On 25 October 2021, OHCHR, together with the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and co-sponsors Switzerland, Morocco, Mexico, Denmark and Argentina, held a virtual event to launch
Human Rights at International Borders: A Trainer's Guide. This capacity building tool was developed jointly by OHCHR and UNOCT and seeks to support the work of Member States and frontline border officials to adopt a human rights-based and gender-sensitive approach to border governance.
Over 170 representatives of Member States, international organisations, national human rights institutions, civil society and other stakeholders from various regions of the world attended the event, which introduced the Trainer's Guide.
Ms. Christine Löw, Deputy Head of the Peace and Human Rights Division of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland,
opened the event. She welcomed the practical training tool and appealed "to all actors involved with border management to draw on this guide and work on better protecting human rights at international borders."
The High Commissioner for Human Rights provided
introductory remarks, highlighting how one of the key premises of the materials is that "respecting all human rights of all migrants facilitates, rather than hinders, the safe and effective governance of borders."
Under-Secretary-General of the Office of Counter-Terrorism, UNOCT explained how the training tool was informed by border officials from various regions as well as inputs from practitioners and experts. Importantly, it "focuses on the importance of human rights in the work of border officials when dealing with migrants at international borders."
The panel included Patrik Engström, former head of the Swedish National Border Policing Section and former Swedish representative to the Frontex Management Board; Ms. Maria Gavouneli, President of the Greek National Commission for Human Rights and Chair of the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions' Working Group on Asylum and Migrations; and Camila Barretto Maia, Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (Centre for Legal and Social Studies). Following the panel discussion, participants from different regions intervened to share their experiences.
H.E. Dr. Omar Zniber, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco to the United Nations, provided the closing remarks. He recognised the challenges highlighted throughout the session, the importance of human rights in all border governance, and collaboration between States. He further referred to the Global Compact for Migration, and its call for working with non-governmental organizations, civil society actors, national human rights institutions and other relevant stakeholders to better promote and protect the human rights of migrants at borders.
The Trainer's Guide is based on OHCHR's human rights training methodology and draws on and complements the OHCHR
Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights at International Borders. It is accompanied by slide presentations and
Everyone at borders – migrants, border officials and others – have human rights.
Human rights principles can guide the work of border officials in a way that
leads to better outcomes for everyone involved.