Geneva, 5 June 2018 – The following can be attributed to Francesco Rocca, the President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies: 

Over the past weekend, in just a few hours, more than 110 people died in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coasts of Tunisia and Turkey. We cannot keep silent as the massacre on the sea continues.

While we appreciate all the efforts being made at the United Nations in New York during the negotiations for the Global Compact for Migration, the situation on the ground is not changing. On the contrary, it is worsening.

Any political decision that puts lives at risk is unacceptable. There is an urgent need for global answers to protect the lives and basic human dignity of people on the move.”


Dozens of migrants are believed to have died in separate tragedies over the weekend. According to the International Organization for Migration, at least 112 people are believed to have drowned when their boat capsized off the eastern coast of Tunisia, while nine people, including children, drowned off Turkey.

This week, UN Member States are meeting in New York for the fifth round of negotiations on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. IFRC is calling on governments to prioritize efforts to save lives and protect dignity.

Specifically, this involves developing within the Global Compact time-bound commitments to:

  • Protect all migrants at all stages of their journeys from violence, abuse and other violations of their fundamental rights,
  • Guarantee migrants, irrespective of legal status, effective access to essential basic services,
  • Prioritize the rights and needs of vulnerable migrant children,
  • Ensure that domestic laws, policies, procedures and practices comply with existing obligations under international law, and address the protection and assistance needs of migrants.
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Media contacts

To arrange interviews with Mr Rocca:

In Geneva: Tommaso Della Longa, +41 79 708 4367,

National Society