IOM Welcomes Guidelines to Protect Migrants

Humanitarian Emergencies, Migrant Assistance, Migrants Rights

Switzerland - IOM today (10/6) welcomed the publication of the “Guidelines to Protect Migrants in Countries Experiencing Conflict or Natural Disaster” by the Migrants in Countries in Crisis (MICIC) Initiative.

Almost all countries host a migrant population and no country is immune to conflict or natural disaster.  IOM’s experience has shown that migrants were among those worst affected in every humanitarian crisis of the last decade.  

“We have a collective responsibility to improve protection for vulnerable migrants in countries experiencing crisis,” said IOM Director General, William Lacy Swing.  “States, international organizations, employers, recruiters and civil society all have a role to play in ensuring that migrants and their particular needs and vulnerabilities are taken into account in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from crisis.”

Before today, little guidance existed to clearly identify what States, international organizations and others should do to better protect migrants in crises. 

Despite being resilient and resourceful in the face of crises, during emergency responses, migrants “often fall between the cracks,” explained Michele Klein-Solomon, Director of the MICIC Initiative Secretariat, which is based at IOM. “This should be a concern for all countries.”

The governments of the Philippines and the United States launched the MICIC Initiative in 2014 to develop voluntary, non-binding guidance on how to better protect and assist migrants in countries experiencing conflicts or natural disasters.

The MICIC Initiative is co-chaired by the Philippines and the United States, and supported by a Working Group comprised of Australia, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, the European Commission, IOM, UNHCR, ICMPD, Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of International Migration, and the Office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for International Migration.

The European Commission funded the convening of six regional MICIC Initiative consultations, preceded by regional consultations organized by civil society groups.  The governments of Australia and the United States funded consultations with international organizations, civil society and the private sector, and with members of the Intergovernmental Consultations on Migration, Asylum and Refugees, and other States. 

The MICIC Initiative Secretariat commissioned issue briefs, held webinars, circulated a regular newsletter, and created an interactive web portal to broaden and deepen the engagement and understanding of the relevant issues. 

That process culminated in today’s publication of the MICIC Initiative Guidelines, which outline concrete and practical advice on what all actors can do to save lives, increase protection, decrease vulnerability, and improve responses. They include advice on how to prepare for addressing the needs of migrants during crises, how to respond to crises in ways that protect migrants, and how to help migrants and communities recover from crises. 

“I applaud the strong leadership demonstrated by the Philippines, the United States and the MICIC Initiative Working Group in launching this initiative, and successfully creating these practical and useful guidelines,” said Ambassador Swing.  “I urge all actors to use the Guidelines, to save lives, increase protection and ensure the safety, dignity and well-being of migrants.”

The Guidelines can be accessed on the MICIC Initiative website at:

For further information, please contact Michele Klein-Solomon at the MICIC Secretariat in Geneva. Tel: +41 22 717 9281 or +41 79 701 7800, Email:

MICIC Guidelines to protect migrants experiencing conflict or natural disaster.