Marrakesh, 10 December 2018 – Today’s adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is an important step towards fixing a “broken” approach to migration. But it must be followed by decisive and tangible action that makes a difference for vulnerable people on the move.

Francesco Rocca, the President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), who is in Marrakesh, said:

The Global Compact is an opportunity to fix a global approach to migration that is broken; that is failing hundreds of thousands of people every day. We commend its adoption, but for us, and I hope for States present here and even those who haven’t attend, the work starts now.

Too many people are dying. Too many are suffering. Too many children face abuse and violence. Equally worrying is the growing trend towards the ‘criminalization of compassion’ – towards restricting or legislating against humanitarian efforts to save lives and provide assistance.

Governments have the right and responsibility to set migration policy. But these policies must not increase suffering,” said Mr Rocca.

IFRC stands ready to work with governments to turn the ambitions of the Global Compact into reality. Specifically, IFRC’s global network of 190 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are ready and able to establish “humanitarian service points” along major migratory routes, so that all migrants can access basic services, information and support.

Red Cross and Red Crescent humanitarian service points already exist in a number of countries, including Mexico, Niger, Italy, Sweden and Austria. With support from governments, this approach can be quickly expanded, helping to translate some of the key ambitions of the Global Compact for Migration into meaningful action on the ground.

Mr Rocca called on governments to help separate these service points from immigration processes.

We see time and again that vulnerable migrants – including children – will not seek help if they fear that by doing so, they will be arrested and returned to the places they have fled. For these humanitarian service points to be truly effective, they must be “firewalled” from immigration services.”

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Media contacts

For interviews with Mr Rocca please contact:

In Marrakech:

Tommaso Della Longa, +41 79 708 43 67,

Matthew Cochrane +41 79 251 80 39,

National Society