Statement by Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
“The humanitarian situation facing thousands of vulnerable migrants at the borders of Europe is unacceptable. The events of the past 24 hours have hurt our collective humanity. Those seeking safety have often travelled thousands of miles; many have fled violence and persecution; many are traumatized through war and displacement.
“We have a collective responsibility to treat migrants first and foremost as human beings, regardless of their legal status. States should ensure that national procedures at international borders include adequate safeguards to guarantee access to status determination processes, and to protect the dignity and safety of all migrants. Through our National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and partnerships with local and international organizations, we will continue to provide support and assistance wherever it is needed.
“People do not leave their homes without reason. Fleeing your country is a measure of last resort, when staying behind is no longer an option. They leave behind everything and endure huge risks because hope lies elsewhere, away from their situations of risk and vulnerability. The events unfolding in Europe today are inseparable from the conflicts, disasters, discrimination and poverty that affect so many people around the world.
“Red Cross and Red Crescent leaders are meeting today in Tunis, Tunisia, with representatives from governments, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration, the European Union and other partners to discuss how to better coordinate the humanitarian response in countries of origin, transit and arrival.
“This morning, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies launched a global campaign: “Protect Humanity – Stop Indifference”. Through this campaign, we are calling on the public, decision makers, social commentators and leaders at all levels to continue to do everything they can to support vulnerable people on the move.
“People on the move must be offered full respect for the human rights and protection guaranteed to them by international law. Every life matters.”