HDIM: Working Session 12 – Rights of Migrants

A migrant carries a baby as she disembarks from a ship in Sicily, Italy, July 22, 2015. (AP Photo)

Working Session 12: Rights of migrants

As prepared for delivery by Harry Kamian,
Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Mission to the OSCE
Warsaw, September 18, 2018

We appreciate Italy’s efforts as the Chair-in-Office to use the OSCE as a platform for discussing immigration challenges and, where possible, to seek out ways in which participating States can assist each other.

The United States recognizes the need to protect the dignity of all persons, including through conventions that address specific challenges associated with, among other subjects, slavery, human trafficking, and refugees. Non-citizens within the territory of the United States, regardless of their immigration status, enjoy substantial protections under our Constitution and domestic laws.

The United States supports international cooperation on immigration issues, but emphasizes that it is primarily the responsibility of sovereign states to ensure that their immigration is well-managed and consistent with their state’s laws and policies. When faced with the challenge of mixed flows, states must prioritize their national security and public safety while also accounting for legitimate individual protection needs. Such efforts should include, as central tenets, respect for international obligations, including with regard to the principle of non-refoulement, and the human rights of all persons.

Finally, the United States reiterates its position that UNHCR, IOM, ICRC, and other relevant international organizations and civil society groups must play the principal roles supporting the efforts of sovereign states to address their immigration issues. The OSCE can continue to play a helpful, complementary role by discussing trends that affect countries and by empowering OSCE field missions to play a supporting role in their host countries.