MINELRES: SOVA Center: Civil G8 - 2006: Round tables on the human rights problems in the world

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Sat Jul 8 10:26:04 2006

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Civil G8 - 2006: Round tables on the human rights problems in the world. 

On July 3, 2006, in Moscow, during the International Forum of
Non-Governmental Organizations “Civil G8 – 2006”, four round tables on
different aspects of human rights were held:

- “NGOs and states: legislation and practice”;
- “Fight against terrorism, internal armed conflicts and human rights”;
- “Civil control on law-enforcement institutions”;
- “Migration, xenophobia, racial discrimination”. 

Representatives of the leading international and Russian human rights
organizations took part in the round tables. Svetlana Gannushkina and
Alexander Verkhovsky were the leaders of the round table “Migration,
xenophobia, racial discrimination”.

The participants of the round tables expressed their utter surprise,
that the human rights question was not put on the agenda of the G8

On July 4, the participants addressed to the G8 leaders with the
recommendations on the most painful problems in this field. The
organizers of the “Civil G8” are going to give these recommendations to
the sherpas of the G8 leaders.

Please, find enclosed the recommendations of the round table “Migration,
xenophobia, racial discrimination”.

SOVA Center for Information and Analysis, Moscow 


Round Table on Migration, Xenophobia and Racial Discrimination

In recognizing with regret that the issues of migration and asylum were
not a part of the agenda of this year's G8, the roundtable encourages
the member states of the G8 to place these issues and the related issue
of rising xenophobia on the agenda of the G8 Summit to be held in
Germany in 2007.

·       Civil Forum participants call upon G-8 heads to respect the human
rights of migrants, victims of trafficking and refugees, irrespective of
their legal status, and to strengthen asylum systems.

·       Civil Forum Participants note that refugees are forced to search
protection as a result of human rights violations in their countries of
origin. The root causes of forced migration should be addressed before
durable solutions for the majority of refugees in the world can be
found. Political and economic relations between states cannot be used as
an excuse for inaction when human rights violations take place. Solving
root causes of migration must be a particular responsibility of the G-8
states. We call upon heads of G-8 states to solve the root causes of
migration through close co-operation with UNHCR, other UN agencies and

·       Civil Forum participants remind G-8 heads of governments that the
right to asylum is a fundamental human right enshrined in article 14 of
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Participants call upon G8
countries to fully respect refugee rights as enshrined in the 1951 UN
Refugee Convention. 

·       Participants wish to highlight the fact that refugees and migrants
themselves are often forced to risk their lives as a result of measures
to control migration. States have a legitimate right to manage their
borders but methods employed to prevent unauthorized entry of migrants
must allow for the human rights of all groups to be respected, including
access to asylum procedures for those seeking protection. 

·       Participants call upon G8 leaders to ensure persons in need of
international protection are recognized as refugees on the basis of a
full and inclusive interpretation of the refugee definition [and in
accordance with fair procedures that provide for legal advice and
representation, access to interpretation and the right to suspensive

·       Civil Forum participants note that current practice relating to the
detention of asylum seekers in G8 states leads to cases whereby refugees
and migrants are not protected from torture, cruel or degrading
treatment. G8 states must take measures to ensure that in full
compliance with customary international law and the principle of
non-refoulement, no one is expulsed or extradited to a country where
they might be at risk of grave human rights violations. 

·       We urge states to respect the principle of responsibility sharing and
act to ensure the high quality of protection by implementing measures to
strengthen protection capacity in countries with less developed asylum
systems. Measures that allow states to shift their responsibilities to
other states, such as safe third country agreements and the Dublin II
regulation in the EU, should be modified. 

·       Civil Forum Participants remind G8 leaders of the civilian,
humanitarian character of asylum, which should not become a source of
tension between states even in those cases when the country of origin is
a G8 country. 

·       Civil Forum participants also urge the leaders of G8 countries to
provide political leadership and ensure that refugees and migrants are
not discriminated against and that their civil and political as well as
economic, social and cultural rights are fully protected. State and non
state actors responsible for perpetrating discriminatory acts targeting
refugees and migrants should be held accountable for their actions and
be brought to justice.

·       Civil Forum Participants express their serious concern about attempts
to create unwarranted links between refugee protection and terrorism and

·       Participants also remind G8 leaders of the responsibility of national
governments to protect their own citizens, including internally
displaced persons (IDPs), and ensure respect of their human rights in
compliance with human rights law and the UN Guiding Principles on
Internal Displacement. We call on the international community to protect
IDPs, when are not upheld, as this cannot be considered as an
exclusively internal issue of any government. 

·       We urge states to look at ways of facilitating legal access to
international protection particularly through the use of family
reunification, resettlement to third countries where necessary and the
right to seek protection at embassies on the territory of their country
of residence. This is especially important with regard to those who for
one reason or another can not avail themselves of the protection of
their state. 

·       Human rights are an integral part of any security policy. Society is
currently paying a very high price for restrictive migration measures,
which are leading to growing levels of bureaucracy, an increase in the
numbers of undocumented migrants in G8 states and corruption.  

This meeting of the G8 takes place in the context of rising racism,
xenophobia, and violence in much of the Global North.  Much of this
xenophobia concerns refugees, migrants, people of immigrant origin, and
minorities.  Xenophobia is encouraged by factors including fears of
terrorism, the marginalization different groups, nationalism, ongoing
domestic and international armed conflicts, and deliberate manipulation
by some political leaders.  

In this regard, the G8 member states are encouraged to:

Recognize that racism and xenophobia pose a threat to national and
international peace and security and to sustained economic development;

Recognize that xenophobia and accompanying racist violence must be
addressed through a combination of political action, education, and law
enforcement, to include:

·       The elaboration and improvement of criminal law and law-enforcement
with respect to violence motivated by discrimination, or hate crime. 
·       The creation of transparent and accessible systems of monitoring,
reporting, and statistical analysis of hate crimes and incidents and the
response to them, drawing upon information and positive experiences from
G8 members. 
·       Public policies and programs to counter xenophobia and hate crime,
including through education. 
·       Safeguards to ensure that measures taken to counteract racism and
discrimination do not infringe internationally recognized norms of
freedom of conscience and expression or be invoked to inhibit the
democratic process. 
·       Commitments by members of the G8 to communicate with other member
states where policies regarding xenophobia, migrants, and minorities
violate the international obligations of member states.  

Recognize the essential role of non-governmental organizations in
helping refugees and migrants and in combating racism and xenophobia,
including by:

·       Commitments at the highest level to ensure that non-governmental
organizations have the freedom of action required to work effectively
and independently;
·       High level action to ensure the security of civil society activists
who help refugees and migrants and those who stand against xenophobia
and extreme nationalist and racist groups. 

Civil Forum participants call on governments recognize the competence
and experience of NGOs and to actively co-operate with them on these

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