Note on Protection of Migrants in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads, states are facing an unprecedented public health challenge, which has forced them to adopt stringent measures. Against this backdrop, the management of migratory movements adds another layer of complexity – migrants must not be disproportionately affected either by the pandemic itself or by the measures legitimately adopted by states in their response. Many governments are already developing innovative and solidarity-based solutions to ensure migrants, irrespective of their legal status, are included in their responses and that they meet their international obligations, even during such exceptional times.

This note is intended to help states develop effective COVID-19 responses that take into account the specific vulnerabilities and protection needs of migrants, including refugees and others in need of international protection, and to help them reconcile the imperative of protecting public health with respect for individual rights.