State authorities representing migrants’ rights (2014)
The majority of the MS that participated in this AHQ all have some kind of ombudsman, agency, NGO, and /or rules and regulations in place to protect human rights and some specifically protect immigrants’/minorities’ rights. Norway has an Equality and Anti-discrimination Ombud (LDO) that protects everyone’s rights, not just one target group.
Belgium on the other hand recently established the Federal Migration Centre (Federal Centre for the Analysis of Migration Flows, the Protection of the Basic Rights of Foreigners and the Fight Against Human Trafficking) tasked to ensure the fundamental rights of foreigners. The Federal Government, the Regions and the Communities signed a cooperation agreement to transform the CEOOR from a federal institution into an “interfederal” institution combating all forms of discrimination. The Federal Migration Centre works to ensure that the fundamental rights of foreigners are respected, through field observations particularly within closed centres and by carefully following the complex legislation that regulates this issue. The Centre also provides first line support to persons who wish to receive information on their fundamental rights or residency status.
Finland: the Office of the Ombudsman for Minorities. www.ofm.fi that covers only measures against discrimination based on ethnic origin or foreign nationality; it does not, however, cover measures against discrimination based on factors other than ethnic origin or foreign nationality, promotion of rights or the related advisory services.
Czech republic: the Committee on the Rights of Foreign Nationals of the Government Council on Human Rights.
Germany: The Advisory Council of the Representatives for Integration has existed since January 2011 and advises and supports the Representative for Integration. The council consists of the chairperson and up to 32 appointed members and three permanent guests. Among the appointed members there are ten self-organisation bodies of migrants, representatives of statutory central associations, of foundations, the German Federal Office for Labour, of employers and unions, of sports, non-statutory welfare organisations and of churches and religious associations. (Similar to Norway’s Norwegian Contact Committee for Immigrants and the Authorities (KIM) which held their last meeting earlier this year.)
Luxembourg: the National Council for Foreigners (CNE), which is an advisory body in charge of studying issues relating to foreigners and their integration.
The Netherlands: the Institute for Human Rights, is an independent institute that protects the human rights of everyone, so also the rights of migrants. The Institute can freely investigate violations of human rights and can give a judgement on equal treatment, which is important for issues of race or nationality.
Sweden: similar to Norway, no public authority in Sweden only represents migrants’ rights. However, there are two public bodies in Sweden that migrants can refer to with complaints, the Equality Ombudsman (DO) and the Parliamentary Ombudsmen (JO). The DO is a government agency that seeks to combat discrimination and promote equal rights and opportunities for everyone. In pursuit of this goal, the agency is primarily concerned with ensuring compliance with the Discrimination Act. This law prohibits discrimination related to a person’s sex, transgender identity or expression, ethnicity, religion or other belief, disability, sexual orientation or age. The JO are appointed by the Swedish Riksdag (Parliament) to ensure that public authorities and their staff comply with the laws and other statutes governing their actions. They are completely independent in their decisions.
UK: There are various charities and NGOs that provide some protection of human rights for immigrants, such as Migrants Rights and Citizens Advice Bureau. Any other provisions that migrants require such as social or legal counseling, language courses, or cultural orientation, is provided at the local level.