People migrate in pursuit of a better life for themselves and their families. As described in the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) Policy on Migration, “migrants are persons who leave or flee their habitual residence to go to new places – usually abroad – to seek opportunities or safer and better prospects. Migration can be voluntary or involuntary, but most of the time a combination of choices and constraints are involved.” While there are common reasons for migration, each person migrates for unique reasons and frequently only makes the decision to leave their home when staying is no longer a good option. Many migrants might encounter risks during their journey, some of which can be life threatening.
Working with and for vulnerable migrants throughout the world is one of the longstanding priorities of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. As people throughout the globe are increasingly moving across borders, there is a demand for humanitarian assistance to meet the needs of these populations along the migration trail, and the Movement has a role in providing humanitarian protection and assistance to those in need, irrespective of their legal status. The IFRC, which coordinates humanitarian activities undertaken by the 190 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, has repeatedly highlighted migration as one of the great humanitarian challenges facing the world. As stated in the 2009 IFRC Policy on Migration: “In engaging in the area of migration, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have the purpose – individually and together with the International Federation and the ICRC – to address the humanitarian concerns of migrants in need throughout their journey. They strive to provide assistance and protection to them, uphold their rights and dignity, empower them in their search for opportunities and sustainable solutions, as well as promote social inclusion and interaction between migrants and host communities.”
The IFRC commissioned this report as part of its mandate to share knowledge and skills and to ensure that all National Societies have the knowledge, resources and capacities to support vulnerable migrants. This report is based on interviews with over 70 people representing 30 countries, five country missions, and extensive desk research. It compiles 59 smart practices that address the needs of migrants across their journeys. It also presents 13 smart operational enablers, which help National Societies and other actors to ensure they have the right human, technical and financial capacities to identify and address migrants’ needs. The report is intended as a knowledge base that helps National Societies and other actors design, adapt and implement smart practices that are appropriate to their specific situations. This report does not provide a comprehensive list of all smart practices, and can therefore not be used to develop a gap analysis. Neither does it make recommendations or provide guidelines on how to address specific needs of migrants, but rather, provides examples of how other actors have addressed similar needs. The report is not intended as a thorough needs or vulnerability assessment of migrants, but uses common needs of migrants as a framework to present smart practices. This is a living document; the IFRC will continue to identify and share smart practices, as National Societies and partners test, implement and scale up new initiatives. (…)