IOM Joins Launch of ILO Publication Promoting Rights-based Approach to Migration, Health and HIV, AIDS

Capacity Building, Migration Health

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, represented by Jacqueline Weekers, Director of the Migration Health Division, participated yesterday (14/02) in the launch of the publication of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on Promoting a Rights-based Approach to Migration, Health, and HIV and AIDS: A Framework for Action.

IOM provided technical support and guidance in the development of the publication which stressed that migrants’ access to health and HIV services can be improved only by adopting a rights-based approach in the governance of the entire migration process.

The report outlines a framework for action in key areas of law, policy and practice, to inform regional, national and local action to address health and HIV and AIDS issues among migrants. Additionally, good practices and initiatives are proposed in each area discussed in the Framework for Action.

“Many migrants face discrimination and migrants with health conditions, especially those with positive HIV status face double discrimination. Their challenges in finding needed services and continuation of care when crossing borders cannot be underlined enough. In addition to being a human rights issue, it is a major public health matter,” said Weekers.

Moderated by Arlette van Leur, Director of ILO’s Sectoral Policies Department, the event included the presenters Shauna Olney, Chief of the Gender Equality and Diversity Branch at ILO and Patrick Taran, President of the Global Migration Policy Associates (GMPA). Joining the debate were Weekers and Mamadi Diakite, Special Adviser Security, Humanitarian Affairs and Fragile Countries at the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

“This is the time to underline the need for changed mindsets, new evidence-based and human rights-based approaches to addressing health security and disease spread in a transnational world. The point is not about closing borders, excluding people from migrating or health systems’ services, but rather about being inclusive and implementing smart and innovative ways to address the health of increasingly diverse societies,” said Weekers.

“Exclusion and stigma will make HIV flourish with great consequences to public health and economies; and rights-based approaches and inclusion of migrants’ vulnerabilities and needs is the way to control HIV/AIDS and suffering,” she added.

The panellists also shared their views on future coordination and cooperation among stakeholders in the migration arena, based on the issues highlighted in the publication, and emphasizing the need to work together in synergy.

For more information, please contact Jacqueline Weekers at IOM HQ, Email:, Tel: + 41 22 717 93 55

  •  Jacqueline Weekers, Director of IOM's Migration Health Division (left) speaks at the launch. © IOM