Migrants In Countries In Crisis: guidelines launched in Geneva

Geneva, 29 June 2016 - During an event held in Geneva on Monday, the Migrants In Countries In Crisis Initiative (MICIC) launched its “Guidelines to protect migrants in countries experiencing conflict or natural disaster”.

IOM's Director General, William Lacy Swing, at the MICIC Guidelines launch.IOM's Director General, William Lacy Swing, at the MICIC Guidelines launch. Photo: IOM

Started in 2014, the MICIC Initiative seeks to improve the protection of migrants when the countries in which they live, work, study or travel are affected by conflict or natural disaster. Led by the Governments of the Philippines and the United States, the MICIC Initiative has come to involve a variety of stakeholders, including not only States and inter-governmental organizations, but also actors from the private sector, civil society, as well as migrant and diaspora groups.

Over the past 18 months, a broad consultation process was undertaken among these different actors and led to the production of voluntary, non-binding guidelines which can be applied in a crisis situation to protect migrants.

Speaking at the launch event on Monday, ICMC’s Head of Policy John K. Bingham warmly congratulated the efforts of all governmental and non-governmental actors who worked intensively towards the production of the guidelines.

“We greet MICIC as a sign (…) that we can act decisively, in practical, inclusive ways.  And a sign that we can do it with speed”, Bingham commented. He thanked MICIC for involving civil society during the consultation process. In the past five months, the Migration and Development Civil Society Network (MADE) – which is coordinated by ICMC - co-organized six regional civil society consultations, which gathered non-governmental actors from around 60 countries. The process highlighted different perspectives and regional concerns, including the need to protect migrants in ordinary times and to consider them as first-responders in crisis situations, as opposed to passive victims.

Looking ahead to the United Nations’ Summit on addressing large movements of refugees and migrants to be held on 19 September, civil society has expressly taken inspiration from the MICIC guidelines to build a set of recommendations inviting States to improve their assistance to refugees and vulnerable migrants and to fill protection gaps. “There are news reports today of Pope Francis referring to choices in this region as opportunities to ‘jump-start things’, even to ‘recreate’. […]Like the MICIC process that emerged from the General Assembly’s High-level Dialogue in 2013, may this year’s Summit (…) jump-start, recreate action of this kind”, Bingham concluded.

The statement delivered by John K. Bingham is available below.