IOM, ICMPD, Latin American Governments Meet to Discuss Migrants Caught in Crises

Costa Rica - Officials from 20 Latin America and Caribbean governments have met in San José, Costa Rica, to share ideas on how to support migrants caught in countries affected by conflict or natural disasters.

The two-day meeting was the fourth regional consultation of the Migrants in Countries in Crisis (MiCiC) Initiative, an intergovernmental consultative process co-chaired by the Philippines and the United States and supported by IOM, which serves as its secretariat. The initiative aims to create principles, guidelines and best practices for a better response for migrants trapped in catastrophes or armed conflicts. 

The MiCiC Initiative is motivated by situations like the 2011 civil unrest in Libya, where 800,000 migrants from 120 nationalities where caught in the middle of the war and left stranded by their employers. At that time, IOM evacuated over 200,000 migrants safely home at the request of 45 governments. 

Director of the Secretariat of the MiCiC Initiative, IOM’s Michele Klein Solomon noted: “Often, migrants are invisible in the middle of an emergency and we need to be aware of their vulnerabilities and needs. That is the reason why we are here.”

According to Klein Solomon, migrants are especially vulnerable in the midst of a crisis for many reasons, including language barriers, difficulties in access to information and even their unintended exclusion from emergency response plans.

The regional consultation, which finished yesterday (18/2), follows previous consultations held in Manila for Asia, Dakar for West and Central Africa and Brussels for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

By September 2016, the MICIC Initiative will launch a framework of voluntary, non-binding principles, guidelines, and effective practices to address the protection and assistance of migrants caught in countries in crisis, likely at the UN General Assembly High Level Event on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants.

The MiCiC Initiative working group consists of the co-Chairs and the governments of Australia, Bangladesh, Costa Rica and Ethiopia, the European Commission, IOM, UNHCR, the Office of the UN SRSG on International Migration, ICMPD and Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of International Migration.

For more information, please contact Jorge Gallo at the IOM Regional Office in Costa Rica. Email:, Tel.  +506 72036536.