IRRC No. 904

Some reflections on the IFRC’s approach to migration and displacement

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This article provides an overview of the development of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies' (IFRC) approach to migration and displacement. The focus of the IFRC and its member National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (National Societies) in this regard has traditionally been on refugees and other so-called "displaced persons" – that is, people who have been compelled to flee their place or country of origin and for this reason are deemed to be particularly vulnerable. However, this focus has been extended recently, in the course of the past decade, to cover all people who find themselves in a vulnerable situation in the context of migration. The IFRC Migration Policy, which was adopted in 2009, has offered much-needed guidance to National Societies in dealing with all migrants, including irregular migrants. However, it is argued that there is a need today – taking into consideration the increasing number of displaced people worldwide and the numerous contexts in which National Societies are dealing with refugees, internally displaced persons or cross-border disaster-displaced persons – to better understand the programmatic aspects that are specific to displacement compared with migration. This is a necessary condition in view of the development of more adequate and effective responses to the vulnerabilities and needs of migrants and displaced persons.

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