Should we have better laws to protect migrants?

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By Euronews  with ICRC, APTN
Should we have better laws to protect migrants?
  • 32nd International Conference
  • Held once every four years
  • 189 Red Cross and Red Crescent societies
  • National governments
  • NGOs

A global gathering of humanitarians in Geneva is calling for better legal protection for migrants and refugees.

Delegates attending the conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent agree with those who say protecting people is more important than protecting borders.

Euronews Correspondent Chris Cummins is in Geneva. “2015 has brought dramatic changes to the humanitarian landscape. Conflict, climate change and economic uncertainty have exposed millions to risk. Here in Geneva, the Red Cross and the Red Crescent movement is here to discuss ways to adapt to the new reality. At the centre, the war in Syria and migration.”

IFRC Secretary General Elhadji As Sy says the international legal framework should be reinforced.

“There should be a legally secure way of migration that would bring protection to people. We know where the points of transit are and when they come to the borders, we should put the emphasis on protecting the people before we put the emphasis on protecting the borders.”

Francesco Rocca, President of the Italian Red Cross, says more forethought is also needed.

“I am not satisfied because we could save a lot of lives, we knew since the beginning that the crisis in the Balkans would arrive, we as a movement and even the UNHCR warned the government during the spring so what happened during the summer could have been avoided. We are very unhappy.”

What is the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent?

The International Conference is the focal point for the world’s largest network of humanitarian organisations and governments.

It is a non-political global forum for humanitarian debate between governments, policy makers and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

As parties to the Geneva Conventions, nation states and humanitarian stakeholders agree joint commitments at the Conference to develop humanitarian action.

Who is invited?

All states who are party to the Geneva Conventions are invited to Geneva.

All the separate organisations that together make up the Red Cross movement are also in attendance; the International Committe of the Red Cross, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent and the 189 national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Many other humanitarian stakeholders participate as observers. These include regional and international organisations, the UN and its specialised agencies, NGOs, academic institutions and the like.

What are the themes for 2015?

The themes for the 2015 International Conference are compliance with and detention under international humanitarian law, sexual and gender-based violence, health care in danger, safety of volunteers and staff, the legal framework regarding disasters and emergencies and urban risk and climate change.

Delegates arriving at the conference venue in Geneva have been greeted by the sight of a bullet-ridden ambulance, a stark reminder of the risks faced by health workers in conflict zones.

The Conference makes formal decisions known as “resolutions”.

Participants can also individually or jointly make pledges.

These are seen as an important tool for translating the Conference outcomes into action at state level.