ICRC comment on the global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration

06 July 2017

Dramatic large-scale movements of migrants and refugees have prompted mixed reactions around the world in recent years.

Significant expressions of solidarity and social mobilization have alternated with aggressive displays of anti-immigration attitudes and deep political unease. The human costs of migration, and of certain migration policies, have become increasingly clear.


It is against that backdrop, that the UN General Assembly convened a high-level summit to address large movements of refugees and migrants adopted in New York, on 19 September 2016. The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants was adopted there by 193 States. The document sketches the way towards the adoption of two global compacts in 2018. The first pertains to refugees, the second to safe, orderly and regular migration.


The ICRC has a first-hand understanding of the experience and suffering of migrants because of our humanitarian work with migrants in many parts of the world. For this reason, we follow the development of the two compacts closely and urge States to make three concrete commitments in the migration compact:

  1. Do not lower the bar – States must respect their obligations under international law and ensure that their domestic legislation and procedures contain adequate safeguards to protect the safety and dignity of migrants;
  2. Address the assistance and protection needs of migrants – their needs must be decisive factors in guiding national and international responses;
  3. Prevent forced displacement in armed conflict and other situations of violence - ensure greater respect for applicable norms and increase efforts to prevent and resolve these situations which are often the root causes of forced displacement.

As part of these commitments, the ICRC calls on States to pay special attention to the principle of non-refoulement, use of force, family separation, unaccompanied children, missing people, immigration detention and migrants caught in armed conflicts.

Further reading

ICRC Comment on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration

Statement to Thematic Session 1: Human rights of all migrants

Statement to Thematic Session 2: Addressing drivers of migration

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