High-Level Meeting on Ensuring Respect for the Human Rights of Migrants at Borders: The Role of NHRIs

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2-3 June 2021, 10:00 – 12:30 CEST

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NHRIs play a key role in ensuring that the human rights of migrants are respected, including at borders. This includes, among others, protecting their right to asylum, adequate reception conditions, and protection against arbitrary detention, violence and refoulement. This role has been recognised by a variety of actors, such as the European Parliament and the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers. 

This online High-Level Meeting will focus on the future of the European migration and asylum frameworks, particularly in relation to the situation at the borders, and the role of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) to monitor, promote and protect human rights. The event, which will be held on 2 – 3 June 2021, will bring together NHRIs (represented by Head of Institutions, senior staff and migration experts) and key regional actors (at the level of the Council of Europe and the European Union, as well as leading NGOs).

Over the course of two days, panellists and participants will reflect on the key added value of NHRIs in promoting and protecting the human rights of migrants at European borders; they will identify opportunities for stronger cooperation between NHRIsregional stakeholders and NGOs, and discuss recommendations to national and regional authorities based on ENNHRI’s reports on migrants’ rights at borders (May 2021). 

Registration is required to join this event. Please register here.


Draft agenda

2 June 2021, 10:00-12:30 CEST

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10:00 – 10:05 Welcome and meeting objectives
Caroline Fennell, ENNHRI Chair; Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission
10:05 – 10:15 Presentation of main findings of ENNHRI’s Comparative Report on Migrants’ Rights at Borders (Download presentation)
Eva Tzavala, ENNHRI’s Asylum and Migration Working Group Chair; Legal Officer at Greek National Commission for Human Rights
10:15 – 11:15 Panel 1: Towards stronger cooperation with NHRIs in promoting and protecting the human rights of migrants at European borders
  • Angela Li Rosi, Deputy Director of the Regional Bureau for Europe, UNHCR
  • Henrik Nielsen, Head of Unit for Asylum, DG HOME, European Commission
  • Birgit Van Hout, Regional Representative for Europe at the OHCHR

Moderator: Maria Gavouneli, Head of the Greek National Commission for Human Rights

Q&A session

11:15 – 12:20 Panel 2: Creating an enabling environment for NHRIs and other human rights defenders when monitoring, promoting and protecting human rights at the borders
  • Tineke Strik, Member of the European Parliament
  • Nils Muiznieks, Europe Regional Director at Amnesty International
  • Inma Vazquez, Médecins Sans Frontières’ (MSF) Representative to the EU and NATO

Moderator: Tena Šimonović Einwalter, Ombudswoman of the Republic of Croatia

Q&A session

12:20 – 12:30 Wrap Up
Gabriel Almeida, Human Rights Officer at ENNHRI

3 June 2021, 10:00-12:30 CEST

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10:00 – 10:10 Welcome and recap of main points of previous day
Eva Tzavala, ENNHRI’s Asylum and Migration Working Group Chair; Legal Officer at Greek National Commission for Human Rights
10:10 – 11:15 Panel 3: From evidence collected at borders to shaping the development of policy and legislation at the regional level
  • Petra Maroša, JHA Counsellor for visas and borders, Permanent Representation of the Republic of Slovenia to the EU
  • Matthias Oel, Director for Borders, Interoperability and Innovation, DG HOME, European Commission
  • Milena Zajović, Border Violence Monitoring Network
  • Eva Tzavala, ENNHRI’s Asylum and Migration Working Group Chair; Legal Officer at Greek National Commission for Human Rights

Moderator: Beate Rudolf, Director of the German Institute for Human Rights

Q&A session

11:15 – 12:20 Panel 4: Triggering change at the national level towards the respect for human rights of migrants at borders through the work of NHRIs and other human rights defenders
  • Carmen Comas-Mata Mira, Director of International Relations, Ombudsman of Spain (Download presentation)
  • Meaghan Fitzgerald, Acting Head of ODIHR’s Democratization Department
  • Catherine Wollard, Secretary General of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles
  • Adriano SilvestriProgramme Manager on Asylum and Migration, EU Fundamental Rights Agency

Moderator: Erinda Ballanca, People’s Advocate of Albania

Q&A session

12:20 – 12:30 Moving ahead: respecting human rights of migrants at borders
Debbie Kohner, ENNHRI Secretary-General 

 


About the Migrants’ Rights at Borders project & Resources

In 2019, ENNHRI started a project co-funded by the European Union and supported in part by a grant from the Foundation Open Society Institute in cooperation with the OSIFE of the Open Society FoundationThrough different capacity-building, advocacy, communication and reporting activities led by NHRIs in Europethe project aims at contributing to better promotion and protection of the human rights of migrants at the borders. 

Under this project, ENNHRI has produced the following deliverables:

  • Background Paper on “Protecting human rights of migrants at borders: evidence and work of European NHRIs”, available here. 
  • Guidance on “Monitoring Human Rights at Borders: building on the mandate and functions of NHRIs”, available here. 
  • Statement on “Stronger human rights monitoring at Europe’s borders – why NHRIs are part of the solution”, available here. 
  • Complementary Guidance on “Monitoring human rights of migrants at borders during the Covid-19 pandemic”, available here. 
  • Article on “Protecting the rights of migrants during the pandemic: How have NHRIs responded?”, available here. 
  • Recommendations on “Independent Human Rights Monitoring Mechanisms at Borders under the EU Pact on Migration and Asylum”, available here. 
  • Article on “Joint Monitoring at Borders: practice of the Georgian and Armenian NHRIs in cooperation with UNHCR”, available here. 

In addition, five NHRIs (in Croatia, France, Greece, Serbia, Slovenia) are publishing national monitoring reports in May 2021 with the result of their visits at the borders. The main findings of the national reports will converge into a comparative regional report focused on common trends, exchange of good practices and challenges, as well as policy recommendations linked to regional developments, such as at the EU level. The regional report will be published in end-May 2021. 

Event resources

  • Download the preliminary findings of ENNHRI’s Comparative Report on Migrants’ Rights at Borders.
  • Download the presentation from Carmen Comas-Mata Mira (Spanish Ombudsman Office) on ‘Triggering change at the national level towards the respect for human rights of migrants at borders through the work of NHRIs and other human rights defenders’.

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