Report Discloses Fear of Detention, Deportation Among Migrants


By Ndey Sowe

A new report, launched by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement ahead of International Migrants’ Day, discloses that one in four migrants surveyed, fear that seeking humanitarian assistance will put them at risk of detention or deportation.

Alarmingly, this fear rang true for 53% of migrants surveyed in Honduras, 62% in Mali and 72% in Niger.

Abdoulie Fye, the Director of programmes and Operations of The Gambia Red Cross Society, said: “The Gambia Red Cross Society work to build trust among migrants by working with migrants as volunteers and is actively involving them in the operations of the NS, which builds trust between the migrants and the society; capacity building programmes for migrant associations/groups to raise awareness of the risks/dangers along migratory routes and how they could access basic essential humanitarian and protection services provided by the Red Cross.”

Mr Fye added that this also strengthens the relationship and builds the confidence of migrants towards the GRCS.

 “Providing legal registration support to migrant organisations/associations to ensure their legal recognition by government authorities; mainstreaming of CEA in all migration-related programs/activities, and ensuring strong existing trust between the host communities of migrants and the Red Cross further enhances the trust with the migrants,” Mr Fye emphasised.

Another stark finding was the high level of unmet needs throughout migrants’ journeys. While almost half (44%) of migrants surveyed, reported having received some form of assistance and protection at one stage of their journey, more than three quarters (79%) reported needing assistance and protection at another time but not receiving it.

“One clear issue of note is that 40% of those surveyed did not know where or how to access humanitarian assistance and protection, underscoring the need for outreach initiatives around existing services,” the report indicated.

In The Gambia 72% of migrants involved believe Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers are equipped to understand and respond to migrants’ needs while 85% believe Red Cross and Red Crescent treats migrants with respect and dignity,” the report found.

It added that it is therefore important to improve migrants’ effective access to understandable, relevant and reliable information on services, protection, assistance, and support available along their journeys.

According to the report, more than a quarter (28%) of all migrants involved in the research had received humanitarian assistance and protection from Red Cross and Red Crescent teams, among other providers. The majority (62%) of migrants who had received any form of humanitarian assistance and protection during their journeys noted it was from Red Cross and Red Crescent teams.

The report: Migrants Perspective “Building Trust in Humanitarian Action”, was produced by Red Cross and Red Crescent Global Migration Lab, hosted by the Australian Red Cross, with 15 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies from Argentina, Australia, Finland, France, The Gambia, Honduras, Maldives, Mali, Niger, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Türkiye and Zambia surveying or interviewing almost 17,000 migrants.

Every year on 18th December, the world marks International Migrants Day, a day set aside to recognise the important contribution of migrants. On 18 December, 1990, the General Assembly adopted a resolution on the International Convention on the protection of the rights of all migrant workers and members of their families.