NEW YORK, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- The head of the U.N. Commission for Human Rights says nations should expand opportunities for legal immigration.
"Although states have legitimate interests in securing their borders and exercising immigration controls, such concerns do not trump the obligations of the state to respect the internationally guaranteed rights of all persons," said Navi Pillay, U.N. high commissioner for human rights.
Pillay addressed the issue of discrimination and prejudice against migrants this week at a five-day forum on migration and development in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The international meeting began Monday.
Pillay said nation states must halt criminalization of international migrants, an estimated 214 million people globally, and lower barriers preventing legal immigration.
"The principle of non-discrimination is fundamental in international human rights law and runs across all international human rights instruments inspired by the Universal Declaration (of Human Rights), notable the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights," she said.