Red Cross Red Crescent Mediterranean Platform on Migration calls for end to labelling of people on move as ‘illegal’

26 May 2015
Red Cross Red Crescent Mediterranean Platform on Migration calls for end to labelling of people on move as ‘illegal’

National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies from Mediterranean countries gathered in San Marino today for the annual meeting of the platform on migration, organized by the Red Cross of the Republic of San Marino, Centre for the Cooperation in the Mediterranean, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and International Committee of the Red Cross.

The aim of the meeting was to coordinate and strengthen the humanitarian response to the critical needs of migrants in countries of origin, transit and destination.

"Every human being, especially people fleeing conflict and insecurity, should have unhindered access to basic human rights, in particular the right to protection, health care, education and social services, at any phase of their journey," said Francesco Rocca, International Federation Vice-President. "Human dignity should be respected and protected under any circumstances and we call on all everyone to stop labelling people on the move illegal migrants."

"The plight of migrants is of enormous concern, and requires a great deal of attention and effort from all of us," said the ICRC's vice-president Christine Beerli. "As safe channels to reach Europe continue to grow scarcer and conflict keeps raging, we should all be aware that migrants continue to turn to the only options they are afforded – however risky they may be."

Red Cross and Red Crescent participants at the meeting emphasized that people arrive at international borders for multiple reasons and with different vulnerabilities, and they should always be treated with humanity, regardless of their legal status.

"Migrants have a legitimate claim to hope and opportunities to achieve their potential. They bring with them rich social, economic and cultural advantages and experiences. Their skills, knowledge and resilience can make relevant and meaningful contributions to their host communities," added Francesco Rocca.

Arrivals of migrants usually spike in the spring and summer months because of the favourable weather in the Mediterranean but the numbers are increasing dramatically due to the several protracted crises affecting the region.

Most of the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in the Mediterranean work 24/7 to provide protection and assistance to people on the move. They will scale up their response to adapt to the growing needs, taking also into account the importance and specific needs of host communities.

For further information and to set up interviews, please contact:

In San Marino:

Tommaso Della Longa, communications coordinator International Federation. Mobile +961 79 300 437. Email:
Ariana Potrafki, acting director, Centre for Cooperation in the Mediterranean. Mobile: +34 620 400 203. Email:

In Geneva:

Benoit Carpentier, public communications team leader, International Federation. Mobile: +41 79 213 24 13. Email:
Francis Markus, public communications, ICRC.  Mobile: +41 79 244 64 24. Email: