The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that public health and the protection of migrants are not mutually exclusive, but instead must be integrated. Authored by Vincent Chetail, this paper advances three key reasons why it is vital to reconcile the two. First, by both exacerbating and producing new vulnerabilities, the health crisis risks creating a migration crisis. Second, the human rights of migrants, as grounded in international law, provide a flexible toolbox to address their need for protection while facing the current health emergency. Third, integrating health and protection considerations is an opportunity to rethink immigration policies through innovative solutions that give due respect to human rights.
This paper is part of a series of short “think pieces” by IOM’s Migration Research and Publishing High-Level Advisers on the potential changes, impacts and implications for migration and mobility arising from COVID-19. Designed to spark thinking on policy and programmatic responses to COVID-19 as its impacts continue to emerge globally, the papers draw upon existing and new evidence and offer initial exploratory analysis and recommendations.