Sarajevo/Geneva, 2 April 2019 – More than 150 Red Cross Red Crescent delegates from 23 countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea are meeting in Sarajevo this week to discuss approaches to aiding vulnerable migrants and the communities receiving them.

Hosted by the Red Cross Society of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Centre for the Cooperation in the Mediterranean (CCM), the meeting’s theme is “Standing for Humanity”. The focus on will be on the safety and protection of migrants, improving social inclusion, preventing trafficking and exploitation, mobilizing more volunteer assistance and the National Societies’ role in implementing the recently adopted Global Compacts on refugees and migration.

“While our main focus is assistance for migrants, the Red Cross also assists the host communities,” said Rajko Lazic, Secretary General of the Red Cross Society of Bosnia and Herzegovina. “It was not long ago that our people experienced what it means to be a refugee, and some are still displaced in their own country and in dire need. We seek to balance assistance for both populations.”

Maria Alcázar Castilla, spokesperson for the Centre for Cooperation in the Mediterranean (CCM) said the humanitarian issues faced by the Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies in the region are interlinked, so common analysis and approaches are needed.

“The Mediterranean region is facing multiple humanitarian challenges – due to unrest and violence, the ongoing flow of vulnerable migrants, economic crises and climate change impacts. The conference intends to reaffirm the urgency of principled humanitarian action, promote humanitarian access and reinforce the absolute necessity of placing the safety and needs of people at the heart of our action,” she said.

The President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Francesco Rocca will also address the conference.

“Every human being, especially people fleeing conflict and insecurity, should have unhindered access to aid and also to information, at all phases of their journeys. Every human being has the right to protection, health care, education and social services” said President Rocca. “Human dignity should be respected and protected, regardless of their legal status.”

Migrant arrivals in the Mediterranean region and other areas of Europe usually rise during spring and summer months.

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In Sarajevo: Nora Peter, +36 709 537 709, nora.peter@ifrc.org

Tommaso Della Longa, +41 79 708 43 67, tommaso.dellalonga@ifrc.org