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.

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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.


What would you do if your country became mired in conflict? If the only way to protect your family was to put them in danger, to put them on a boat in the middle of the night? What would you do if there was no way back?

Behind the statistics and politics are thousands of stories.

Publication: Addressing the humanitarian consequences of labour migration and trafficking: The role of Asia Pacific National Societies

This report will be launched during the Red Cross Red Crescent Conference on Labour Migration on 20 June in Bangkok, Thailand provides guidance for the assistance, protection and humanitarian diplomacy activities of Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies in the context of labour migration and trafficking. It builds upon existing initiatives by Asia Pacific National Societies and provides guidance for National Societies considering new initiatives in labour migration and trafficking.

Click here to download the full report.

Related news

FYR Macedonia: A father carries his daughter to Gevgelija train station where they will register with the authorities before proceeding north towards Serbia. Like many others here, this family is from Syria. Photo: Stephen Ryan/IFRC   A new report …

11 July 2018

States have a clear duty, under international human rights law and as matter of the common humanity that links peoples together, to ensure that migrants, especially migrants in vulnerable situations, are able to access their economic, social and cultur …

6 July 2018

Mohamed Sofiaed and his son, Mohamed Arfat, age 2, fled Rakhine state in October 2017. They arrived in Kutupalong mega-camp after days of walking on end. Their temporary shelter is perched on a hillside that could give way when monsoon rains arrive.

26 June 2018

Recent additions to the migration resources library

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The current negotiations on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration present a rare opportunity to develop a new global approach to migration that is more effective and humane. It is an opportunity that cannot be missed. Migration has …

6 July 2018
Screen Shot 2018-07-05 at 10.35.58

While there is room for disagreement about migration policy, the humanitarian imperative means that we must never needlessly sacrifice the survival and dignity of any vulnerable people, including migrants.

5 July 2018
Action to Assist and Protect Trafficked Persons

This guide is designed to support European Red Cross National Societies services to respond to trafficking of human beings. Building on and complementing the Migration Policy of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the document provides additional guidance to assist and protect trafficked persons.

20 June 2018