Documenting Human Rights violations and mortality among migrants: Focus on the Sahel and North Africa

Published Date: 
Wednesday, May 22, 2019


Columbia University and IOM organized an expert conference on “Documenting human rights violations and mortality among migrants: in the Sahel and North Africa” on 21-22 March 2019, which was hosted at the Columbia Global Center in Tunis, Tunisia. 

The conference gathered around 35 experts and organizations involved in human rights and mortality data collection and/or advocacy, with a focus on the Sahel and North Africa.  

IOM GMDAC’s Project Officer, Marta Sánchez Dionis, gave a presentation about the work of the Missing Migrants Project documenting deaths and disappearances during migration. 

The first part of the workshop discussed several initiatives that measure human rights violations and mortality in the context of migration, with a focus on methodologies, strengths and limitation of the data, and challenges faced during the data collection process. It became apparent that there are significant data gaps on human rights violations experienced by migrants in North Africa and the Sahel, including deaths and disappearances. Data sharing and cooperation among organizations, as well as building capacities of States to properly document, register and investigate human rights violations were highlighted as critical to overcoming gaps in knowledge.

The second part of the workshop focused on translating data into action, and how data can be used to improve evidence-based advocacy in order to address systemic violations of the human rights of migrants. Participants agreed that properly collected and analysed evidence of human rights violations, including deaths and disappearances, is one of the key elements of successful advocacy work.