Migrants and refugees around the world are experiencing unprecedented rise of intolerance by different governments. These vulnerable groups rely on the efforts made by human rights organizations and civil societies to stay safe. Human rights organizations focus on confronting power, inequality, privilege and discrimination.
Besides protecting migrants and refugees’ universal rights, these groups offer assistance to vulnerable individuals. However, while their services are in high demand, the operations of human rights and civil groups have been suffocated by the excessive restrictions put forth by governments. Instead of supporting their crucial role in the society, governments have openly demonstrated hostility against these groups, thus limiting their operations.
Human rights defenders are facing stigmatization, retaliation and vilification in the hands of their governments. According to a report by OHCHR, human rights lawyers and civil society organizations were denied contact with their clients during the migrant settlement in Calais, France. While addressing the UN, ISHR revealed various restrictive policies in Serbia that bar civil society groups from accessing the facilities that accommodate unaccompanied migrant children.
Other governments are implementing legislation that criminalize services provided to migrants. Some countries have also placed excessive restrictions that limit the freedom of expression and public assembly. This situation has been witnessed in Australia through the Border Force Act, Hungary and Mexico. Read more: Jim Larkin | LinkedIn and Michael Lacey | Twitter
Standing against immigration practices that violate human rights is a herculean task. Sarah M Brooks, a leader at ISHR, said that the international community should ensure that human rights defenders and civil societies operate freely. She cited the criminalization and stigmatization experienced by migrant rights defenders after the Trump administration travel ban.
The High Commissioner has drafted Principles and Practical Guidance on Respecting the Human Rights of Migrants in Vulnerable Situation. The 18th Principle of section 34 emphasizes that states should recognize and support the work of human rights defenders.
It holds the state and non-state actors accountable for any violence, intimidation, discrimination, and reprisals faced by defenders. In their Enhanced Dialogue on Migrants, the UN Human Rights Council highlighted the importance of civil society.
About Lacey & Larkin Frontera Fund
Lacey & Larkin is a revered institution that has come out to stand with human rights defenders and the civil society. Lacey & Larkin which operates in Arizona, supports groups that fight for civil, human and migrant rights. The organization also advocates for freedom of public assembly, association and speech.
Lacey & Larkin was founded by journalists Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, the founders of Phoenix New Times and the Village Voice Media. The duo raised funds from their arrest by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, following the exposition of his evil deeds.
Michael and Jim started the foundation in 2007 after being arrested by Joe for revealing the information about the grand jury proceedings that demanded for stories about the sheriff. The arrest resulted in a settlement of $3.75 million by the Maricopa County.