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14 - Consular protection

GCM Objectives
14 - Consular protection

Enhance consular protection, assistance and cooperation throughout the migration cycle

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) is based on 23 objectives. This page provides resources for objective 14 (Enhance consular protection, assistance and cooperation throughout the migration cycle):

“30. We commit to strengthen consular protection of and assistance to our nationals abroad, as well as consular cooperation between States, in order to better safeguard the rights and interests of all migrants at all times, and to build upon the functions of consular missions to enhance interactions between migrants and State authorities of countries of origin, transit and destination, in accordance with international law.


To realize this commitment, we will draw from the following actions:

(a) Cooperate to build consular capacities, train consular officers, promote arrangements for providing consular services collectively where individual States lack capacity, including through technical assistance, and develop bilateral or regional agreements on various aspects of consular cooperation;

(b) Involve relevant consular and immigration personnel in existing global and regional forums on migration in order to exchange information and best practices about issues of mutual concern that pertain to citizens abroad and contribute to comprehensive and evidence-based migration policy development;

(c) Conclude bilateral or regional agreements on consular assistance and representation in places where States have an interest in strengthening effective consular services related to migration, but do not have a diplomatic or consular presence;

(d) Strengthen consular capacities in order to identify, protect and assist our nationals abroad who are in a situation of vulnerability, including victims of human and labour rights violations or abuse, victims of crime, victims of trafficking in persons, migrants subject to smuggling under aggravating circumstances, and migrant workers exploited in the process of recruitment, by providing training to consular officers on human rights-based, gender-responsive and child-sensitive actions in this regard;

(e) Provide our nationals abroad with the opportunity to register with the country of origin, in close cooperation with consular, national and local authorities, as well as relevant migrant organizations, as a means to facilitate information, services and assistance to migrants in emergency situations and ensure migrants’ accessibility to relevant and timely information, such as by establishing helplines and consolidating national digital databases, while upholding the right to privacy and protecting personal data;

(f) Provide consular support to our nationals through advice, including on local laws and customs, interaction with authorities, financial inclusion and business establishment, as well as through the issuance of relevant documentation, such as travel documents and consular identity documents that may facilitate access to services, assistance in emergency situations, the opening of a bank account, and access to remittance facilities." (GCM, 2018: para. 30)

At the core of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is the principle of protection of the rights of migrants and assisting vulnerable migrants. The basis of Objective 14 lies in the fundamental right to diplomatic protection and consular assistance under international law, which is classified as customary rule of international migration law.  It is a well-established and a powerful practical mechanism that substantially contributes to the protection of migrants’ rights and is complementary of several other objectives of the GCM, as outlined hereinbelow, including the provision of consular documentation (GCM para. 20(c)) as well as consular support in situations of crisis (GCM para. 23 (j)), addresses the importance of consular assistance for migrants in vulnerable situations, such as victims of exploitation and abuse (GCM para. 23(e),(j), para 30 (d)), detained migrants (GCM para. 29 (e)) and missing migrants (GCM para 29 (e)).

Consular authorities also play a crucial role in acting like civil registry, to register birth of their citizen abroad, and other civil acts. They thereby contribute to prevent violations of rights of their citizen, notably preventing statelessness or issues related to proof of nationality and legal identity documentations (GCM para. 20(e)).

One of the gaps identified with respect to Objective 14 is in terms of the protection of the rights of stateless persons, who by definition do not have a state of nationality whose protection they could seek (sources on this here and here). The rights of Stateless persons need to be addressed more comprehensively in ongoing and future discussion on the rights of migrants.


Objective 14 in the text of the Global Compact

Objective 14 is also mentioned in the following sections of the GCM:

  • Objective 3 (para. 19(c), (e))
  • Objective 4 (para 20 (a), (c), (e))
  • Objective 7 (para 23 (e), (j))
  • Objective 8 (para 24 (c) , (d))
  • Objective 12 (para 28 (b))
  • Objective 13 (para 29 (e)) 
  • Objective 19 (para 35 (d), (f))
  • Objective 21 (para 37 (d))

The Global Compact for Migration (GCM) report is available in AR, ZH, EN, FR, RU, ES.

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