African and European National Red Cross Red Crescent Societies collaborate on how to meet the challenges of increasing migrations

Published: 23 June 2015

Dakar/Geneva, 23 June 2015 – In light of an increasing number of people risking their lives to reach Europe, National Red Cross Red Crescent Societies from Africa and Europe are meeting in Dakar this week to collaborate on ways of increasing dialogue with key stakeholders to better serve the needs of migrants.

“It is time to strengthen our dialogue with policy makers, governments, partners and the general public to ensure that every migrant has unhindered access to basic human rights,” said Tiziana Bonzon, head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) migration cell. “To do that, we have to clarify our role in this crisis and provide the tools to our National Society colleagues to ensure stronger advocacy is taking place at the local and regional levels, and also to enhance our operations so migrants receive the support and care they deserve along every step of their journey.”

During the workshop, National Societies acutely impacted by the migration crisis will develop a common approach for collective and country-specific advocacy and operations for the rights and dignity of migrants. Participants will learn skills and apply tools for influencing decision makers, develop outlines for domestic advocacy, and collaborate on joint action to carry forward. The workshop will be followed by a partnership meeting with internal and external stakeholders in Tunisia in September.

Since the start of 2015, more than 207,000 men, women and children have made the precarious journey to Europe across the Mediterranean Sea, the majority of them coming from Africa and the Middle East. Almost 1,800 people have lost their lives while doing so; more than 30 times more than the same period in 2014. (IOM)

“It is our collective responsibility to offer migrants protection at every stage of their journey, from the country they leave, to the country they will cross during their journey, and in the country where they will arrive,” said Bonzon. “With more than 17 million volunteers worldwide, the Red Cross Red Crescent is well placed to play a significant role in assisting people on the move.”

In countries like Niger, Italy, and Sudan, which are all represented at the Dakar workshop, Red Cross Red Crescent volunteers continue to provide much needed support to migrants, ranging from household supplies, to first aid, and the reunification of families separated during the journey. Collectively, more still needs to be done.

“Africa is the point of origin for thousands of people who every year feel they are not able to safely remain in their home country and risk their lives in search of security. Many, in fact, use Senegal as their point of departure,” said Abdoul Aziz Diallo, President, Senegalese Red Cross Society. “But this is not just an African problem and we cannot work in isolation. We need to work trans-regionally with our colleagues in both Europe and the Middle East, indeed globally, to identify tactical interventions that will allow us to respond quickly, and advocate strongly to this growing crisis.”

The Red Cross Red Crescent is focused on meeting the humanitarian needs of this growing population, protecting people on the move, preventing loss of life, and treating people with dignity.

“The life of a migrant is not worth any less and his or her rights must be respected. We must remember, behind every statistic there is a human story,” added Bonzon.  

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the worlds largest volunteer-based humanitarian network, reaching 150 million people each year through its 189 member National Societies. Together, IFRC acts before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. It does so with impartiality as to nationality, race, gender, religious beliefs, class and political opinions. For more information, please visit You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.


For further information, please contact:


In Dakar:

  • Sirandou Fall, Communications assistant, IFRC

Mob: +221 (0) 78 637 07 78, E-mail:


  • Katherine Mueller, Communications manager, IFRC Africa

Mobile: +251 930 033 413, E-mail:

  • Nfally Sadio, Communications manager, Senegalese Red Cross Society

Mob: +221 (0) 77 554 02 51, E-mail:


In Geneva:

  • Reeni Amin Chua, Senior officer, public positioning and strategy, IFRC

Mob: +41 (0)79 708 6273, E-mail: