According to estimates by the UN Population Division, around 126 million international migrants were living in the OSCE region in 2010. This equals roughly 11 per cent of the population of all of the OSCE participating States. Among those, OSCE states host more than 2.5 million refugees and asylum-seekers. A significant number of internally displaced and stateless persons are also present in the OSCE region.
Over the past two decades, migration routes have changed. Several OSCE participating States have changed from countries of origin into countries of destination. In addition, conflict and state fragility continue to uproot people across the region, putting further strain on state and human security.
Finding solutions to migration-related concerns and displacement is indispensable for ensuring political stability and security in the OSCE region. Therefore, ODIHR co-operates with OSCE participating States on a variety of migration-related activities, while paying particular attention to the integration of migrants and the development of gender-sensitive migration policies.
The purpose of ODIHR’s migrant-integration assistance is to support participating States in developing humane integration policies, as well as to facilitate the exchange of integration practices that exist at the national level across the OSCE region. Such assistance may support participating States in their efforts to improve measures aimed at including migrants in society. ODIHR offers expertise to participating States to introduce adequate legal and policy measures enhancing migrant integration, as well as to assess the current state of migrant integration in their societies.
Women and migration
Women migrants experience different disadvantages than men at all stages of the migration process. The migration policies of participating States rarely include a gender perspective that addresses women migrants’ specific needs. Migrant women’s limited access to legal employment channels and exclusion from labour legislation makes them particularly vulnerable to exploitation.
ODIHR activities on gender and migration aim to develop existing practical knowledge about how to make OSCE participating States’ migration policies more gender-sensitive. As a result of these activities, ODIHR published a trainer’s manual on gender and labour migration and has supported regional training for policy-makers based on that manual.