IFRC President: Ethnicity and nationality should not be deciding factors in saving lives – World

New York / Geneva, May 16, 2022 – The President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Francesco Rocca, calls on States to assume their responsibility to save lives, wherever they come from, before the first review of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM).

Mr. Rocca says: “When I was in Marrakech for the adoption of the Global Compact on Migration, I said that the global approach to migration is painfully broken – but the Global Compact can fix it. As we begin the first review of progress made since then, I am sad to say that so far has not been the case. There have not been enough changes in policies and practices to ensure safe and dignified migration, and many more lives have been lost because of this failure to act.

On the deadliest maritime migration route in the world, the central Mediterranean, the number of deaths has indeed increased since the signing of the Global Compact on Migration. The Ocean Viking ship, operated by SOS Méditerranée with the IFRC providing humanitarian services on board, rescues people in distress on this route.

“We need to do this work because state-coordinated search and rescue is absent in the area,” Rocca says. “Our teams have already saved 1,260 people in nine months of activity.”

The Ocean Viking is one of 330 Humanitarian Service Points (HSP) in 45 countries that supports the ambitions of the GCM, providing assistance and protection to people on the move, regardless of their status and without fear of reprisal. The Romanian Red Cross sets up HSPs in Bucharest to support people fleeing Ukraine, providing them with information, food, water, hygiene items and financial assistance, while the Romanian Red Cross -Hungarian Red operates an HSP at Keleti station 24/7 to welcome people arriving from Ukraine by train with information, food, hygiene items and baby care products.

During the Covid-19 pandemicthe Colombian Red Cross set up HSPs on the border with Venezuela, offering essential services such as health care, while Libyan Red Crescent volunteers provided support to migrants and displaced people, exploiting HSPs who provided access to information, food and other necessities, as well as services to restore family links.

At International Migration Review Forum (IMRF), the IFRC calls for individual and collective search and rescue efforts; ensure access to essential services for migrants, regardless of their status; scale up support for people affected by climate-related displacement; and the inclusion of migrants in all aspects of society and decision-making.

“The political, public and humanitarian response to the Ukrainian crisis has shown what is possible when humanity and dignity come first, when there is global solidarity and the will to help and protect the most vulnerable,” Mr. Rocca said. “It must be extended to all who need it, wherever they come from. Ethnicity and nationality should not be decisive factors in saving lives.

To schedule an interview or for more information: In New York: Tommaso Della Longa, +41 79 708 4367, [email protected]

In Geneva: Anna Tuson, +41 79 895 6924, [email protected]

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