01 Oct 2021

Scoping paper explores how NHRIs can engage in EU asylum and migration policy

Drawing on European NHRIs’ activities, the paper examines how continued or stronger NHRI engagement would enhance the protection of migrants’ and asylum seekers’ rights at borders.

This engagement is mapped across four key thematic areas: procedures at borders, detention and reception, returns, and the involvement of EU Agencies. These were identified based on an assessment of ongoing EU legislative and policy developments in migration and asylum. Under each area, the paper highlights key regional developments and suggests NHRI actions to protect and promote the rights of the individuals concerned.  

Ongoing negotiations on EU legislative proposals provide momentum to redefine approaches to asylum and migration. There is scope for NHRI advocacy, both individually and through ENNHRI, to steer policymakers and legislators towards decisions that strengthen human rights protection.  

The paper sets out possibilities for NHRIs to cooperate with regional and international actors. Working with different EU institutions and agencies, bodies of the Council of Europe, and different United Nations mechanisms could boost the impact of monitoring activities and enhance respect for relevant human rights norms and standards.

At the same time, working with civil society organisations – especially those with a field presence – could strengthen NHRI engagement around border procedures, detention, reception, and returns. Cross-border NHRI cooperation could be particularly beneficial concerning returns and prevention of pushbacks. 

By outlining areas for action and regional cooperation, this scoping paper points towards opportunities for NHRIs in the evolving landscape of European migration law and policy.  The extent to which they can act on this practical and non-exhaustive guidance depends on their differing resources, mandates, and priorities. 

The paper has been produced under ENNHRI’s project on migrants’ rights at borders. 

» Read the scoping paper 

» Find out about the project  

» Discover ENNHRI’s work on asylum and migration