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Regular Pathways for Migrants in Vulnerable Situations

Around the world, the human rights of millions of migrants, including many involved in large or mixed movements, are insufficiently protected or at risk of abuse. In the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, states recognized the complex nature of contemporary migration: “Since earliest times, humanity has been on the move. Some people move in search of new economic opportunities and horizons. Others move to escape armed conflict, poverty, food insecurity, persecution, terrorism, or human rights violations and abuses. Still others do so in response to the adverse effects of climate change, natural disasters (some of which may be linked to climate change) or other environmental factors. Many move, indeed, for a combination of these reasons.” While migration can be a positive and empowering experience for individuals and communities and can benefit countries of origin, transit and destination, in the absence of safe and dignified regular pathways, migrants are often left only with precarious and irregular migration options. The Secretary-General has noted that, notwithstanding the gradual expansion of refugee protection, many migrants are compelled to leave their homes for reasons that do not fall within the refugee definition contained in the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (A/70/59, para 18). Where migrants fall outside the specific legal category of “refugee”, it is especially important to ensure that their human rights are respected, protected and fulfilled.

The Network's thematic Working Group on Regular Pathways for Migrants in Vulnerable Situations seeks to support States in expanding and diversifying the availability of pathways for safe, orderly and regular migration. To this end, the Working Group is developing targeted tools and resources to support States to implement their commitments in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), including Objective 5 to "enhance the availability and flexibility of pathways for regular migration." In particular, the Working Group is working to identify and build upon existing national and regional practices for admission and stay, including regularization of migrants, based on international human rights law, compassionate, humanitarian or other considerations. This includes, among others, pathways for migrants compelled to leave their countries of origin as a result of natural disasters or the adverse effects of slow-onset climate change and environmental degradation, and pathways to ensure access to education, the right to family life, and to uphold the best interest of the child, among others.


*References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).