A joint action to safeguard the right to access international protection On the occasion of World Refugee Day, the Irish Red Cross, along with other European National Red Cross Societies, wish to reaffirm the right of all human beings to access international protection. While we are celebrating the achievements of the 1951 Refugee Convention, the Irish Red Cross and other European National Red Cross Societies have launched the THAT’S RIGHT! joint action aimed at reminding all partners that seeking asylum is a right that Member States should uphold under EU and International Law. We wish to raise awareness amongst the general public, decision makers and opinion leaders and to underline that the right to access international protection requires the setting up of adequate legal avenues. National Societies of the Red Cross have a role to play in ensuring that migrants are provided with all necessary support and help to effectively protect their lives, dignity and health. Regular news and reports have shown that EU policies aimed at preventing third country nationals from entering the Union’s territory have negative consequences on migrants that, in search of safety, are forced to take more dangerous routes. Consequently, the number of factors affecting migrants’ vulnerabilities along the migratory route is increasing. These often include smuggling, trafficking, rape, abuse, robbery, absence of status and family separation. Watch the World Disasters Report on Forced Migration video The Red Cross has a long standing tradition of providing humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable in society. Many Red Cross projects aim at addressing the particular needs and vulnerabilities of all migrants irrespective of their legal status by implementing specific activities for the benefit of migrants, including asylum seekers and refugees. In this regard, Red Cross Societies in Europe provide reception services, integration support and psychosocial attention. Based on this extensive operational experience, European National Red Cross Societies are today stressing that the actions taken by the EU and its Member States to prevent the irregular entry of migrants affect potential asylum seekers in their quest for international protection in EU countries. Many of these individuals have no other choice but to seek asylum in EU countries after having been forced to flee their homes and families by fear of persecution. The THAT’S RIGHT! joint action is part of our ongoing call for governments to ensure that migrants, irrespective of their legal status, have access to the support that they need and that they are treated at all times with respect and dignity. In November 2011, 164 governments agreed to this principle at the 31st International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. At the same time, the Irish Red Cross, adopted, along with other members of the PERCO network[1] a position on the need to effectively guarantee the rights of migrants to seek asylum and to a fair asylum procedure. In November 2012, nine policy recommendations were put forward to support the setting up of legal avenues to access international protection within the EU. THAT’S RIGHT! joint action provides an opportunity to repeat the basic demands and claims expressed in the 2011 PERCO position paper on the Right to Access to International Protection. Read more: PERCO Position paper on the right to access to international protection, October 2011 PERCO, Position paper on the Need to Create Legal Avenues to Access International Protection within the European Union, November 2012

[1] PERCO, the Platform for European Red Cross Cooperation on Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Migrants is a network of migration experts from National Red Cross Societies of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.