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Accused of causing overcrowding and unemployment, draining limited social and health services, and posing cultural threats, migrants are among the world's most detested people. To many individuals in the developed world, there is too much migration and it is from the 'wrong' countries.

Numerous National Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies provide some combination of protection and assistance to migrants as well as advocating on their behalf with authorities and the general public. But as public opinion becomes increasingly hostile to migrants, National Societies can suffer harsh consequences as a result of their work. Reduced donations, outright condemnation and violence are a few examples of what National Societies encounter as they help people no one else wants to touch.

It is difficult for the Movement to admit that working with the most vulnerable people can make National Societies unpopular. But the risk is that public outrage against migrants, coupled with financial restraints, may impel the Red Cross Red Crescent to reduce - or stop altogether - programmes aimed at reducing migrants' vulnerability. To counteract this, the Movement is redoubling efforts to influence public opinion to change behaviour, through public campaigns against discrimination and xenophobia or private face-to-face advocacy.

As part of this effort, Red Cross Red Crescent features a cover story on the journey of one migrant as he travels along the migration trail from Central America to the United States. The personal account gives a horrifying glimpse of what happens to the untold numbers of migrants who risk their lives and cross oceans, continents and borders all for the hope of a better life. Our intention is to remind readers both inside and outside the Movement of the vulnerability of migrants and why they deserve our respect and assistance.


Jean-François Berger
ICRC editor

 


Jean Milligan
International Federation editor


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