Protection and promotion of the human rights of migrants

25th session, Human Rights Council

The ICRC acknowledges that migration is a complex phenomenon that concerns millions of people around the world.

Although much attention has been paid to this issue lately, there is still a need for a greater understanding of the implications of the "migratory trail". Migrants can become vulnerable at several stages of their journey, as they travel from their home country, often through other countries, to their final destination. Many migrants pass through areas where armed conflict or other situations of violence are rife, which may make them highly vulnerable to numerous forms of abuse.

One has to remember the human faces behind each migration policy. Every day, hundreds of people set out on a dangerous journey to an unknown destination. While many migrants manage to reach their countries of destination safely and to integrate into their new communities, others face serious difficulties that affect their physical integrity and well-being and that of their families, and they may find themselves trapped with limited protection or without the means to continue their journey. Migrants can be extremely vulnerable to different threats and forms of abuse along their migratory routes owing to a combination of circumstances (e.g. lack of documents, information, knowledge of the local language, family/social network, etc.).

As a humanitarian organization, the ICRC is examining the situation faced by migrants in many countries around the world, including those in detention, those who have lost contact with their families, or those who have gone missing. The ICRC's approach may well vary from one context to another, depending on its assessment of the situation. Particular attention is given to the presence and capacity of other actors, both within and outside the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which have particular experience in working with migrant populations. The ICRC recognizes the importance of effective cooperation in order to meet the needs of vulnerable migrants.

The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is committed to addressing the humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable migrants and their families, regardless of their legal status.

The ICRC's work focuses on meeting the needs of vulnerable migrants and their families who are affected by the conflicts and other situations of violence encountered along various migratory routes. The ICRC does not try to prevent or encourage migration.

The ICRC relies on a worldwide network of staff from National Societies who can help it to gain a better understanding of the needs of migrants along the main migratory routes and to take action based on these needs, when this is appropriate and feasible. When so requested by National Societies and/or States the ICRC also provides guidance and support in its areas of expertise such as tracing and detention-related activities.

In conclusion, the ICRC will continue to contribute to the humanitarian response aimed at meeting the needs of migrants and their families.