Global Migration Governance: Avoiding Commitments on Human Rights, Yet Tracing a Course for Cooperation

Crépeau, F.; Atak, I. (2016)

Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights

34(2) | 113-146

This article maps the global governance processes on migration and assesses whether the human rights of migrants are effectively included and mainstreamed therein. It is argued that the lack of a comprehensive framework for migration governance and the insufficient focus on the human rights dimension in migration management have led to serious human rights violations in the treatment of migrants and asylum seekers, and to a lack of oversight and accountability when these violations occur. The article commences with an examination of the legal and normative framework related to the three areas that have been the main objects of global migration governance: the refugee regime, international labour standards and transnational criminal law regarding human trafficking. It goes on to explore the complex institutional framework of global migration governance and how it has been mostly informal, ad hoc, non-binding and State-led. The article concludes with a discussion on the future perspectives for a human rights-centred approach in global migration governance. It is contended that there is a need to bring the migration dialogue inside the United Nations, as it already plays a key role in international cooperation, with human rights as one of its pillars.