When conflicts or natural disasters erupt, migrants living, working, studying, traveling, or transiting in the country experiencing the crisis may require targeted assistance. Although migrants are resilient and resourceful, they also face specific vulnerabilities that can hinder their capacity to ensure their own safety and wellbeing.
The Migrants in Countries in Crisis (MICIC) Initiative, a government-led effort co-chaired by the Governments of the United States and the Philippines and supported by a Secretariat hosted by IOM1, was conceived to address migrants' specific conditions of vulnerability and increase the ability of States, international organizations, private sector actors and civil society to prepare for and respond to the needs of migrants in countries affected by conflicts or natural disasters, including by protecting their rights and dignity and by alleviating suffering they might experience.
The MICIC Initiative Guidelines to Protect Migrants in Countries Experiencing Conflict or Natural Disaster (MICIC Guidelines) are voluntary, non-binding, targeted suggestions to promote better protection of migrants in countries experiencing crises. Different stakeholders can use the MICIC Guidelines to inform and shape crisis preparedness, emergency response, and post-crisis action. The MICIC Initiative does not aim to replace or supersede existing legal frameworks that address the protection of refugees and stateless persons. Rather, the MICIC Initiative complements those existing protection frameworks.
IOM has developed a number of capacity-building tools aimed at operationalizing the Guidelines.
The MICIC Guidelines are the culmination of a broad and inclusive evidence-gathering and consultative process which included regional consultations with States and other key representatives, targeted stakeholder consultations with a broad range of actors from civil society, international organizations, and the private sector, and additional research.
They apply to situations in which migrants are present in a country experiencing a conflict or natural disaster. They provide concrete and practical guidance to stakeholders at the local, national, regional, and international levels on how to prepare for and respond to crises in ways that protect and empower migrants, leverage their capacities, and help migrants and communities recover from crises. The Guidelines therefore address the full cycle of crises – crisis preparedness, emergency response, and post-crisis action.
The Guidelines comprise Principles, Guidelines, and Practices. Each serves a different purpose:
|Principles||The ten 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.|
|Guidelines||The fifteen 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.|
|Practices||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.|
An online repository of practices complements the Guidelines. It comprises a selection of existing practices of States, international organizations, private sector actors, and civil society. The repository can assist stakeholders to exchange knowledge and expertise.
The Guidelines are complemented by a variety of tools aimed at strengthening the capacity of relevant actors to prepare for, and respond to crises that affect migrants in their countries of destination. These tools include a training curriculum for staff of emergency management actors in countries of destination as well as an e-learning course for consular staff of migrants' countries of origin. The "MICIC Toolkit" also include a smartphone app for migrants to register with their foreign service and receive updates, including emergency communications and warnings, on the area they are directed to, and templates to support contingency planning, evacuations etc.
MICIC Guidelines at a Glance
IOM can use the MICIC Guidelines to:
- Designing programs in support of for the benefits of migrants and their communities, at all the phases of the crisis cycle, including crisis preparedness, emergency response and post-crisis returns and reintegration.
- Coordinating with other concerned stakeholders, in particular in the emergency response phase, to ensure a comprehensive response as the Guidelines highlight what roles of different actors can do based on their capacitates and mandates.
- Build capacities of other stakeholders, including States, private sector, civil society and migrants themselves, on how to better prepare for and respond when a crisis hits.