Guidelines to Protect Migrants in Countries Experiencing Conflict or Natural Disaster

Guidelines to Protect Migrants in Countries Experiencing Conflict or Natural Disaster
Migrants in Countries in Crisis (MICIC) Initiative
Initiative website at:
June 2016 :: 132 pages
[Selected overview text]
These Principles, Guidelines, and Practices apply to situations in which migrants are present in a country experiencing a conflict or natural disaster. They relate to crisis preparedness, emergency response, and post-crisis action.

For the purposes of these Principles, Guidelines, and Practices, the term ‘migrant’ means a non-citizen who is present in a country during a conflict or natural disaster regardless of: (a) the means of or reasons for entry; (b) immigration status; or (c) length of or reasons for stay. The term ‘migrant’ does not refer to refugees, asylum-seekers, and stateless persons, for whom specific protection regimes exist under international law, although these groups are addressed in certain places in the Principles, Guidelines, and Practices and referred to as such.

The Principles, Guidelines, and Practices provide practical, non-binding, voluntary guidance for States, private sector actors, international organizations, and civil society to protect migrants. In addition to these stakeholders, other actors may benefit from this guidance. These Principles, Guidelines, and Practices can be used to plan, prepare, and assess actions and to improve responses for the benefit of migrants, their families, and societies.

Each element of the Principles, Guidelines, and Practices serves a different purpose.
The Principles are fundamental, cross-cutting precepts, drawn, in some instances, from international law. The Principles are intended to inform, underpin, and guide actions to protect migrants.

The Guidelines are targeted suggestions, organized by theme, that identify in broad terms the actions needed to better protect migrants. Stakeholders can use the Guidelines to inform and shape crisis preparedness, emergency response, and post-crisis action.

The Practices are a non-exhaustive selection of examples that illustrate ways to implement the Guidelines and address the needs of migrants. They are based on existing practices as well as recommendations and can be adapted to suit particular contexts and priorities. Stakeholders can share actual practices through the MICIC Initiative website: http://

GUIDELINE 1: Track information on conflicts and natural disasters, and the potential impact on migrants
GUIDELINE 2: Collect and share information on migrants, subject to privacy, confidentiality, and the security and safety of migrants
GUIDELINE 3: Empower migrants to help themselves, their families, and communities during and in the aftermath of crises
GUIDELINE 4: Incorporate migrants in prevention, preparedness, and emergency response systems
GUIDELINE 5: Involve migrants in contingency planning and integrate their needs and capacities
GUIDELINE 6: Communicate effectively with migrants
GUIDELINE 7: Establish coordination agreements in advance to leverage strengths and foster trust
GUIDELINE 8: Build capacity and learn lessons for emergency response and post-crisis action
GUIDELINE 9: Communicate widely, effectively, and often with migrants on evolving crises and how to access help
GUIDELINE 10: Facilitate migrants’ ability to move to safety
GUIDELINE 11: Provide humanitarian assistance to migrants without discrimination
GUIDELINE 12: Establish clear referral procedures among stakeholders
GUIDELINE 13: Relocate and evacuate migrants when needed


Press Release
IOM Welcomes Guidelines to Protect Migrants
Posted: 06/10/16
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….