Global Compact on Migration

In 2018 UN Member States will adopt a Global Compact on Migration, an international agreement focusing on the protection of the safety, dignity and human rights of vulnerable migrants. This is a rare opportunity to develop a new global approach to migration that is more effective and humane.

We, as IFRC, believe that all human beings – including migrants – have the right to safety and dignity. If you agree with this – if you agree that children should not be detained, that anyone whose life is in danger should be protected, and that death is an unacceptable price for anyone to pay for simply searching for a better life – add your voice to our call for governments to protect people on the move, and prevent deaths, abuse and deprivation experienced by millions of migrants around the world. Because human rights are migrant rights. People who migrate have the same rights as everyone else, regardless of their legal status.

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Red Crescent volunteers and staff attending to a line of body bags on a beach with the sea on the right. Text on top of the image says: "Migrant rights are human rights"

Increasing migration is both a cause and consequence of some of the most significant humanitarian challenges of the modern era. In recent years, people on the move across different regions all over the world have highlighted the risks faced by migrants, especially when particularly vulnerable.

People decide to move for different reasons: fear of persecution, conflict and violence, human rights violations, poverty and lack of economic prospects, or natural disasters. Many people cross borders to find work, and an increasing number are moving as a result of climate change. People’s reasons for migrating are complex, and often a combination of a variety of these and other factors.


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258 million international migrants

The highest number in recorded human history, according to the UN.

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65.4 million are forced migrants

Fleeing violence, persecution or natural disasters.

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50% of migrating women face violence

Studies suggest half of all migrating women have experienced rape or sexual violence.

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1,000 children reunited

In 2015, over 1,000 children travelling alone were reunited with family.

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has a longstanding history of working with migrants. National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies provide support to people migrating, including refugees and asylum-seekers, victims of trafficking, labour migrants and unaccompanied children, and provide life-saving and life-enhancing services to the most vulnerable such as first aid, access to health care and other essential services.

Working with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), National Societies also play a crucial role in helping reunite families through restoring family links (RFL) services.

With National Societies in 190 countries and around 17 million volunteers around the world, the IFRC has a truly global presence, allowing us to support migrants at different stages of their journeys in countries of origin, transit and destination. Through our local action globally, we are uniquely placed to prevent suffering and help uphold the rights and dignity of migrants, as well as help societies to maximise the benefits of migration through social inclusion programmes. The IFRC also aims to bridge increasingly polarised views on migration, supporting migrants and host communities to work toward mutual understanding and individual and community resilience.

Our work in Migration

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Policy and Strategy

Our policy work is critical to enable the Movement and National Societies address key issues in meeting migrants’ and displaced people’s needs.

Man in brown coat and hat taking something from a volunteer from the Red Crescent.


We support National Societies in providing humanitarian assistance to migrants, irrespective of their legal status, addressing their most pressing needs and responding to the most vulnerable people.

Girl in a room with other children looking intently at her phone, which is white. Text on image says: Virtual volunteer. is a web app that provides information to migrants at times of vulnerability. Part of our community engagement and accountability programmes putting people at the centre of our response.

Girl looking at yellow leaflet. Text on image says: Smart practices that enhance the resilience of migrants.

Smart practices

The IFRC smart practices website allows humanitarian partners and governments to share and compare lessons, knowledge, expertise and best practices around migration, supporting a global approach to saving lives.

Migration: A humanitarian perspective


You can now register for a massive open online course (MOOC) on the International Red Cross and Red Crescent’s approach to migration. The course presents the Movement’s approach to migration and how we work to address the humanitarian needs of migrants. The course is now available in Arabic and will soon be available in English.

Related news

By Moustapha Diallo, IFRC Adama Ismael, 24, from Sudan, looks tired. His face deeply drawn from sleeplessness. He appears worried. He is one of the thousands of migrants and asylum seekers trapped in Agadez—having failed to make it to Europe, via north …

9 March 2018

Thousands of Africans continue to risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe, in the hope of improving their living conditions. For many travelling from sub-Saharan Africa, the dangers of the sea are not the first they face.

26 February 2018

Separated from their husbands, parents and children, four women escaped the war in Syria in hope of finding a safe place to live. Their paths crossed at the Turkish Red Crescent’s community centre in Kilis where learning the local language is bringing them together.

17 January 2018

Recent additions to the migration resources library

statement cover

This statement lists the commitments of the members of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, following a gathering in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh to advance its common efforts to address the population influx crisis in Cox’s Bazar. 

13 March 2018
Annex 15 Questionnaire Red Cross Sage point in Italy

This document provides an example of a questionnaire that was used in Red Cross reception centres in Italy, which can also be replicated for other programmes.

19 February 2018

Rights of Migrants in Action is a global project that aims to protect and promote the rights of migrants while harnessing the knowledge and building the capacity of civil society organizations (CSO).

31 January 2018