Facilitating Access to Protection, Building Governments Capacity

ICMC responds to the protection needs of refugees and asylum-seekers worldwide. Through a rapid deployment scheme, ICMC protection experts ensure that UN agencies on the ground are able to meet their goals with added expertise and resources. ICMC experts also work with governments in building their asylum and migration systems and capacities.

Thousands of women, men and children are forced to flee their homes to seek safety every day. People who are forced to flee very often have to do so in extremely difficult circumstances, which make them particularly vulnerable. They often endure traumatic situations in their home countries, during flight, and also at times in the country of arrival.

The International Catholic Migration Commission has been deploying experts to work in partnership with the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, at field operations across the globe for over two decades to ensure timely protection to refugees and other vulnerable persons.

In 2019 ICMC maintained a roster of 486 experts in the areas of resettlement, refugee status determination, complementary admission pathways, child protection and prevention of sexual and gender-based violence. 

Upon arrival in a more stable situation, whether that is a refugee camp, urban area, or another type of settlement, UNHCR and other UN agencies and civil society organizations are there to provide information, cover basic needs, identify special needs and vulnerabilities and facilitate access to support services. ICMC experts work throughout the entire protection cycle and ensure that refugees are met with dignity and respect.

refugee resettlement interview
ICMC deployee interviewing refugees for resettlement consideration in Kiziba Refugee Camp, Rwanda. ICMC deploys experts worldwide to assist in the case processing for third country resettlement to many countries, including the USA, Canada, Australia, Finland, Sweden, and New Zealand. ©Stella Ngumuta/ICMC

ICMC is able to draw on a diverse and highly-qualified pool of protection experts to deliver a rapid, focused response providing protection support. They relate to vulnerable and traumatized people with sensitivity and professionalism.

Thanks to the diverse linguistic skills and cultural backgrounds available in its roster of experts, ICMC can match skills and experience to the specific requirements of each field operation. Ready to be deployed at short notice, the ICMC experts are able to work in difficult conditions – whether that means remote or insecure locations, hardship living conditions or uncertain political environments.

Meeting Protection Needs Where They Arise

ICMC deploys experts who are tasked with identifying, assessing and addressing specific protection needs, to minimize risks of violence, including sexual and gender-based violence, and to promote and provide access to legal and physical protection.  

An important aspect of protection is ensuring that basic needs are met. ICMC works in collaboration with its partners to provide access to a safe shelter, basic necessities, housing, and medical care when needed.

ICMC experts are able to identify refugees at increased risk of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and manage individual SGBV cases. They can develop comprehensive protection plans to address their needs, and ensure a break of the cycle of violence.

Nakivale Refugee Camp
ICMC experts work to identify and protect refugees who are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, including unaccompanied children, women and girls at risk of gender-based violence, and refugees living with a disability. Photo: Inside Nakivale Refugee Camp, Uganda. ©Kevin Urban/ICMC

A particularly vulnerable category of people on the move are children, whether accompanied or unaccompanied. Children are more susceptible to exploitation and violence, and to reduce these risks, the experts deployed by ICMC identify children at risk and conduct Best Interests Assessments and Determinations (BIAs/BIDs) and follow up on cases.

Deployees are also responsible for managing refugee expectations through information-sharing, counseling and outreach, as well as taking care to mitigate potential resettlement fraud.

Capacity Building and Leadership

ICMC deployees help build the protection capacity of national and local governments, partners and civil society organizations through targeted protection trainings. They coordinate capacity-building initiatives for communities and individuals to assert their rights.

Last year, ICMC deployed 112 experts who were instrumental in expanding the response of UNHCR and Greek authorities to the international protection needs of some 74,000 newly arrived refugees and migrants. 

They also provide training on refugee status determination, refugee resettlement, child protection and prevention of sexual and gender-based violence. ICMC experts develop training materials, manage teams, supervise case workers and provide coaching as needed.

Deployees also provide training and capacity-building to governmental counterparts, partners, and other stakeholders, and develop and implement country-level child protection plans. ICMC also provides support on matters relating to reception conditions, law, country of origin information analysis, quality assurance, project management and communications.

Greece Refugee Camps
Experts are deployed on short notice to assist international institutions and train and support local and national governments. Photo: ICMC supports the UN Refugee Agency and the Greek government’s work in Greek island refugee camps.

ICMC experts work to strengthen the capacity of local and national authorities to develop efficient asylum procedures in line with international and regional standards. They help improve conditions in detention centers and prevent arbitrary detention.

ICMC experts assist with the establishment and enhancement of appropriate mechanisms to detect, prevent and respond to fraud. They conduct fraud investigations and case management and provide capacity-building and awareness-raising about the importance of strategies to prevent fraud.

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ICMC provides assistance and protection to vulnerable people on the move and advocates for sustainable solutions for refugees and migrants.