health of migrants is an issue of concern, as factors such as human rights violations before or during the migration process, social isolation caused by separation from family and social networks, job insecurity, difficult living conditions, detention, and exploitative treatment, could have very adverse effects.”

Abuse of migrant domestic workers

Another issue of concern is the health and rights of female migrant workers engaged in domestic services. “There appears to be a widespread pattern of physical, sexual and psychological abuse of migrant domestic workers, and they are also often exposed to health and safety threats without being provided with adequate information about risks and precautions. Migrant women and girls also often experience more problematic pregnancies and gynecological health issues, when compared to the host population.”

Read the full statement (website OHCHR)