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Statement of Costa Rica on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in the Third Committee 68 (b,c) Promotion and protection of human rights: human rights of migrants

Wednesday, 29 October 2014
New York

Madame Chairperson,


I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

CELAC countries reaffirm our strong commitment to the promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, cultural, economic, political and social, including the right to development, for all. We also reaffirm that all human rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent and interrelated.

The human rights of migrants is a matter of particular relevance to our countries and, in this regard, we take note with appreciation of the reports, of the Secretary-General on the promotion and protection of human rights, including ways and means to promote the human rights of migrants and of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants.

The composition of societies, today, is the result of historic and contemporary migratory flows. Our region is the reflection of a mix of different peoples and we are proud of our multiethnic and multicultural character.

We acknowledge the complexity of migratory flows and that international movements also occur within the same geographical regions and from South to South and, in this regard, we call for a better understanding of migration patterns across and within regions and subregions.  

In this context, we would also like to highlight the increasing reversal of migration flows between the developed countries and Latin-American and Caribbean region, including the return of migrants to their country of origin and North-South migration.

In an increasingly globalized and interconnected world, human migrations with its various characteristics and implications should be properly and systematically addressed by all countries, and the international community, counting on the valuable contribution of relevant entities and actors at different levels. Thus, it is necessary that States of origin, transit or destination, work together to find solutions to the challenges that international migration represents in our time.

CELAC reaffirms  “…the need to promote and protect effectively the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants, regardless of their migration status, especially those of women and children, and to address international migration through international, regional or bilateral cooperation and dialogue and through a comprehensive and balanced approach, recognizing the roles and responsibilities of countries of origin, transit and destination in promoting and protecting the human rights of all migrants, and avoiding approaches that might aggravate their vulnerability”, as we all agreed in the Declaration of the High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development.

We are cognizant of the significant contributions that migrants make through tourism, investment and family remittances, inter alia. However, the latter should not be considered to be the replacement of Foreign Direct Investment, Official Development Assistance, Debt relief or other kind of public policies for development.

CELAC members acknowledge the importance for migrants to keep their links with their countries of origin, including their cultures, languages and traditions and while it is recognized that the skills of the Diaspora may be positively cultivated to foster development in countries of origin, the contribution of migrants to the countries of destination must also be recognized.

The contributions of migrants to the economic and social development of countries of destination are not sufficiently taken into account. Migration enriches our societies by making them more diverse and pluralist. We support the need to promote effective policies and strategies that contribute to more tolerant and integrated societies.

We strongly condemn acts, manifestations and expressions of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, including towards migrants, and encourage States to refrain from adopting measures that discriminate or stigmatize any group of people and can negatively impact migrants or the members of their families. 

We reiterate our concern about violations of the human rights of migrants as well as the deterioration of the working and employment conditions of migrant workers and their families in many countries. CELAC further recognizes the impact of the ongoing economic, financial and environmental crisis on the socio-economic situation of migrants.


Madame Chairperson,

We urge all countries to  promote and protect  the human rights of migrants, particularly migrant children and adolescents, migrant women, persons with disabilities, older persons, and indigenous peoples, regardless their migratory status.

According to the report A/69/277, it is estimated that there are 35 million international migrants worldwide under the age of 20, and 11 million between the ages of 15 and 19 years. Migrant children and adolescents, in particular those in an irregular situation, are exposed to grave human rights violations and abuses at various points in their journey. The report also indicates that in the absence of human rights safeguards, the consideration of international migration, in particular irregular migration, solely as a threat to national security can lead to human rights violations at international borders.

CELAC expresses its deep concern at the overall situation of vulnerability to which migrant children and teenagers in detention are exposed. We all committed, in the Declaration of the High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development “…to protect the human rights of migrant children, given their vulnerability, particularly unaccompanied migrant children, and to provide for their health, education and psychosocial development, ensuring that the best interests of the child are a primary consideration in policies of integration, return and family reunification.

Therefore, CELAC countries, mindful that the causes for migration are multiple, call on countries of transit and destination to effectively promote and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrant children and teenagers. Likewise, we encourage States to address irregular migration from a humanitarian perspective so that policies regulating the flow of migrants are implemented with special attention given to the principle of the best interest of the child, on the basis of the International Law and the international instruments of human rights, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

CELAC Member States reiterate that governments have the right to draft and implement policies governing the flow of migrants through its territory. However, we regret the adoption of regulations or provisions that criminalize the migrant in irregular situation affecting its fundamental right to be protected, especially when children and teenagers.

We regret that the discrimination and lack of healthcare services based on the migration status often affects early childhood development of migrant children, which affects them for life. We also commit to fostering the development of public policies aimed at creating conditions to enhance the overall development of our children and teenagers, as a way to safeguard their fundamental rights and improve their living conditions in order to discourage irregular migration.

The CELAC Member States attach particular importance to the protection of women and girls in migrant families and also reaffirm their concern about the vulnerable situation of female migrant workers, who suffer discrimination, violation of their human rights and lack of protection.

CELAC encourages States to implement gender-sensitive policies and programmes for women migrant workers. It is about time to undertake concrete actions to protect migrant workers, mainly women, when facing the various forms of exploitation and violence, and to ensure effective ways to respect their dignity, fair working conditions and productive employment and decent jobs, as well as their full integration to the labor force.


Madame Chairperson,

CELAC members recognize the important work done and the technical cooperation provided by the International Organization for Migration, and we also take this opportunity to recognize the efforts undertaken by Member States at the Global Forum on Migration and Development. However, we regret that these efforts are proved to be insufficient.

Of particular concern is the current tendency toward the exploitation of migrants. We consider of the utmost importance to take all measures in order to protect the migrants from the consequences of the activities of criminal groups, which profit of the vulnerability of migrants, that can be exacerbated by a lack of channels capable to ensure a regular and orderly migratory flow.

CELAC Member States are committed to intensifying measures aimed at preventing and combating trafficking in persons in all its forms, including trafficking of migrants, as well as smuggling. We need to ensure the full protection and care for victims of these crimes, especially women, children and adolescents. At the same time, we urge all States to establish and strengthen appropriate focal points for coordination between countries of origin, transit and destination in order to combat these crimes.

CELAC also recognizes the importance of the right of migrants to a safe voluntary return to their countries of origin and the need to create domestic, social and political conditions to provide opportunities for them. In this regard, we encourage countries of origin to formulate and implement national policies and strategies that would discourage unsafe migration which may result in loss of life of migrants.

CELAC considers that coherence, cooperation and dialogue among all the relevant actors in the migration phenomenon, in particular among countries of origin, transit and destination, is crucial in order to maximize the potential benefits of migration and overcome its challenges. In this regard, we acknowledge the significant socio-economic and security challenges that migration can pose to transit and destination countries, and therefore Member States of CELAC are committed to addressing these challenges through a coherent, integrated and multidimensional approach through dialogue and cooperation, and with the assistance as appropriate, of the international community.

In this regard we welcome the convening of the Third Meeting on Migrations held by CELAC in Azogues, Ecuador, on 22 and 23 October 2014, that addressed important themes such as: “human mobility of unaccompanied Minors” and “the right to family reunification.”

In view of the challenges confronting migrants globally, CELAC takes this opportunity to invite Member States which have not yet done so to sign or ratify the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

Finally, CELAC underlines that migration needs to be considered in an integral manner during the negotiations for the establishment of the Post 2015 Development Agenda and therefore, we call for including this topic with an inclusive and comprehensive perspective, with due regard to the promotion and protection of Human Rights of migrants.


Thank you