Under international law, migrants have rights by virtue of their humanity. International human rights instruments, or treaties and documents such as declarations, are of general application and therefore apply to migrants. There are also a number of international instruments that specifically intend to address the protection of migrants. In addition, recent attention has been drawn to the obligations of states, under international human rights law, towards dead and missing migrants (Grant, 2016). Migrant rights may be evaluated by measuring the rights granted to migrants in principle or in practice. The former is relatively straightforward and looks at international and regional treaty ratifications and countries’ legal documents to protect migrants, while the latter requires looking at implementation of rights, or if migrants’ rights are actually upheld and exercised. Measuring the rights granted to migrants in practice is limited by a lack of data, information, resources, and the large number of rights relevant to migrants.
The motives and consequences of human mobility are shaped by various factors such as customary rules based on gender expectations, ethnicity, race, age and class. Among these, it can be argued that gender has the biggest impact on the migration experiences of men, women, boys, girls and persons identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI). Thus, including gender considerations in policymaking and planning can contribute to individuals’ social and economic empowerment and promote gender equality; leaving such considerations out can expose them to further risks and vulnerabilities and perpetuate or exacerbate inequalities. The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants calls for more migration data to be disaggregated by sex and age. It acknowledges that sex-disaggregated data allow for the identification and analysis of specific vulnerabilities and capacities of women and men, revealing gaps and inequalities. These data also enable the analysis of how gender norms might influence the experiences of women and men in migration processes, and in turn how their experiences might change gender norms. While it is important to consider the experiences of women and girls, which have sometimes been overlooked, it is equally important to also consider the experiences of men, boys and LGBTI persons, who are also exposed to forms of gender-based violence or vulnerabilities during different migration processes.
TALKING MIGRATION DATA: Data on the migration of women
Marla Asis, Director of Research and Publications at the Scalabrini Migration Center, shares her views on data on the migration of women. This interview took place during the first International Forum on Migration Statistics, which was held on 15-16 January 2018 and organized by IOM, OECD and UN DESA.