Millions of lives are at stake: IFRC welcomes commitments at UN migration summit, urges robust pledges at Leaders’ Summit on refugees tomorrow

Published: 19 September 2016

New York / Geneva, 19 September, 2016 — The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) welcomes commitments made at today’s migration summit and calls on Governments to translate the promises they have made into action without delay.

“The commitments and principles adopted today are encouraging and demonstrate that there is a desire to forge a better-managed and more humane global approach to migration,” said IFRC Secretary General Elhadj As Sy, at the close of the UN Summit for Refugees and Migration in New York.

“But millions of women, men and children in search of safety and refuge need aid, protection and dignified treatment now. The summit’s success will not be determined by pledges made here. It will be decided by what happens on the ground, where millions of people desperately need more support.”

The IFRC urges States to prioritize and quickly act on commitments that focus on saving lives and reducing abuse, exploitation, discrimination and indignities suffered along migration routes.

IFRC hopes to see a substantial increase in rescue, relief and protection efforts as well as revisions of national policies that respect the right to seek asylum and protect children and other vulnerable migrants. IFRC further appeals to states to adhere to human rights, refugee and asylum laws, and bolster efforts to tackle xenophobia, promote understanding and accelerate integration.

Mr Sy expressed hope that the two-year process envisioned for developing “global compacts” on refugees and migration will lead to strong specific action plans, a clear articulation of responsibilities, principled leadership and significant investment.

“We look now to the Leaders’ Summit on refugees tomorrow for robust financial and hosting commitments and for these to be used to welcome and integrate migrants and refugees,” said Mr Sy. “The ambitious goals set today, and the magnitude of displacement around the world, mean that far greater investment is needed.

“The IFRC, our 190 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and 17 million community-based volunteers, stand ready to translate into action the commitments made here,” said Mr Sy.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Elhadj As Sy, IFRC Secretary General, Garry Conille, IFRC Under Secretary General for Programmes and Operations and other National Society representatives are available in New York for interviews, reaction and commentary.


In New York

Anne Christensen: +1 646 322 40 96 /

In  Geneva
Benoit Matsha-Carpentier:
+41 79 213 24 13 /
Melissa Winkler: +1 646 734 0305 / +41 79 503 7553 /