IFRC: Commitments to be made at UN migration summit hold much promise, but only if global leaders act on them without delay

Published: 16 September 2016

Geneva/New York, 16 September 2016 —The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) says commitments to be made at the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants on 19 September are an encouraging starting point in forging a humane and managed approach to migration and urges states to begin implementing them without delay.

In a paper issued today, “One Humanity: Safety and dignity for migrants,” the IFRC says a critical outcome of the summit must be to “change the current grim dynamics on the ground” where every day, hundreds of thousands of people migrating risk exploitation, abuse, violence, deprivation, discrimination and death.

“Shocking numbers –particularly, but certainly not only those headed to Europe—are paying for their hopes for a better future with their lives,” the IFRC asserts in the paper.

In reviewing the declaration to be adopted at the summit, the IFRC positively notes that it reaffirms international human rights, refugee and asylum laws and commits member states to combating human trafficking and smuggling, strengthening efforts to save lives along dangerous migration trails, tackling xenophobia and fostering integration, and ensuring equitable sharing of responsibilities to aid and protect refugees, among other important provisions.

However, given the dire situation faced by millions of people on the move today, the IFRC urges member states to immediately act on commitments that would save lives and reduce suffering along migration routes. IFRC calls on member states to take the following actions without delay:

  • Urgently scale up life-saving rescue, relief and protection efforts for people in transit, regardless of their reasons for migrating or legal status
  • Ensure rapid, safe and unhindered access to humanitarian assistance for people in flight, including internally displaced persons
  • Revise laws, policies and law enforcement approaches that respect the right to seek legal protection and increase the protection of children and other vulnerable migrants
  • Combat xenophobia with measures to end violence and discrimination, promote understanding and accelerate integration
  • Provide migrants with accurate and objective information, enabling them to make informed decisions, understand risks they face and get the help they need

The IFRC paper welcomes the summit’s launch of a two-year process to develop “Global Compacts” on refugees and migrants, expressing hope they will lead to a “substantial global governance framework for migration, with a sense of shared humanity at its centre.” IFRC says it’s critical that these compacts include strong implementation plans, clear articulation of responsibilities and tangible ways in which states will work together and with civil society, the private sector, the United Nations and other partners to reach concrete targets.

IFRC and its member National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies come to the aid of hundreds of thousands of migrants every year and work in virtually every country of origin, transit and destination—providing services that include humanitarian aid, medical care, sea rescues, psychosocial assistance, counselling, reconnecting separated family members, and integration support. The network stands ready to support the processes being launched at the summit and work with public authorities and partners to achieve their critical goals.

IFRC is the world`s largest humanitarian network comprising 190 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world. www.ifrc.org, FacebookTwitterYouTubeFlickr.

For interviews with IFRC representatives attending the UNGA or further information, please contact:

Benoit Matsha-Carpentier - +41 79 213 24 13 / benoit.carpentier@ifrc.org

Melissa Winkler - + 1 646 734 0305 / +41 79 703 7553 / melissa.winkler@ifrc.org