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Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants

Please, read the general remarks about the special procedures first.

Rights and Intended Situations

The Office of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of migrants was established in 1999. The Commission on Human Rights requested the Special Rapporteur “in carrying out her mandate and within the framework of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all other international human rights instruments, to request, receive and exchange information on violations of the human rights of migrants, wherever they may occur, from Governments, treaty bodies, specialized agencies, special rapporteurs for various human rights questions and from intergovernmental organizations, other competent organizations of the United Nations system and non-governmental organizations, including migrants' organizations, and to respond effectively to such information” (Commission on Human Rights resolution 2001/52 on human rights of migrants).

Implementation of the Procedure

Filing a Complaint

A model questionnaire has been prepared to simplify the presentation of cases of violation. It can be found here:

The complaint must at least contain the following information:

  • Identity of the person(s) or organization(s) submitting the inquiry;
  • Full name, age, sex and place of residence or origin of the supposed victim;
  • Indication of as many details as possible (name, age, sex and place of residence or origin) if it refers to a group or community;
  • Date and place of the incident (approximately, if the exact date is unknown)
  • Detailed description of the circumstances of the incident under which the presumed violation took place;
  • Identity of the suspect(s) (name if known, title/position, presumed motivation);
  • As the case may be, measures taken at the national level (for example, if the police had been informed, in case that other national authorities are involved, as well as a possible position of the government);
  • As the case may be, measures taken at the international level (for example, if other mechanisms have been called up).

Information and complaints can be submitted (specifying the pertinent special procedure) to:

Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants
c/o Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
1211 Geneva 10
Fax: +41 22 917 90 06
E-mail: urgent-action(at)
(please include as subject line: Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants)

Consequences of the Complaint

Once the Special Rapporteur received credible information concerning violations of human rights of migrants, he can address a communication, generally in form of a letter submitted by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, to the government concerned asking it to offer information concerning the allegation and to take preventive measures or to initiate an investigation. The communications can deal with cases of individuals, groups or communities, the general trends and development of human rights violations in certain countries as well as draft law or law in force subjected to apprehension. The communications are generally made in form of “urgent appeals” or “letters of allegation”. When there are multiple mandates for one case, the Special Rapporteur can submit joint communications.

“Urgent appeals” are used to provide information concerning current or imminent violations. They are submitted to inform the competent authorities as quickly as possible so that these can intervene to stop the human rights violation or to prevent it.

“Letters of allegation” are used to provide information concerning violations which have already taken place and which have had irreversible consequences for the supposed victim. This type of communication is used, for example, when the Special Rapporteur receives information on violations which have already been committed. With both types of communication, the Special Rapporteur asks the concerned government to take all appropriate measures to investigate and remedy the alleged violations and to submit the results of its intervention. According to the response, the Special Rapporteur can decide to pursue the investigation or to give recommendations.

Last change: 18.12.08 - 10:58