UN Network on Migration Statement: "Freedom From Racial Discrimination is a Right, Not a Privilege"


Publication date

Mar 24, 2021


The UN Network on Migration released a statement on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.


This weekend marked the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, March 21st 2021. The UN Network on Migration released a statement calling on States to scale-up efforts to condemn racial discrimination and to pursue, by all appropriate means, the elimination of all forms of discrimination. 

Migrants provide essential contributions to all societies, but too often they are faced with the interlocking injustices of racism and xenophobia. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen those expressions of hatred amplified, but it also provides an important moment for States to step up their efforts to combat racism. 

In line with the 2021 theme of “Youth standing up against racism,” the Network calls on States to increase efforts towards building inclusive and tolerant societies where migrant youth and children are empowered as agents of positive change, regardless of their migration status. 

Combatting racial discrimination is embedded in both the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, in its Objective to Eliminate Discrimination and its People-Centred guiding principle, and in the Sustainable Development Goals’ commitment to “Leave No One Behind.” To achieve the obligations set out in these frameworks, the UN Network on Migration calls on States to:  

  • Amend any laws and regulations which have the effect of creating or perpetuating racial discrimination;
  • Enact, implement or maintain legislation that penalizes hate crimes and aggravated hate crimes targeting migrants;
  • Empower migrants and communities to denounce any acts of incitement to violence directed towards migrants by informing them of available mechanisms for redress;
  • Guarantee access to justice, including effective remedies for victims of hate crimes and other acts of violence that target migrants;
  • Ensure that all expressions, acts and manifestations of all forms of racism, racial discrimination, violence, xenophobia, and related intolerance are effectively addressed and those who actively participate in the commission of a hate crime targeting migrants are held accountable, in accordance with national legislation;
  • Take immediate and concrete measures, especially in the fields of education, culture, and information, to combat racial and xenophobic prejudice and promote understanding, tolerance, and friendship;
  • Ensure, in conformity with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the availability of high-quality, timely, reliable and disaggregated data, while upholding the right to privacy under international human rights law and protecting personal data; and,
  • Dedicate targeted resources to schools with a high concentration of migrant children for integration activities to promote respect for diversity and inclusion and prevent all forms of discrimination.

Read the full statement from the UN Network here