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Statement to the 13th GFMD Summit Addressing Gaps in Migrant Protection


13th GFMD Summit

Addressing Gaps in Migrant Protection
19 January 2021 – 12:30 – 15:30 CET

Statement by Professor Michel Veuthey

Ambassador to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

Deputy Permanent Observer in Geneva

The Sovereign Order of Malta welcomes the very interesting Background Paper “Addressing Gaps in Migrant Protection”.

According to international human rights instruments, people on the move – whatever their qualification (IDPs, refugees, migrants, victims of human smugglers and/or of human traffickers – are entitled to the protection of their life and human dignity in all situations. Furthermore, in all armed conflicts, they are protected by international humanitarian law, especially by Common Article 3 to the 1949 Geneva Conventions.

We should not forget human rights and refugee law regional instruments in Africa, in the Americas, in the Arab world, in ASEAN and in Europe, as well as the relevant labour law standards and instruments protecting women and children.

As the “Background Paper” shows, migrants are the most vulnerable to human traffickers. Twenty years after the adoption of the Palermo Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, we need to promote its implementation, along with regional instruments such as the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, the ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, and implementation mechanisms by OSCE, ECOWAS, OAS, without forgetting the role of the UN Security Council.  To quote the “Background Paper” (Paragr. 20,e), we need to Enable functionality of anti-trafficking systems in emergency conditions, to ensure proactive identification of victims of human trafficking and people at risk to trafficking among migrants and refugees, as well as access to a package of services to meet their immediate needs during the period of reduced possibilities for national or transnational referral, protection, investigation of the case and court proceedings.

New expanded partnerships between Governments, private business, and consumer associations could help monitor supply chains, prevent exploitation and combat human trafficking from the side of demand. Media and think tanks have an important role to play in raising awareness and denouncing violations of fundamental human rights of migrants.

In a nutshell, we shall use all available legal resources, including domestic laws, as well as moral values protecting human life and dignity contained in all religious traditions, for example the “Pastoral Orientations on Human Trafficking”, to educate and train individuals and organizations at all levels to effectively promote migrant protection and empowerment.

Ambassador of the Sovereign Order of Malta to Monitor and Combat Human Trafficking

1212 Grand Lancy - Geneva (Switzerland)

- Email: [email protected]