Humanitarian service points for vulnerable migrants: Summary brief

What are humanitarian service points?

The IFRC concept of humanitarian service points refers to initiatives aiming to provide essential services to vulnerable migrants during their journeys – irrespective of status - without fear of arrest or being reported to the authorities.

A humanitarian service point is a neutral space along migratory routes that provides a welcoming and safe environment for migrants to access essential services. This requires an absence of violence, abuse or further harm in the process of accessing and receiving humanitarian assistance, as well as the absence of fear of interference by authorities when doing so. While National Societies cannot fully prevent violence or abuse by those determined to use it, nor can they guarantee authorities will respect their humanitarian access, they must do their best to facilitate ‘safety’ through agreement/understanding with the relevant parties and through strict adherence to their humanitarian mandate. It is therefore strongly recommended that National Societies seek to conclude formal agreements with relevant authorities to ensure the ability to operate according to the Fundamental Principles is respected at all times.

Humanitarian service points may include fixed or mobile initiatives, reaching migrants wherever needs exist. The key objective is to contribute to the safety, dignity and protection of vulnerable migrants at all stages of their journey and to promote resilience.

There is no one-size-fits-all model of operation: in certain locations humanitarian service points may simply provide critical information; in others healthcare might be provided. Services will depend on migrants’ needs and the resources and capacity of the National Society.