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Humanitarian assistance and protection for people on the move

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People on the move – migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and other displaced populations – face extraordinary risks to their lives, safety, dignity, human rights and well-being.

In part this is connected to the core reasons that lead to migration and displacement, ranging from violence, persecution, conflict, poverty, political and social issues, as well as disasters and the adverse effects of climate change. In 2021, we are seeing the compounding factors of the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis driving higher numbers of people to migrate, exacerbating risks and vulnerabilities.

The risks that people on the move face are also connected to increasingly dangerous routes, both across land and sea. In 2021, more than 2,200 people worldwide have lost their lives during dangerous migration journeys. Many others face abuse, exploitation, and protection risks, including child abuse, sexual and gender-based violence and human trafficking.

However, one of the main concerns for people on the move – and at all stages of their journeys – is the ability to access essential and life-saving assistance and protection.

To address these concerns, the IFRC has recently adopted a ten-year global strategic commitment to scale up support for the most at-risk migrants and displaced people, including through enhancing cross-border and route-based cooperation among National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies along the most dangerous migration routes across the globe.

This new three-year programme focuses on IFRC’s humanitarian assistance to migrants, displaced people and host communities on the migration routes of greatest humanitarian concern spanning Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

These regions face some of the most complex and critical migration dynamics in the world. Within these dynamics, this three-year plan focuses on the three trans-Mediterranean migration routes, the Atlantic and the Balkans routes. These routes continue to be among the most active and dangerous for people crossing these three regions.

At the operational level, the three-year plan focuses on the critical need for all migrants and displaced people – irrespective of their legal status - to have access to life-saving humanitarian assistance and protection throughout their journeys, both on land and at sea.